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Fast food franchises: how to recruit franchisees?

Fast food franchising is booming in France, with spectacular growth of over 9% by 2023, and has never been so dynamic and varied. Whether you like smash burgers, coffee shops or sushi restaurants, this sector is full of opportunities.

Jean-François Gillet

Jean-François Gillet

15

Jul 2024

Fast food franchises: how to recruit franchisees?
In this article :

Fast food franchising is booming in France, with spectacular growth of over 9% by 2023, offering a variety of tempting opportunities, whether for fans of smash burgers, cosy coffee shops or fresh sushi. Success in this dynamic sector requires strategic recruitment and effective franchisee support. This article explores best practices for attracting and supporting these key partners, focusing on the importance of a standardized franchise model and ongoing support to ensure a consistent customer experience across the country.

Each brand brings its own touch of freshness and novelty to our city centers. Succeeding in this competitive sector requires more than just a recipe: you need to know how to surround yourself with the right partners. Transforming a brand into a franchise is a crucial stage in its development, and raises the question of recruiting and supporting franchisees. How do you choose and recruit the franchisees who will make your brand shine? How do you ensure their success and long-term commitment?

In this article, Inpulse explores how to optimize the recruitment and support of your franchisees in the fast-food sector. Thanks to the expertise of the founders of the Franks Hot Dog and Tacos Avenue chains, we'll also share the best practices to adopt to ensure optimum efficiency in this process. How do you attract and convince those rare pearls who will best represent your fast-food chain? Therein lies the challenge.

Understanding the fast food franchise model

Definition and characteristics

A franchise is a business agreement in which one company (the franchisor) allows another (the franchisee) to use its brand, business model and support to open and run a new business. In fast food, this model is characterized by standardized operations, fast service and uniform products, guaranteeing a consistent customer experience, whether the restaurant is in Paris, Lyon, or any other city in France.

Here are the key figures for fast food franchising in 20231:

  • 262 fast-food networks (+26%)
  • 8,081 franchisees (+10.6%)
  • 8.91 billion euros in sales for franchisees (+24.3%)

1source: FFF guide to franchising 2024.

Advantages and disadvantages of fast food franchising

Franchisor side:

One of the main advantages for the franchisor is the ability to expand rapidly with minimal investment. By choosing this model, a brand has the opportunity to expand its network exponentially without having to assume all the costs that can be associated with opening new outlets. All franchisees finance their own establishments, enabling the franchisor to increase its market presence without the need for considerable funds. What's more, this model generates recurring revenues through royalties and franchise fees. Each franchisee must pay a share of sales to the franchisor, guaranteeing a stable and predictable source of income. This system not only benefits brand expansion, but also strengthens long-term profitability. Thanks to these mechanisms, the franchisor reduces the financial risks associated with restaurant expansion.

For the franchisee :

For franchisees, there are many advantages to joining a franchise network. Firstly, they benefit from access to a recognized brand and a proven model. Joining a franchise network means taking advantage of the reputation and credibility of an already well-established brand, making it considerably easier to attract customers right from the start. In addition to this solid base, the franchisee benefits from comprehensive training and ongoing support from the franchisor. The franchisor offers expertise, initial training programs and ongoing support to ensure that the business runs smoothly. The franchisor provides the tools and support needed to ensure the success and profitability of each outlet, whether through management advice, marketing strategies or digital solutions to optimize day-to-day operations, enabling the focus to remain on customer satisfaction. Thanks to this support, franchisees can relax and focus on growing their business, while benefiting from a reassuring, professional environment.

Potential drawbacks and challenges to anticipate :

When launching a franchise, it's vital to anticipate the drawbacks and challenges involved, to ensure a healthy and effective collaboration. One of the major risks is that the franchisee may not respect the brand's standards. Some franchisees may not respect the procedures and quality standards set by the franchisor, which can have a negative impact on the brand's overall image and customer experience.

It can sometimes be difficult to manage the relationship between franchisees and the franchisor. Communication and conflict management skills are needed to balance the needs and expectations of each party while maintaining the cohesion of the network. Franchisees may be frustrated by the various constraints imposed by the franchisor, or have high expectations of support and flexibility. Poor management of these relationships can lead to tension and a drop in the network's overall performance. It is essential to anticipate these challenges and establish appropriate communication and management strategies to reduce risk and optimize your network's success.

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Identify the ideal franchisee profile

The strategic importance of franchisee recruitment

Recruiting franchisees is a complex process, but vital to the success of your network. According to the Observatoire de la Franchise, over 85% of new franchises are still operational after five years. This success can largely be attributed to a rigorous recruitment process. It is by recruiting competent, motivated franchisees who are in tune with the company's vision that it is possible to grow effectively. This ensures consistent quality of service, fosters innovation through franchisee feedback, and reinforces brand loyalty.

Mohamed Soualhi of Tacos Avenue explains the importance of sharing experiences:

"Getting together from time to time allows us to have a moment dedicated to communication and training. At our seminars, franchisees can get together physically and talk to each other to solve problems they all face."

