Implementing a new POS system chain-wide is a big project, whether your chain is corporately run or franchised. But with franchises, you have the additional challenge of ensuring all of your franchisees are on board, and willing to pay for the new system. Whether mandated or not, franchisees that are not willing to upgrade their POS system can make the process that much more challenging.
Throughout the rollout, there are a few ways you can ensure that your franchisees are as excited for the new system as you are, starting from the very beginning.
The Research Period
At your head office, it may be very apparent that your current POS system is not meeting your brand’s needs. This could be due to falling behind current technology, a lack of reporting features, or any number of reasons.
Find Out Where You Stand
Once you’ve determined that you want to reevaluate your brand’s technology strategy, the first step is to find out where you stand:
- Are all your franchisees currently using the same POS system?
- What additional products that integrate with the POS are your franchisees using?
- How much have your franchisees invested into the current system, and how long has it been in place?
Next, look through all of your franchisees’ agreements, and determine what rights you, the franchisor, have to make changes to your franchise locations. You may have a myriad of different contracts, so work with your lawyer to go through all of them, and determine what potential issues you could run into.
Communicate Clearly & Early
Imagine two different scenarios:
- You are a franchisee and all of a sudden you receive an email from your franchisor stating that you need to purchase and install a new POS by next month. The price is steep, and it will take time to retrain your staff.
- You are a franchisee, and you’ve received regular updates on your franchisor’s search for a new POS system. They have asked the opinion of franchisees throughout the organization, and you have had time to prepare funds. You have had input into the installation timeline, and you are prepared for the new POS to be installed by next month.
In both scenarios, the franchisee is purchasing a new POS system at the direction of head office. But in the second scenario, clear communication has allowed the franchisee to prepare ahead of time and will result in a much smoother transition.
Investigate Your Franchisees’ Needs
Remember that the majority of your franchisees don’t see things the way you do at head office. It’s important to find out their views on your current POS system. What do they like, or dislike about it? Does it meet their needs? Have your franchisees altered their POS systems in any way, or built workarounds for things that are broken, or don’t work? Do they feel the system needs to be replaced?
These are questions that you should be asking your franchisees. Collect their responses, and develop a list of must-haves in the new system, from your franchisees’ point of view. They will be much more inclined to invest in a new system if they can easily see how it will solve the problems that they are experiencing at the store level.
The Selection Process
Once your team has selected a handful of potential POS providers, transition part of the decision process over to your franchisees. Let them evaluate the POS systems themselves, and come to a consensus on their preferred system.
In some large franchises, there is an existing board of franchisees to represent all of the franchisees. Have the POS providers demonstrate their systems to the board, so that they can provide input into your selection. Not only will this create buy-in from your franchisees, but it will also ensure your new selection will perform well at the store level.
Once you’ve selected a new POS, go a step further to test it in a franchise location for a set period of time. Allow other franchisees to go in, and see the system in action. This will help them prepare for their own installations, and have any concerns addressed before they become a problem.
The Installation Process
Work with your franchisees to determine a roll-out schedule, and take their requests into account. For some locations, the timeline may not be as important as it is for others. For instance, a franchise location in a college town may not want a new POS to be installed in September when they are at their busiest. Instead, schedule their installation for May or June, to give them time to train their team before the university is back in session.
During the installation process, make sure you take advantage of all of the training that your new POS provider offers. By training your franchisees on how to use all aspects of their new POS system, and any other systems being installed at the same time, you will eliminate a lot of their headaches, and they will be happier with the new system.
In the end, rolling out a new POS system to your entire franchise is an expensive and difficult endeavor for your franchisees. You can create buy-in only by understanding the problems your franchisees face, and ensuring you are there to support them through the process.
Next week, I’ll be talking with Travis Miller, the Director of Technical & Financial Operations of Cottage Inn, and Niko Frangos, the President of Franchising of Rascal House Pizza, about their brand’s technology strategies, and how they make changes in their companies during the Technology Roundtable on Pizza Marketplace. You can register to hear what they have to say, by following the link below.
Posted on Wed, Nov 04, 2020 @ 06:11 AM.
Updated on November 10, 2020 @ 8:52 PM PST.