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Jul, 11 2013

Consider franchisees as partners

Franchising helps to bring discipline in business endeavours. This is what Joseph Cherian, CEO, Global, Global Franchise Architects, feels after being in the food and beverage industry for over a decade now. After a stint with the Mc Donalds Joseph has a

How long have you been a franchise professional? Why did you choose to be a professional in the franchise sector?

I have been with Global Franchise Architects (GFA) for over seven years and GFA are builders, operators and franchisors of speciality brands. We have built a strong franchise support system based in Bangkok and India which supports both international franchisees and franchisees in India. I started my career with McDonalds India as a management trainee and spent seven years with operations and training. Then I spent a year in Dubai working for a restaurant consulting firm and currently with GFA for the last seven years. Handled different portfolios of business development, was Managing Director of GFA Thailand and Global Operations and then as CEO of GFA India and currently as CEO of GFA Global.

What, according to you, are the three skills needed to be a successful franchise professional?

We should never treat franchisees as another entity; we should consider them as partners and support their stores just like our own stores. Listening skills are the key for franchisors. Your willingness to understand the franchisees is critical to success and most importantly, it helps in managing expectations of franchisees.

Share with us one strategy programme that you applied in the course of your professional voyage and which helped you create successful franchise network.

We succeed only when our franchisees succeed. This thought has helped us build a strong network of successful franchisees. Their success in their first stores has helped them add multiple stores. Their success stories have helped us increase the network by referrals. We strongly feel that it is best we work on building our franchise partners as our brand ambassadors.

How did you ensure that there was ongoing communication between the corporate office and its franchise partners?

At GFA we have a strong franchise support system. We have defined one point communication system, which helps in reducing communication gap and we focus a lot on documented communication. At our global support centre in Bangkok, Thailand, we have an international operating assistance department which has a team of franchise relationship executives to manage each franchise relationship. We have a separate account executive for each master franchise partner.

According to you, what are the five key elements necessary that should be incorporated into a franchise biz model, from a long term perspective?

A strong franchise support system, responsiveness, feedback mechanism for exchanging ideas, a unit economic model, which provides the required RoI, and a strong training centre, which is critical for development of franchise partners and their team are the key elements.

Where do you see yourself as a professional five years down the line?

Currently, we have 250 stores globally and in the next five years we look forward to having over 750 stores globally expanding mostly in South East Asia and India and to be known as the franchise experts in South East Asia.

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