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Mar, 07 2014

Value franchisees as your partners

Meet Muralikrishna Parna, CEO, Sagar Ratna restaurants. With a rich and diverse work experience in companies cutting across industries, Parna has many success stories to tell.

The latest one being Sagar Ratna. Know more about his journey and success mantras as he talks at length about franchising and how to make it tick, in a tête-à-tête with TFW's Parina Sood.

Take us through your professional journey.

I started my career in sales, moved through advertising, brand management, category management, marketing and communication, retail merchandising and operations. I worked with leading organisations like Godrej, Lowe Lintas, Metro Cash & Carry and Walmart before joining Sagar Ratna Restaurants.

For how long have you been associated with Sagar Ratna?

I have been associated with Sagar Ratna for more than a year. In this timeframe, we have added nearly 15 franchisees across multiple cities throughout the country. Most of these franchisees are already successfully operational now. There are aggressive plans for the future.

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

Firstly, one would need to have a good understanding of all aspects of the business to be able to successfully convey the same to potential partners. One should be able to manage and cultivate the business network that is created over a period of time. Hence, networking and relationship management is important. Last and most importantly, valuing the franchisees as your partners is of paramount significance. It's a business of trust and hence, one needs to meet the expectations of the partners through their business journey with the brand. If it doesn't work for you, it won't work for the franchisee. Hence, ensure that the trust factor is always maintained in the relationship.

One strategy that helped you create a successful franchise network?

Ensuring existing franchisees are successful through proper support has ensured positive references to other potential franchisees. This has helped in growing the network fast.

How do you ensure that there is ongoing communication between the brand head office and its franchise partners?

At Sagar Ratna, we have a dedicated team to support the franchisee operations and other business aspects. This team acts as the single point of contact for the franchisee for any of their requirements. Further, regular visits by franchisee operations team along with team members from other departments ensure there's a regular communication channel.

What major hurdles have you faced while building a franchise network? How did you go about addressing those issues?

The most important hurdle is about the upfront investment involved for a franchisee against a long-term commitment being offered by the franchisor. It's a big leap of faith. Hence, this poses the biggest hurdle. At Sagar Ratna, the management's commitment towards the franchisees from the beginning and our positive references help us in overcoming any such hurdles. A professional management with the right organisation structure helps in solving most of these challenges.

Your leadership mantra

Agree on a common higher purpose, focus on the agreed expectations, trust and be trusted, be passionate about what you do and results will follow.


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