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What Do Franchisees Really Think About Their Franchise?

An Interview with FranSurvey® and Franchise Business Review


Franchisors should know the satisfaction level of their franchisees. Although, the options for measuring franchisee satisfaction are limited, there is an effective way to obtain this information. We interviewed two companies that provide the answers to the questions franchisors should be asking their franchisees.

If franchisors could read the minds of their franchisees imagine what they could learn. Are franchisees satisfied with the level of support and assistance they receive? Do they feel that the franchise program is on the right track? Are the franchisees meeting their financial expectations? Do they think the franchisor’s marketing and sales programs are effective? Is the franchisor’s field staff competent and supportive?  

The value of this information would be priceless to a franchisor. Franchisees are the lifeblood of a franchise system. Satisfied franchisees are necessary to validate the franchise to prospective franchisees and a strong franchise system is built upon successful and motivated franchisees. On the other hand, disgruntled franchisees will spend some of their valuable time complaining and exchanging anecdotes with fellow franchisees. A positive attitude on the part of the franchise network is a win-win situation for all.

Since franchisors are not mind readers there needs to be an alternative and there is. Recently, I interviewed Jeff Johnson, President of the Franchise Research Institute and Eric Stites, President of the Franchise Business Review. Both companies survey franchisees and offer franchisors and franchisees the opportunity to evaluate the performance of a franchise program.

Franchise Research Institute

Jeff Johnson is the founder and President of the Franchise Research Institute. At 29 years old Jeff became a multi unit franchisee and operated the franchise for 17 years, before founding FRI.

At that time Jeff saw a void in the franchise industry and felt it important for franchisors to know how franchisees think and feel about their franchise. Jeff used his franchise experience in conjunction with a local university professor to develop FranSurvey® a methodology for surveying franchisees.

According to Jeff, the confidential nature of FranSurvey®, which includes each franchisee having a unique pass code, is a motivating factor for franchisees wanting to share their information with the Franchise Research Institute. Jeff, reports that the most frequent problem areas that come up, are field support, local store marketing and how the franchisor can help the franchisee to drive more business and solve their problems?

Most franchisors will benchmark key results, utilizing 20 questions and will resurvey every 12 months.  Jeff, told me; “We have found that the single greatest predictor of a franchisee's success is the quality of their relationship with the franchise company. The franchisee must depend on the franchise company to provide expert guidance and assistance in setting up and running their franchise business.”

Franchise Business Review

This company was founded by Eric Stites 6 years ago. Franchise Business Review is a national franchise market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction. The company uses proprietary software that was developed specifically for FBR in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire. The FBR will do an initial franchise survey at no cost and provide a numerical index to the franchisor. To receive detailed results franchisors will pay a slight fee. Each year the FBR 50 – Franchisee Satisfaction Awards are presented at the annual International Franchise Association Convention. Eric stated that the most frequently mentioned problem areas are: “Training and support, marketing programs and the financial opportunity for the franchisee.” Eric stated the position of FBR quite simply: “There are many factors to consider before buying a franchise and chief among those factors is satisfaction levels of current franchisees.”

Both companies report that a typical survey takes from 8-12 minutes and surveys can be customized to meet specific needs. A customized survey can take 30 minutes. In terms of response rate both reported an average of 70% with some as high as 80-90%.

Measuring the level of franchisee satisfaction provides a number of benefits for franchisors, franchisees, prospective franchisees and customers.

Here are some examples:

  •  Become aware of problems before events get out of control
  •  Identify priority items or issues that require focus
  •  The process demonstrates franchisor’s concern and willingness for program improvement to its franchisees
  •  Identify marketing and product opportunities
  •  Evaluate competency and effectiveness of franchisor staff
  •  Provide prospective franchisees the level of franchisee satisfaction

To view a listing of franchise satisfaction ratings you can visit http://www.fransurvey.com/ and http://www.franchisebusinessreview.com/

Using surveys to measure the satisfaction level of franchisees is an effective way to improve and develop a franchise network.

Contact Information:

Franchise Business Review
Eric Stites, President

Franchise Research Institute
Jeff Johnson, CEO
800.410.5205 Ext.211

© 2010 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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