Apr 26, 2023
From Franchisee to Franchisor: The Importance of Leadership Skills in Every Role

Franchising is a unique business model that requires both franchisees and franchisors to work together towards a common goal. Effective leadership is essential for building and maintaining strong relationships between the two parties, driving growth, and ensuring the success of the franchise.

According to a report by Research and Markets, global franchise businesses are forecasted to grow by 0.8%, adding $104.64 billion by the end of 2023. This growth indicates the significant role that franchising plays in the economy and highlights the need for effective leadership in the industry.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of leadership skills in the franchising industry and provide practical tips and strategies for franchisees and franchisors to develop and enhance their leadership skills. We will also provide real-life examples of successful franchises that have attributed their success to strong leadership.

How Leadership Impact Franchise Success

McDonald's and Subway are prime examples of what can be achieved with a focus on strong leadership and employee development. With over 38,000 locations worldwide, McDonald's has established itself as one of the most successful franchises in the world by sticking to their vision of creating a standardized system for preparing food quickly and efficiently, which allowed the company to rapidly expand and become a global brand. Similarly, Subway's commitment to leadership development and customer service has helped the franchise grow and prosper, and achieve incredible success.

Effective leadership is essential for the success of a franchise, as it has a direct impact on several key areas, including franchise growth, employee morale, and customer satisfaction. Let's take a closer look at each of these areas:

Franchise Growth

Strong leadership is essential for driving franchise growth. Franchisees who are effective leaders can motivate their teams, set clear goals, and develop strategies to achieve those goals. Similarly, franchisors who are effective leaders can create a culture of innovation and collaboration that enables franchisees to thrive.

Employee Morale

Employee morale is critical to the success of a franchise. When employees are happy and engaged, they are more likely to provide excellent customer service, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and higher profits. Effective leaders can create a positive work environment that fosters teamwork, communication, and mutual respect, all of which contribute to higher employee morale.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a key driver of franchise success, as satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend the franchise to others. Effective leaders can ensure that their employees provide exceptional customer service by setting clear expectations, providing training and support, and recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance.

Leadership Skills For Franchisees

Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is a perfect example of how strong leadership skills can transform a struggling franchise into a thriving business. When Bachelder was appointed as CEO in 2007, Popeyes was struggling to compete with larger fast-food chains, and its sales had been declining for years.

One of the key things that Bachelder did was to implement clear and consistent communication across the organization. She focused on ensuring that everyone in the company understood the company's vision, goals, and strategies; and that they felt empowered to contribute to the company's success. This helped to create a strong sense of unity and shared purpose within the organization.

Bachelder also set clear and measurable goals for the company, and she held herself and her team accountable for achieving them. This helped to drive a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, and it ensured that everyone in the company was aligned and focused on achieving the same objectives.

In addition to these measures, Bachelder also made strategic decisions to drive growth and improve operations. For example, she repositioned the brand to focus on its core strengths, such as its famous New Orleans-style fried chicken, and she invested in new technology and infrastructure to improve operational efficiency.

As a result of these efforts, Popeyes experienced a significant financial and operational turnaround under Bachelder's leadership. During her tenure, the company's stock price increased by more than 1,000%, and its system-wide sales grew by over 40%. In 2019, Popeyes was acquired by Restaurant Brands International for $1.8 billion, further validating the success of Bachelder's leadership.

Franchisees are an integral part of any franchising business, and their leadership skills play a crucial role in the success of the franchise. Some of the key leadership skills that franchisees need to succeed include:

Effective communication

The ability to communicate effectively is essential for any leader, and it is particularly important for franchisees. Effective communication can help franchisees build strong relationships with their employees, customers, and franchisors.

Time management

Franchisees must be able to manage their time effectively to ensure that their business operations run smoothly. Time management skills can help franchisees prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities, and ensure that they are meeting their goals and objectives.

Strategic thinking

Franchisees must be able to think strategically to develop effective business strategies that drive growth and profitability. This includes analyzing market trends, identifying new opportunities, and developing plans to address potential challenges.

Feedback & Mentorship

Developing effective leadership skills takes time, effort, and dedication. Franchisees can benefit from investing in training and development programs that provide valuable insights into effective leadership practices and strategies. Seeking feedback from employees, customers, and franchisors can help franchisees identify areas for improvement and develop their leadership skills. Additionally, seeking mentorship from successful franchisees or business leaders can provide valuable guidance and support. 

Ongoing Learning

Effective leadership requires a commitment to ongoing learning and improvement, and franchisees can stay up-to-date on industry trends, attend conferences and seminars, and read books and articles on leadership to continuously develop their skills. 

By implementing these tips and strategies, franchisees can develop the leadership skills they need to succeed in their franchise businesses.

Leadership Skills For Franchisors

If you're in the market for building successful franchises, you may want to take a page out of Ray Kroc and Dave Thomas' book. These two legendary founders were able to turn their fast-food chains, McDonald's and Wendy's, into global powerhouses by leveraging their unique skill sets. Kroc was a visionary brand-builder who knew how to connect with franchisees, while Thomas excelled at developing marketing strategies and building personal relationships with customers.

As a franchisor, your leadership skills can make or break your franchise. To build a successful franchise system, you need to be an effective leader who can inspire and motivate your franchisees, develop a strong brand, and navigate challenges as they arise. Here are some leadership skills that franchisors need to succeed:

Visionary Thinking

Franchisors need to have a clear vision of where they want their franchise to go and how they want to get there. They need to be able to communicate this vision to their franchisees and inspire them to work towards a common goal.

Strategic Planning

Franchisors need to be able to develop and implement effective strategies to achieve their goals. They need to have a deep understanding of their market, customers, and competition and use this information to develop actionable plans.

Strong Communication

Franchisors need to be excellent communicators who can effectively convey their ideas, expectations, and goals to their franchisees. They need to be able to listen to feedback, provide guidance and support, and foster a culture of open communication within their franchise system.

To develop effective leadership skills as a franchisor, it's important to invest time and effort into learning and improving. One effective way to do this is by reading books, attending workshops, and listening to podcasts that focus on leadership development. This will help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices, giving you a competitive edge in the industry. Seeking feedback from your franchisees is another valuable way to develop your leadership skills. 

By asking for feedback on your leadership style and communication skills, you can identify areas where you need to improve and get a better understanding of how your leadership is perceived by others. Finally, building a strong team is crucial to success as a franchisor. Surrounding yourself with talented and motivated people who share your vision and values can help you build a strong franchise system and give you the support you need to succeed.


Franchising is a rewarding business model for entrepreneurs, providing an opportunity to grow their own businesses with the support of an established brand. Prioritizing a strong franchise system, open communication with franchisees, and effective leadership skills are essential for success. 

These tips and strategies can help franchisors achieve their goals and create a culture of success. Remember, prioritizing franchisee growth and success is crucial for the overall success of the franchise system. With the right approach, franchising offers unlimited potential for growth and success. 

Looking for a comprehensive solution to manage your franchise operations? Look no further than Delightree. With our easy-to-use platform, you can streamline your workflows, improve communication, and optimize your operations to drive business growth. Whether you have one location or hundreds, Delightree has everything you need to manage your franchise with ease. 

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