Two years ago, the authentic Russo-French restaurant, Serbian Crowns was doing just fine.
For 40 years, they served hackleback American cavier, marienated wild boar, roast suckling pig, and, strangely enough, lion meat.
Then, slowly, Serbian Crowns began losing customers on the weekend, the restaurant’s most profitable time. Owner, Rene Bertagna, couldn’t figure out why. His menu hadn’t changed, he never moved locations, his hours stayed the same. Despite his 40 years of consistent service, customers stopped eating at Serbian Crowns on the weekends.
Then, a customer told him why.
Bertagna was talking about his enigma, when the customer said, “Well, you know Google says you’re closed on the weekends, right?”
“Nonsense,” Bertagna replied. “I don’t use the Internet. I don’t even own a computer!”
Bertagna checked Google, and, sure enough, the customer was right. Bertagna tried to reverse the damage, but by that time, it was too late. Serbian Crowns closed in April 2014, and Bertagna is trying to sue Google over Serbian’s erroneous hours.
Sound absurd? Maybe so.
But Bertagna’s story tells us someting valuable: you may have silent problems killing your franchise.
So, because of this, we’ve thought up 6 problems that could be silently suffocating your franchise.
6 Problems that Silently Kill Your Franchise
1. Your website is not mobile responsive.
I’m 23, and I know firsthand that if your website is not responsive on my iPhone, in other words, if the text is too small, or the loadtime to slow, or the graphics too scrunched, then I will not return to your website. Not now, not ever.
Sorry Charlie, but that’s the way us Millennials think. I hardly pull up a franchise’s website on my desktop to look for store hours, location, directions, or a menu. It’s almost all done on my smartphone.
So if your franchise’s (or franchisees’) website is NOT mobile responsive, you may be killing your sales.
2. You have poor employee retention.
While a mobile website is a marketing problem, poor employee retention is a recruitment and/or management problem.
Most businesses struggle with finding and keeping top talent. But there are plenty of preventative tools that could, if not end, then reduce employee turnover.
First, you could use online/offline tests to measure the skills of your potential employees.
Second, you could, in addition to an online application, ask for a Myers-Brigg Personality test, or something of its kind. The Myers-Brigg will give you a set of initials that give you a window into that person’s life. For instance, I am an ENTJ, which means I’m Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging. I am most effective in a management position, and, according to the diagnosis, driven by success and achievements. You can easily find top talent by requesting the Myers-Brigg, and plenty of companies do.
3. Your website is outdated.
We touched on this earlier when we talked about mobile responsive websites. But now let’s talk about the age by which your website appears.
One of my biggest digital turn-offs is an outdated website. I call these “digital ghost towns.” These sites give off the same sense of abandonment and disuse as a ghost town. “Latest Articles” from 2009. “Coming Soon” pages still under construction. Seasonal flyers from, well, last season.
When I see your outdated website, I lose trust and pride in your business. I leave, and I do not plan on returning. I’ll buy your product from someone I trust, like Amazon.
4. You have a poor content marketing strategy.
These days, if you’re not content marketing, you’re building a coffin for your brand.
Content marketing is using any form of content—emails, blogs, catchy slogans, self-help video, infographics, Tweets, Pinterst pins, Facebook posts—to announce your franchise’s authority.
For instance, you may have a blog that helps customers with your camera products, or you may have a YouTube channel that helps customers assemble their new grills, or you may have a Facebook account that keeps customers informed about the ins and outs of your business. No matter what, you’re using content to keep people interested in your business.
Red Bull is the prime example of good content marketing.
Advocates of the extreme, champions of energy drinks, Red Bull’s content marketing includes web content, sponsored marathons, and epic contests. They give out free drinks in their Red Bull Mini Coopers; they sponsor skateboarders, rally cars, and jumpsuits; they offer free global videos on redbull.tv. Red Bull uses their niche to market to a large audience.
5. You are unresponsive to poor feedback on review sites.
Don’t be naive.
Even if you (or your franchisees) don’t use the Internet, someone, somewhere, has listed you on Yelp, Tripadvisor, or Yellowpages.
And unless you’re perfect, you will inevitably receive poor feedback.
Not responding to poor feedback is like not responding to a broken ankle. In other words, NOT good.
So when you see poor feedback, respond respectfully and professionally. Address the reason for the poor feedback. Don’t just sit there like a lump on a log. Do something. Show the customer you value his or her opinion and make a change.
And if you don’t address the problem? Well, don’t expect a yipee from them.
6. You’re just another generic business.
This silent problem didn’t kill franchises in the past, but I have a feeling it will in years to come.
Most Millennials value a local experience. Mom and Pop stores, handmade clothing, Etsy, locally grown food, farm fresh products. We just love when a story is attached to the thing we buy.
If you’re franchisees are not local businesses, then, you could be killing your franchise. In other words, if they have not localized with the surrounding culture, if they do not know the locals, then they are destined for failure.
Entrepreneurs, listen to this. If you want your franchise to succeed, start localizing your franchises today.
Need help localizing?
We can help.
Part of LocalMark’s mission is to localize franchisees. We know what the trends are, and we know a local experience is important. So call us today. We’ll give you some tips on how to localize your franchise.