This is my 25th year [in franchising] and I’ve pretty much wore every hat in the industry. I’m a two time franchisor, I have been a consultant for a lot of emerging companies that really from the start-up phase wanted to go to market through business format franchising. I’ve worked with a largest media group, Franchise Update Media Group – I was director of business development where I worked on the technology side, and everything from print to shows.
When I first met with the team at Empowerkit, it registered really quickly with me why it makes sense. As a SaaS company (software as a service), being able to build custom websites at the franchisee level, allowing them [franchisees] to have some control – empowering them in the relationship really works, it’s a really strong benefit for both sides.
We have what we call Brandlock®, which allows the control of the brand to be maintained by the franchisor. So it allows a little bit of liberalness with the franchisee to be creative on the site, but not where it is going to ever jeopardize the brand. And we all know that is part of franchising, that recognition of the brand.
Developing apps that the franchisees can use, creating new apps that generate new opportunities at the unit level again, becomes a really exciting opportunity for franchisees and the franchisor.
One of the greatest challenges for franchisors is staying up with [technology] and staying current, and having the ability to leverage that technology. It’s constantly evolving, and we really haven’t assigned within our organizations human resources [for this] – mostly it’s been outsourced, and really it’s been fragmented, so there has not been a real concerted effort at the franchisor level to embrace the changes of the technologies, and then being able to leverage it at the unit level.
With Empowerkit, franchisees are going to really embrace this, it’s a very straight forward technology. It’s drag and drop technology, where they can move things around on the page dynamically, adoption will be very quick. From the support standpoint there will be tutorials, videos – Empowerkit supports each of those franchisees to really be able to leverage that site.
The old school thought process has evolved really as a David and Goliath relationship, where the franchisor really had, or has currently, control over everything. I think the change with how technology and now social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) – really being able to allow and empower the franchisee at the unit level to utilize those technologies – at the end of the day, what happens is that it ends up driving the revenue at the unit level, which enhances the franchisor royalty stream, which at the end of the day is what we’re looking for.