I’ve just started as a franchisee and have been approached by other franchisees in the same chain to get involved in networking/lobbying our franchisor. I don’t feel I have much time for this, but I also want to protect my interests. Are these groups ever worthwhile?
If there is a need for franchisees to form an independent body or lobby-group external of the franchisor in order to “corral” a movement against that franchisor, then I would suggest there has been a significant breakdown in communications between the franchisor and their franchisees.
This can happen for many reasons, which I won’t explore now.
As to whether these types of groups are worthwhile, my experience is that they can be very effective if they are created and managed the right way.
In summary, what I would suggest is that the franchisees first meet independently to discuss and identify the exact issues at hand. No emotion, just the facts.
A representative or spokesperson for the group then needs to be selected and that person needs to arrange a meeting with the franchisor (not including any operations or department managers) and clearly and calmly articulate those exact issues.
This needs to be delivered with an underlying message that the franchisees would like to create a formal Franchise Advisory Committee for the business, which will include the franchisor and their senior management and three franchisee representative (depending on the size of the franchise).
This committee would then work through these immediate issues and achieve a suitable outcome for all stakeholders.
The committee should then commit to meeting monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the need, to address issues of the day and maintain all lines of open communication.