• Sarah Barker

The Culture of Franchising

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

A lot of people come to franchising, thinking it’s exactly the same as “entrepreneurism” – meaning, they buy a business, and have the freedom to run that business as they choose.

While franchising offers its owners a great deal of personal freedom, to say they have “total freedom” would be incorrect. Because franchising is ultimately “a collection of many owners,” it is a society, or “culture” in to itself, and, like any other society, there are rules that must be followed.

Why must there be “a culture with rules” you say? First and foremost, the “rules” are there to protect owners, not restrict them. Let’s take the obvious example – a restaurant. If another owner, adjacent to your restaurant, didn’t keep a clean kitchen, wouldn’t you want your franchise company to have the power to do something about it? Of course you would – because you want to be able to protect your investment. A less obvious example of a “rule” that most franchises employ is their requirement that all sales be recorded through the franchise company’s software – so that royalties can be properly measured. If corporate isn’t “healthy” because they are not receiving accurate revenues, it will eventually harm the owners as well – so again, this rule is for protection of all concerned.

The document that houses these “rules” is the FDD (Federal Disclosure Document) – which clearly spells out for all potential owners what they can or cannot do if they owned a system within a particular franchise. This may contain rules ranging from supplier restrictions to operator dress codes to signage, and so on. It will differ for every franchise what those exact “rules” are.

So, in other words, it’s fair to say that a franchisor’s overall culture is “to maintain conformity” among their owners. They have a lot invested in their brand, and any time a particular location strays from what that brand is supposed to look like, or feel like, they are risking their brand, and their owners’ investments. So they just aren’t very flexible on this point.

Many “new Americans” find this concept a bit unusual or difficult to understand. Coming from other countries and business cultures, they assume they can carry their individual cultures into a franchise in North America for themselves. It’s important to know, when first investigating a franchise, that this will likely not be accepted by that franchise. Any franchise expects their owners – regardless of ethnic or experience backgrounds – to “follow the system rules” – which is their way of saying, follow the “culture of franchising.” If a potential buyer does not want to do this, then they probably don’t belong in franchising – they are a bit too independent for this type of business.

Within this broad culture of franchising, each company probably has its own subculture as well. One may very much like an adoptive family, where all owners work together to support each other’s success. Another may be very fast and edgy, demanding results. Another may be “all business” – reflecting a traditional, formal culture.

Whatever the culture, it’s important that potential owners investigate this when they are doing validation with other owners. They should be prepared to ask these owners such questions as:

1. What is it like to work within this franchise? Could you provide me with examples?

2. Would you describe the culture as warm and family-like, formal and business-like, or some other way?

This feedback, like all other validation learning, needs to be taken into account in making a decision as to a personal “fit” with a particular company. You’ll find, in time, that adapting to the culture of a franchise is no different than moving to a new city or joining a new group. Would you move to a city or new job, or join a group and immediately start telling them how to run things? Would you agree that the “power of many” can be worth more than the “power of one?” If you can answer “yes” to both of these questions, you should be comfortable working within the culture of franchising.

Interested in learning more about franchise opportunities? Contact us below.

SSB Franchise Consulting offers one-stop shopping when you are searching for a business to call your own. We help you save time by working with you to learn your likes and dislikes and style of doing business then matching you with prospective Franchisors at no cost to you. To read more on if we're a good fit go to https://www.ssbconsulting.us/faq 208.724.1731

Ready to get started? Schedule your free consultation today!







Sarah Barker | SSB Consulting

Franchise Consultant  & Recruiting Specialist

Located in Boise, ID

Working with clients in all states.

*LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website does not constitute the offer and sale of a franchise. It is for information purposes only. 







  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
  • Twitter
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest Social Icon
Contact us

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.