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Smaller Chains Report Happier, More Satisfied Franchise Owners

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 1/24/2012

Survey shows that the nation's largest franchises lag behind smaller chains in franchisee satisfaction.

In a recent survey conducted by the Franchise Research Institute/FranSurvey, franchisees in smaller, less recognized chains reported higher levels of satisfaction and contentment than their peers in large, highly visible franchises.

Top Franchise Award

According to Jeff Johnson, founder of The Franchise Research Institute/FranSurvey franchisee happiness is directly correlated to receiving acceptable returns on investment. Johnson also says that the top franchises stand out in their franchisors' ability to involve franchisees in major brand decisions and to listen and communicate.

The 2012 survey results were completely confidential and asked each chain's franchisees about franchisor performance in the areas of communication, ongoing training, product and support.

The big winners in FRI's 2012 list of the 25 top franchises include:

  1. Auntie Anne's franchises (pretzel shops)
  2. BrightStar Care franchises (homecare services)
  3. Children's Lighthouse Learning Centers franchises (child education)
  4. City Wide Maintenance franchises (building maintenance)
  5. ColorGlo franchises (color restoration)

The largest national brands are noticeably absent. There is no Subway, with its 30,000 franchisees, McDonald's, Domino's or Marriott hotels on this list.

Johnsons reminds the leaders of franchising's largest brands about the need to perform independent, third party surveys to identify the mood and wants of their franchisees. These kinds of evaluations should be a regular part of every franchisor's listening process to their franchisee base.

"A company can provide a terrific product or service, which is well received by the public, and franchisees can still fail," says Johnson, adding that the best franchisors focus keenly on franchisee success, which in turn supports the success of the brand.

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