By Smart Emmanuel
I was on a business trip to a location known as Aba in Abia State, South Eastern Nigeria. I decided to walk into a popular restaurant, a once very important and a major player in the fast food industry in the country. I ordered chicken and jollof rice, to my greatest surprise, the chicken was half cooked, blood was practically dripping from it. I almost puked, I immediately paid for the food, carried my bags and I walked away without a word. The restaurant used to be the talk of the town, a well-loved brand across the length and breadth of the country,a hangout destination for lovers and intending ones. Suddenly, the fast food chain is now a brand many Nigerians are avoiding like disease . How did this even happen, where did they get it all wrong that many hitherto customers now seek alternatives to the once beautiful bride? The answer is simple, wrong FRANCHISING!
In as much as franchising is very good because it gives the brand necessary spread and thereby also increasing the revenue of the brand owner, it is also a fast way to death for a brand if it is not properly done.
This brand was known for quality when they started, I can tell you for free as a brand analyst that they got their franchising wrong, hence, they plummeted from being TOP OF THE MIND brand to the bottom strip in the fast food business in Nigeria. The major reason for the seemingly downfall of big brands is indiscriminate award of franchise to every interested party just because they need to expand without taking into consideration if the franchisee is ready to uphold the integrity and culture that took them years to build.
It takes years to build brand INTEGRITY and it takes just a MINUTE to destroy it. Brand owners must be careful who they give the right to use their name. I will advise that if you cannot supervise nor have some element of control in the business of the person taking your franchise, please don’t authorise it. An African proverb says “A good name is better than riches” that is why Africans guard their names jealously so as to avoid their family names from being smeared. As a recognised brand or a growing one, don’t ever be in a rush to expand if you have not build the necessary capacities or man power to have control of such expansion. The companies or individual who purchase your brand name are typical capitalists who are interested in profits than carrying on with your values or culture that took you years to build.
Finally, nothing is wrong with issuing franchise to others, it must be properly done or your brand will be destroyed within no time. It is better to have a single branch and maintain your standards than to have “watered-down” branches that will lead to brand destruction.