4 Qualities Restaurant Franchisors Look For in a Franchisee

When it comes to franchising, it's all about the perfect match between franchisor and franchisee, especially in something as fast-paced as restaurant ownership.

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If you're thinking about restaurant franchising — whether it be driven by a foodie passion, longstanding devotion to a brand or a swift career change — you'll be put to the test as you search for an ideal franchise match. Restaurant franchising, as opposed to other industries, requires a unique skill set that franchisor's seek in prospective franchisees to ensure they carry forth the integrity of the brand. Do you have what franchisors are looking for?

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Eagerness to learn

Much of being a successful franchisee involves abiding by the business model put forth by the franchise to replicate success. While you won't know everything at first — and they don't expect you to — franchisors tend to appreciate an eagerness to learn and devotion to the brand's operations. "The coachability piece is huge for us because we know what we're doing now, and if you follow what we're preaching and what we have as a system and brand, we can make you successful," says Jim Tselikis, co-founder of Cousins Maine Lobster. "If a franchisee comes in and says they don't know everything but they're willing to learn and we can train them, they'll be successful. And I think that humility is a really becoming quality."

Act of service mindset

When it comes to the food and beverage industry, an orientation towards service is crucial for success. While certain franchise concepts require less active involvement, restaurant ownership isn't one of them. When restaurant franchisor's vet prospective franchisees, it's vital that individuals understand what's required of them day-in and day-out as they take on the business. "If you're going to look at predictive qualities that make a good restaurant franchisee, you're looking at factors that indicate an aptitude towards service to others," says Lauren Fernandez, founder and CEO of Full Course, "because you can train anyone to run a restaurant, but it's very hard to coach somebody to be a nice person. You really need to find people who have that service heart and attitude."

Related: Being Vulnerable Is the Boldest Act of Business Leadership

Passion for the brand

As the franchisee, you're representing the integrity and upholding the image of a larger company. When interviewing and assessing possible candidates, franchisors want to know that your heart is not only in it, but that you understand the mission and purpose of the brand. "I'd say if you're going to be a franchisee of a brand, you need to buy in — not just literally with your dollars, but the fact that this franchisor has done this and has this sandbox for your plan and that the power and support of the brand is going to make you successful and that's the route you choose versus doing it on your own," says Tselikis. While it's not required to be wholly obsessed with a brand, its in your best interest to have a larger understanding of the mission and what's at the heart of the service it wants to provide to others. When assessing franchise options, be sure you're in alignment with the brand's core values and message. "I think one of the things that's the most important is that you have that early stage alignment on what the brand is about," says Fernandez. "The best franchisees are the ones that connect to the brand and understand it."

Commitment

Franchising at the core is a long-term partnership that requires commitment and dedication, especially in the food and beverage industry. When taking on a restaurant franchise, franchisees need to be ready to dive in and devote themselves to what is often decades of commitment. If you're interested in being a franchisee for a food and beverage concept, consider the amount of time, effort and financials that are required to ensure the unit succeeds, because you'll be in it for the long haul.

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