The roundtable concept in franchising 

Passed down since the days of King Arthur himself, the greatest leaders have always proven the value of having trusted advisors close to the heart of their operations.

The roundtable concept in franchising 

Passed down since the days of King Arthur himself, the greatest leaders have always proven the value of having trusted advisors close to the heart of their operations. And with franchise brands being driven by growth and becoming leading voices within their respective fields, the roundtable concept is one that has certainly found a place within the franchise industry. Here, Frank Milner, the Global President of Tutor Doctor, discusses the value of utilising franchisees to their fullest extent in a roundtable format.

The relationship between a franchisor and franchisee has often been characterised by that of a mentor and mentee. Never has this been more untrue. The modern franchise industry has become a vast global business scape thanks to the increasing number of franchisees that are given the space and freedom to fully utilise their prior experiences and expertise. With the mentor–mentee relationship implying a hierarchical structure, it is becoming increasingly important for prospects and existing franchisees to understand that it is misleading. Franchisees are independent businesspeople who are also representatives of a brand, and as such, they should be treated as experts who can advise, offer insights and support in driving the growth of a wider franchise operation.

“But how?” I hear you ask. Simple – the roundtable. Now, this is not advice suggesting you should rent a castle and put a huge roundtable in a banquet hall. But the concept is very much one that should be adopted by franchisors today. This approach works as everyone sitting around the table is equal and no single figure is positioned in a dictatorial or directorial role. Everyone around that table – franchisors, franchisees, employees or anyone else involved with the business – has the same platform and voice as the person sitting next to them. And when do the best ideas emerge? When people are given equal respect.

It is vital that franchisors continue to promote their ambition for growth and development by celebrating the leaders who work tirelessly to contribute to a brand’s success. After all, it is those devoted individuals who truly have an insight into the real workings of the business and, given the chance, might offer the idea that takes a franchise to the next level. A satisfied franchisee not only reflects well on their customers but also on prospects looking at the finer details of the business. With leadership opportunities as a vital element to maintaining the motivation of any worker, a smart franchisor will ensure that passionate and ambitious franchisees aren’t getting bored.

For example, at Tutor Doctor, our whole franchise operation has heavily benefitted from giving franchisees additional responsibilities and opportunities to develop processes that will see us into the future of the business. Thanks to this approach, Tutor Doctor is now a leading voice in external education providers collaborating with schools, which subsequently introduced the entire UK network to an additional 30% revenue stream. Hearing franchisees’ voices through collaboration squads, regional and national meetings, and appointing franchisee representatives have all contributed to maintaining Tutor Doctor’s franchisor–franchisee relationship, as well as keeping us one step ahead of the competition. 

Increasingly, it is being proven to franchisors that, while their role is essential, it means very little without recognising the importance of the role that franchisees play. As such, demonstrating transparency and involving franchisees in key decisions is a leadership approach that all franchisors should consider.

A franchisee who feels heard and is able to contribute creatively will almost certainly spell success on a relationship, business and operational level. Yes, franchisees are independent businesspeople, but what is it about the franchise industry that turns prospects into high-flying successes? The opportunity to be a part of a network that collaborates and shares ideas. A franchisor should promote regular openings for franchisees to truly feel like they are a part of important decisions and have an insight into the bigger picture of the business. By adopting this approach and ensuring responsibility for growth and development is shared across the roundtable, brands can only grow stronger. 

Frank Milner
Frank Milner