Branding is essential to any pizzeria franchise. Branding is the true “product” that franchisors are selling, says Romeo’s Pizza founder Sean Brauser.
2 IS YOUR BRAND MARKETABLE? Assuming your restaurant concept is a brand, you
have to ask yourself: Is the brand marketable? So many
great restaurants have that special something that makes
them work. I call it “the magic.” In many cases, “the
magic” is the owner, the manager and/or the employees.
Alternatively, it may be the location, the competitive envi-
ronment or even the product. Unfortunately, all of those
things are completely unmarketable when it comes to
franchising. ;e only thing that is marketable—the only
true “magic”—is the power of your brand. Your brand
is everything that your company stands for and projects
to the outside world. It’s the logo, the uniforms, the way
you greet customers, the food quality, the speed of service,
or anything else that is unique to you. It is the how, why
and when of your company. It is bigger than the owner
and is truly “the magic.”
Your brand represents the real “product” you will be
selling through franchising. ;e systems and processes
that work behind the scenes also make your brand. In
my last article for PMQ (March 2015), I talked about
these systems and processes that must be in place before
you even consider opening a second unit, let alone fran-
chising your concept. You’ll need an operations manual,
a food prep manual and an employee handbook. Your
operations manual needs to address customer relations,
inventory and ordering systems. You must have a system
for labor scheduling and optimization. And you need a
financial system to track the success of the restaurant.
;ese systems are the most important “products” you’re
selling when you sell a franchise.
I also believe you must have at least three highly successful locations before you can franchise your concept.
Otherwise, few potential franchisees will want to invest
in your brand. Why? Because you haven’t proven that
“the magic” is the brand and the system. With just one
or two locations, you may still be “the magic,” or maybe
it’s the town you’re in or some other factor that cannot
In addition, those three stores should run as close to
perfectly as possible. Sales and profits need to be high.
;e stores need to show sales growth year over year. You
need to have employees in place who genuinely care
and make the restaurant hum. Remember: Once you
build your system, you must train your employees to
operate that system. ;en it’s your job to look for areas
where the system is breaking down and opportunities
for improvement. ;e system is what you are selling, so
make sure it’s perfect!