From time time DDIFO is pleased to present editorials from the DDIFO leadership team. The following is an editorial written by Jim Coen, President of DDIFO.

Many Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners fondly remember the days of making the donuts. It’s harkens memories of bygone days and reflects the simplicity of the business in its early days. Today, technology has moved the business into the modern age—not just in baking but also in business operations.

Jim Coen, President DDIFO

Jim Coen, President DDIFO

As an example, sophisticated Point-of-Service machines provide franchisees critical data to improve purchasing, sales and marketing. They also point out variances and help control shrinkage. This data is of tremendous benefit to both operators and the brand. As a result, the need has emerged for a policy to effectively manage the use of that data.
With integrated POS and video systems, such as March Networks, an operator can watch how his or her employees conduct business. This insight enables a franchise owner to better manage the business but the availability of such vision increases risks that others may use the information against you.

DDIFO doesn’t quibble with the benefits of the technology or the data it provides, and of course we wish to protect the Dunkin’ Donuts brand name. We do, however, believe that before DDIFO can sanction the use of any invasive security systems that others have access too, there needs to be a written data usage policy which defines the parameters of the use of that data.

Because Dunkin’ has grown up in an age of emerging technology, we have come to a point where the technology can do more than anyone had ever imagined. Both franchisor and franchisees have determined how such data can benefit their interests but there are instances when those interests conflict. As a result, some franchise owners are reticent to shoulder the cost of adopting the latest technological advancements and they resent the pressure the brand has placed on them to do so.

The solution to this problem lies in a transparent, new data policy that is acceptable to both parties. Such a policy should be created with the interests of each party weighed carefully against tipping the scales too heavily in one side’s favor. DDIFO is uniquely positioned to help craft such an agreement for Dunkin Brands and its franchisees.
By working together to create a policy that recognizes the benefits—and potential risks—of collecting and using data, franchise owners and Dunkin’ Brands will each have a sense of ownership in the document. In addition, each party will know exactly what is expected of the other now and as the technology continues to mature.

DDIFO understands that at this time March Networks is not mandated. But, it also understands there is tremendous interest in the franchise owner community to implement March Networks or a similar system.

Great relationships are based on trust and mutual cooperation. Over the years, the Dunkin’ system has established itself as a leader in QSR. Now, as technology offers new opportunities to improve operations and increase profits, DDIFO is again looking to Dunkin’ Brands to lead the way by seeking the input of its most valuable resource—the franchise owners—to draft and institute a data usage policy that is of benefit to all while providing the necessary protection franchise owners desire.