A Franchise is like a Marriage
Recently my husband and I were interested in purchasing a franchise in the restaurant industry. We were looking at two different chains, had done our research on both, ate at both, liked what we originally saw and decided to meet the owners or franchise operator at both. At the first meeting, we met with the President and Franchise Operator at one of their restaurants (deemed their head office) who were both very gracious and hospitable, friendly, accommodating and really seemed to care about their franchisees and expressed that we would be a great fit. We came away having enjoyed a lovely lunch, felt positive that this was going to be a “good marriage” and even applied to be a franchise owner.
The second interview a few days later with the other franchise, one we were most excited about, was with the President whom we met at their head office. The door was locked but promptly opened by the President. He shook our hand and introduced himself then led us into a pristine boardroom and told us exactly where to sit.
He then left us there for what seemed like ten minutes, likely just enough time so we could read all the dipliomas and certificates he has earned on the “Wall of Me” displayed to our immediate right from where we were sitting. Our meeting was at noon, having come from an hour and a half away and interestingly, even though he had a full kitchen behind him, and was in the hospitality industry, not once did he offer us a coffee, a slice of cake, not even a glass of water! This fellow was the most toxic, negative and vindictive individual I have ever met! He went on ad nauseum how the 9 of the current 12 franchisees shouldn’t be running his business and how he wants to oust them as they should never have been allowed to be a franchise owner in the first place! He even stated to stay how he hates people.
Now this is the President and franchise operator of a company with 13 locations across Ontario, that has been in operations for 20 years and who, in my opinion, should not be dealing with people at all! He did nothing to sell us on becoming franchise owners, told us how he needs to replace many of the current owners with managers, take them over as corporate stores (because only he knows how to run them), and work on saving the brand. The diversity in personality from the first franchise operators to this one was like night and day! This shows how important an interview is when investigating a franchise.
When we left, we knew immediately that this was not a franchise we would buy into EVER! We realize that when buying a franchise, one needs to feel comfortable with everyone involved, feel that the head of the operation has your back and wants to help you be successful. Buying into this second franchise would be none of this! It would a total disaster and we feel sorry for the current owners having to work with this guy, knowing he only wants to get rid of them.
In the end, we decided not to purchase either franchise but instead work on our own independent business that we have built over the past 2 years, is on a good trend, is valued, has a great reputation with lots of opportunities still to come. We feel very comfortable in our decision after what we had learned from the interviews, doing more research and realizing that we have a good thing right under our nose, that we are creative, hard-working individuals who could do things better than either franchise and still treat people well!