global franchise newsletter sign up graphic

Stay in the know and receive the latest international franchising news, insight and investment opportunities

close catfish

Closing the franchisee performance gap

Closing the franchisee performance gap

Three areas in which franchisees can improve – and how franchisors can help.

Keep up to date with the latest Global Franchise News sent straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

Franchise businesses are about replication. In theory, a hard-working, financially qualified person can adopt proven branding, marketing, and operational tactics, and by serving the right demographics, get the same results.

In practice, that’s not at all what happens. Within every franchise brand there’s a wide spectrum of results. Doing the same things in similar conditions, some franchisees are killing it while others are getting killed. And it’s not just because some work harder, have better locations, or do more marketing.

A deeper look at top franchisees, whom I call “wealthy franchisees”, reveals three areas where they’re particularly adept: how they think, how they lead, and how they serve. These human factors are what each franchisee brings to their own operation – things completely under their control.

A franchisor, however, can’t control these factors, any more than an automobile dealership can control how their buyers drive and maintain their car, though these things significantly impact performance. But franchisees can improve in these areas and franchisors can help. This improvement – on top of hard work, marketing and other operational necessities, will enable any franchisee with a marginally acceptable location to dramatically boost performance.

Let’s explore what improvement in each of these skills looks like:

How the franchisee THINKS

Franchisees don’t usually look in the mirror for answers, but often that’s where they lie. Many operate without self-awareness, not realizing how their thoughts impact their business. But this is important because marketing isn’t just about advertising; it’s about patience. Managing employees isn’t just about directing work; it’s about developing people. And customer service isn’t just about facilitating sales; it’s about making human connections. These philosophical differences are the difference-makers. Better work begins with deeper thinking.

Consider the contrasts in how wealthy franchisees and struggling franchisees approach the same issues:

These differences in perspective put wealthy franchisees and struggling franchisees miles apart. And most of what the struggling franchisee does in these examples is in complete accordance with the franchise agreement. There’s no contractual obligation to be positive, to work smart, or to uplift customers emotionally. Nor is there one that requires franchisors to encourage this approach to business. Franchisees are responsible for their own mindset.

Franchisors would be wise to devote more time and resources helping struggling franchisees think like top franchisees. It may not be part of the legal relationship, but it has everything to do with performance.

How the franchisee LEADS

Franchisees oversee two things: systems and people. How they manage both significantly impacts the business.

When it comes to systems, wealthy franchisees embrace brand standards. They didn’t buy a franchise to innovate. They leave the R&D to the franchisor. They’d rather mitigate the risk and stick to what’s proven. When they do have ideas (or concerns about the franchisor’s ideas), they bring them to the franchisor and collaborate to figure out what’s best for the entire network. Mostly, they just execute and find a way to lead within the lines.

Struggling franchisees don’t fully buy into the system. They believe they know better and try to outsmart their franchisor. Sometimes they succeed, but usually not. Ignoring good advice and doing things their own way weakens the brand and exposes them to more risk.

I’ve met and interviewed so many great franchisees over the years. When it comes to operations, they don’t do things differently. They do them better.

They’re also better at leading their teams. They understand that employees are the lifeblood of the business. They do most of the work, they have the most facetime with customers, and if trained well, they allow the business to become more of an investment for the franchisee instead of a job. A good use of money should yield more money. A good use of time should yield more time. That’s why wealthy franchisees hire slow, train slower, and fire fast. They build cultures. They know every new person will add or take away from the team. So, they’re careful about whom they recruit.

In addition to patient, selective hiring, wealthy franchisees continuously work to make employees great and work even harder to keep them great. They focus on their development rather than just their work. They want every employee to become a leader. That takes a little more time up front, but it saves time in the backend when their employees work more independently.

At the same time, wealthy franchisees appreciate that even the best employees slip backwards when they get comfortable, bored, or feel unappreciated. They need their fire fed. This isn’t a burden for top franchisees. It’s what being a leader means. It’s the most important work they do.