Criteria for choosing a potential franchisee

When recruiting a potential franchisee, it's important to consider a number of criteria. These may vary according to brand and concept, but generally include the following elements:

  • Financial capacity: what are the applicant's resources and borrowing capacity? Will they be able to cover start-up, operating and marketing costs? On average, they will have to contribute between 10 and 30% of the total investment. He must demonstrate that he can obtain adequate financing.
"You need to be transparent about start-up costs, and careful about the minimum capital required. If your concept requires €70,000 in capital to obtain a €300,000 loan, you shouldn't accept a candidate with only €30 or €40,000. You also need to check that the applicant has the required capital", explains Mohamed Soualhi, founder of Tacos Avenue.
  • Industry experience and entrepreneurial spirit: does he or she understand the nuts and bolts of fast food and restaurant operations? He must be able to identify opportunities and solve problems creatively.
  • Leadership and ability to motivate a team: has your candidate ever managed a team, dealt with crises or made difficult decisions? The franchisee must be able to inspire employees to maintain high standards.
  • Motivation: choose a hard-working or entrepreneurial profile who's not afraid of a challenge.
  • Brand representation: is the future franchisee passionate about your brand or concept? Will they be able to invest themselves fully in it?

All these elements will be decisive in the future success of the franchise, whether it specializes in burgers, pizzas, sushi, or even Thai street food.

Franchisee recruitment strategies

To guarantee effective recruitment in a fast food franchise, you need to define the ideal profile for your franchisee. Before you even hire your franchisees, draw up a list of essential criteria on which you won't make any concessions. These may be past experience, qualities or skills.

Use online recruitment platforms and franchise fairs

Platforms such as Franchise Direct or Toute la Franchise enable franchisors and brand developers to be seen and to exhibit their brand on reference portals, in order to capture the interest of potential entrepreneurial candidates.

LinkedIn can also be a valuable resource for identifying and contacting potential candidates with specific skills.

Participating in trade fairs such as Franchise Expo Paris, offers a unique opportunity to meet candidates face-to-face and to present the franchise by staging your restaurant on the stand. Prepare attractive presentations, informative brochures and live demonstrations to attract and convince visitors.

Recommendations and word-of-mouth

To optimize the recruitment of new franchisees, it's essential to take advantage of referrals and word-of-mouth. An effective referral program can play a key role in this process. By encouraging existing franchisees and others to recommend candidates, and by offering attractive benefits, you can develop a dynamic and committed network. These benefits can take the form of reduced royalties, financial bonuses or official recognition within the network.

In addition, encouraging testimonials and positive reviews from current franchisees can greatly influence potential candidates. Your franchise is more credible and attractive thanks to feedback from satisfied franchisees who share their positive experiences and success stories. You can publish these reviews on your website, your social networks, or at recruitment events. As the fast-food sector is highly competitive, having an effective strategy of positive recommendations and testimonials will attract the best candidates and strengthen your brand's reputation.

The brand, one of the pillars of franchising

To ensure a brand identity that is both attractive and unifying, it is essential to create and improve the brand platform, brandbook and graphic charter. It's important to have the tools you need to define your brand identity and share them with your entire network. Develop a clear, impactful message, tailored to the target audience, highlighting the real benefits of franchising and its return on investment. Lastly, promote your franchise: take care of the customer experience, design your point of sale and implement an effective digital strategy to get your message across to the right audience.

Candidate selection process

Recruiting fast food franchisees requires special attention. By focusing on finding qualified, motivated and well-financed candidates, you can increase your chances of success and ensure the sustainable, healthy growth of your franchise.

In-depth interviews and tests

In-depth interviews are of paramount importance in gaining in-depth knowledge of potential candidates and assessing their suitability as franchisees. The use of behavioral and situational interviewing techniques enables us to assess candidates' reactions to various challenges, providing a clearer insight into their ability to handle complex situations. These assessments provide an objective analysis of personality traits, cognitive abilities and technical skills, ensuring that successful candidates not only possess the necessary qualifications, but are also a good fit with the brand's values and culture.

Visits, immersion courses and training for new franchisees

By scheduling visits to existing franchises, candidates can observe a franchise in action, giving them a clear picture of the day-to-day demands and challenges to be overcome. Immersion courses, even of short duration, offer future franchisees the chance to experience first-hand the role they are about to take on, facilitating their adaptation and understanding of the responsibilities involved. Training content must be comprehensive, covering all aspects of franchise management, including operations, marketing, human resources management and finance. To guarantee comprehensive, high-quality training, it's vital to involve both in-house experts with in-depth knowledge of the brand, and external experts able to bring a fresh perspective and specific skills.

Assistance with opening the sales outlet:

Providing practical and logistical support for the inauguration of a new franchise is of paramount importance in ensuring a smooth transition and a good start to operations. This includes help with site selection, store design and layout, and coordination with suppliers to ensure that everything is in order for the big day. This logistical support is designed to minimize errors and delays, ensuring that the new restaurant is up and running quickly and efficiently.

Coaching and regular follow-up: 

Establishing a system of mentoring and regular follow-up is decisive in helping franchisees overcome initial challenges and ensure their long-term success. This includes one-to-one coaching sessions, frequent field visits from head office, and periodic performance reviews. Ongoing support makes franchisees feel supported and valued, which improves their commitment and motivation. By offering constant assistance, franchisors can also quickly identify potential problems and provide proactive solutions, ensuring the profitability and lasting success of each outlet.

By following these guidelines and focusing on the key aspects of recruiting and supporting franchisees, it's possible to build a solid, successful network. Whether it's a burger, pizza, sushi, coffee shop or bakery/pastry chain, every franchise needs to adopt a personalized and effective strategy to attract and retain the best franchisees.

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