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Finding Middle Ground in the Franchisee-Franchisor Relationship

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Debbie Williams

How do you maintain a healthy relationship between franchisees and franchisors?  It's a topic that brand leaders are passionate about and always looking to improve - from the franchisee selection process to training, to marketing. 

We’re thrilled to be sharing the stage at the upcoming FastCasual Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit: Finding Middle Ground: Franchisees and Franchisors Weigh In with these amazing brand leaders.  

  • Justin Bartek | Marketing Director | JINYA Holdings
  • Adenah Bayoh | Founder, Franchisee | Cornbread, IHOP
  • Kristen Briede | Senior VP of International & Global Brands | P.F. Chang’s
  • Amy Ohde | Executive Director, Launch Support | Chick-fil-A

This is sure to be the most engaging and fun event session! 

Leading up to the event, we asked “what are the most important ways to strengthen the franchisee-franchisor relationship?” See what they had to say:

Justin Bartek, Director of Marketing at JINYA Holdings 

“First, communication - we try to over-communicate with our franchisees so they know what we are working on, how we are trying to improve the brand and best practices for them to execute in their locations.  Our goal is to lead by example and share our expertise in our various roles be it marketing, training, or IT.  

“Give them something they didn't know they wanted/needed - This is the Apple philosophy that Steve Jobs used to execute so well. They would present a product or service that the public didn't know they wanted or needed.  In marketing, I'm constantly trying to find new partners that can help us with our objectives and goals.  We want to bring partners and technology onboard that our operators didn't know they wanted or needed that will help them achieve their goals.” 

Amy Ohde, Executive Director, Launch Support, Chick-fil-A

“For us, it all starts with framing up our purpose as Chick-fil-A, Inc staff.  There is a famous saying from the former President of Chick-fil-A, Jimmy Collins.  He often reminded staff, “If you are not selling chicken, you better be supporting someone who is!”  Jimmy has been retired for as long as I’ve been at Chick-fil-A (20 years!) and this mindset still holds true today!  

We believe our differentiator at Chick-fil-A is our Operator Model (our Franchisee Model), which starts with our unique selection process.  There was a 2019 article published in Inc. Magazine titled, This Question Helps Chick-fil-A Select the Best Franchisees.

That powerful question we ask as we are selecting Operators is “Is this a person we’d want our kids to work for?” 

Our model for franchisee selection is more about an individual’s character than their credit line. When we are surrounded by the incredible Chick-fil-A Operators, you are inspired to serve in a big way!

Once selected, we put an intentional effort into establishing a trusting relationship from the beginning.  We spend intentional time with Operators, learning about their short and long-term goals and understanding their “why” – why behind being an Operator

Operators are in business for themselves but not by themselves. That’s why if you work on Chick-fil-A Inc.’s staff you are part of what we call the Support Center – our roles exist to serve and support Operators and their teams.

Our relationship goes deeper than a professional one – we’re family.   Much like family, we don’t always see eye to eye. But we are always there to support and love each other. “ 

There’s still time to register for the FastCasual Restaurant Franchising + Innovation Summit in Nashville from March 30-April 1, 2022.  

If you’re not able to make it, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for lots of updates and live coverage of the event!



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