People ask me from time to time, “why does a franchisee association need to exist, especially if we have a brand advisory council (BAC)”?
To me it’s pretty simple; an independent franchisee association (IndFA) provides franchise owners with an established independent entity to protect and enhance the interests of the franchise owners.
The BAC provides a valuable service to the system, with the BAC there is a structured process to discuss key areas of concern to both franchisees and the franchisor. The reality is that the BAC are advisers to the franchisor and in most cases as with Dunkin’ Donuts, the BAC does not have independent legal counsel, and by definition, it serves as an adviser to Dunkin Brands.
In contrast to the BAC, an IndFA is formed by the franchise owners, created for the benefit of franchise owners, and financed by franchise owners. A basic factor to keep in mind is that the business interests of franchise owners often differ substantially from the business interests of the franchisor.
Thus, in even the best of circumstances each party, because it is in a different business, is pursuing different goals, using different strategies and operating from different perspectives.
An IndFA is the most effective means of advancing the shared interests of members of a franchise system. It is not always the case that members of a franchise community share all interests in common. Nevertheless, in most cases, franchise owners will find some interests that they share in common and that most of those lend themselves quite well to collective action by member franchise owners.
I can never imagine a situation where franchise owners are better off without an independent entity.
With the right approach from both sides, a IndFA can help enhance the value of the entire franchise system.
The real value of an IndFA, however, is the collaborative information sharing and problem solving needed if the franchise brand is going to be competitive.
This collaborative information sharing was evident last week at the “Calling All Franchise Owners” meeting in Westborough, where franchise owners were discussing among their peers best practices in running their units.