“I’ve met and interviewed so many great franchisees over the years. When it comes to operations, they don’t things differently. They do them better”

Struggling franchisees see how solid wealthy franchisees’ teams are and ask the same misinformed question: “Where do you find such great people?” They think good hiring is about locating a good fishing spot. They believe superstar employees are found, having no appreciation for the work top franchisees put into developing them.

Struggling franchisees just want the work to get done. They fill positions with people who are good enough. They grumble about the applicant pool. “People these days are so lazy and entitled,” echoing the same complaints of the generations of mediocre employers who came before them.

These franchisees also rush through training, moving through instruction way too fast. Wealthy franchisees remember that new team members are nervous, hesitant and overwhelmed. They support their mindset as much as their skill set. Struggling franchisees don’t consider the human side of onboarding staff. They just want employees to absorb the instructions and get to work. Consequently, their work suffers.

Both franchisees know that employees need motivation but approach it quite differently. Wealthy franchisees offer fair pay and outside incentives, but they also create environments that promote intrinsic motivation. They appeal to their employees’ inner desire to grow, to feel connected to their team, and to be part of something that has purpose.

Struggling franchisees rely exclusively on extrinsic motivation.

They buy their team lunch and occasionally give them gift cards. They offer cash incentives. They tempt them with carrots without understanding the internal drivers that inspire people.

Wealthy franchisees better understand the humanity of their team members. They tap into their feelings, which directly elevates their work. Struggling franchisees don’t lead well because they’re too busy being busy.

How the franchisee SERVES

This might be the most tangible difference between great franchises and everyone else. You can see it in their business and read it in their online reviews.

Wealthy franchisees remember that every aspect of the business revolves around the customer experience. All offerings, branding, and marking are about attracting and delighting people. When a customer who can be spending their time and money anywhere on the planet comes to them, that’s a big deal. So they do more than exchange a product for money. They work to elevate the customer’s emotions. Even if they’re just selling ice cream, they deliberately seek to make the customer feel just a little bit better. Because what people get matters less than how people feel. Wealthy franchisees want more than customers; they want repeat customers. They want more than people thinking good things; they want people saying good things. Every transaction is a marketing opportunity. So wealthy franchisees create memorable experiences customers love, talk about and want to repeat.

Struggling franchisees sell stuff. They’re in the “next in line” business. They see customers but not people. Their perspective is two-dimensional. They move through transactions robotically. They think it’s enough to be polite and give customers what they came for. Their service isn’t necessarily bad; it’s forgettable. Nothing about it gets noticed. Nothing about it distinguishes the experience from the competition’s. Nothing inspires customers to spend more, spread the word, or come back.

You can’t reproduce a meal unless you use every ingredient. To enjoy the same level of success as their wealthy counterparts, struggling franchisees need to replicate everything about them, beyond the obvious operational elements. Only then will they know the true value of their business. If franchisors are serious about helping them, their support needs to extend to how franchisees think, lead and serve. That’s their best chance to close the performance gap and become a peak performance brand.


1. How they THINK

2. How they LEAD

3. How they SERVE


Franchise expert Scott Greenberg is the author of The Wealthy Franchisee: Game-Changing Steps to Becoming a Thriving Franchise Superstar.

Global Franchise Meets.

An inspirational new web video series where we meet the business leaders and influencers in International Franchising.

you may be interested in

franchise directory

  • TaxAssist Accountants

    Business & Professional Services, Financial Services, <100K, Featured

  • Cafe2U

    Food & Catering, Coffee, Take-away, <100K, Featured

  • 800 Pizza

    Food & Catering, Fastfood, Pizza, Take-away, Featured

view more
Connect with Linkedin Logo
Global White Logo Click Here
Close button


Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order. Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.


We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.


Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.


We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.


This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.


Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at


By using our site, you consent to our online privacy policy.


If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page


If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below. All correspondence relating to the Website should be sent to: Global Franchise 21/23 Phoenix Court Hawkins Road Colchester Essex CO2 8JY Email: