Acknowledge differences and learn from them.


Acknowledge differences and learn from them.

Back in August 2007, I landed at the airport in New York City and was excited about the exciting training that was about to take place.

I was told that I would be receiving a variety of training in the United States, the home of franchising and the business model that I have been involved in since I was 25 years old. I was told that three companies in various industries would be willing to accept me for a study tour. The longest training program was in Nashville, Tennessee,

The longest-term training program was in Nashville, Tennessee, for an online auction business franchise.

In Japan, Yahoo auctions were famous, but in the U.S., e-bay was in its heyday,

The training program made me realize that my way of thinking was very different from the franchise business that I had been doing in Japan for nearly 20 years at that time.

The way of thinking was as different as baseball and baseball.

Development work and SV work are very important in the functioning of a franchise.

I would like to describe my experiences in these two areas.

About franchise development

At the time, franchisee development in Japan was usually done by opening a store at a franchise show or holding a seminar.

There were no web-based matching websites connecting headquarters and franchisees as there are today.

They would attract customers to seminars on their own and solicit development, or they would propose seminar plans at banks, associations of commerce and industry, and other organizations, and hold seminars to attract interested companies.

I think that was the only mechanism for such development.

My experience at the U.S. headquarters was that a development seminar was being planned for a certain headquarters where I was training, and I was asked to participate for the purpose of studying.

I did as I was told and went to the president's office of that headquarters.

I thought I was going to go with the president to some venue where prospective franchisees were gathered, but it was just the president and me in the president's office.

We started both of our hours with a telephone seminar (it's a telephone conference).

The seminar is being held using a telephone audio conferencing system.

The person in charge told me that there are nearly 100 participants from all over the United States.

Materials are sent by e-mail in advance.

The president speaks for about an hour based on the materials, takes questions, and ends the seminar.

A sales representative follows up with a phone call later.

This was an eye-opener for me at the time, when I was developing products by gathering participants in one place for a seminar.

Nowadays, web conferencing has become commonplace with the Corona disaster, and online conferencing is used for seminars in the form of webinars.

In the U.S., this has been the norm for 10 or 15 years.

The large size of the country requires a system for sales and marketing.

It is easy to understand the rational American franchise know-how.

☆About Supervising

In Japanese franchising, which I have been exposed to since I was 25 years old

Headquarters is at the top and franchisees are at the bottom. 

This is a common practice in franchising.

Even if the contract says that the headquarters and the franchisee are independent management entities and both parties are responsible for the management,

The headquarter is responsible for the management of the franchisee.

The headquarter will be looking to see if the franchisee is running the business according to the rules and regulations.

If it is a restaurant, recipes and tastes are checked. Service checks and sales promotion checks.

Checks to see if the restaurant is following the head office's manuals.

There are as many as 300 check items on the SV checklist, and the number of check items determines how well the head office's SV system works.

SVs are checked.

The items checked are to be improved by the next month.

That is the job of the member store.

Because that is the only function, the head office is above and the merchant is below.

In the U.S., it was like this.

Headquarters and franchisees are comrades who share the role of franchise functions.

They are just in different positions.

A franchise chain has the necessary functions.

They are comrades who share those roles.

So, if we follow that line of thinking

The SV's job is to manage the store, and the franchisee is the main operator of the store.

The main SV duties are to absorb interesting know-how, store management systems, sales promotions, and various wonderful know-how implemented in the stores, such as how to do this and how the customers responded.

Certainly, when we were developing San Marc, Gyukaku, and other restaurants, we often found that great know-how was generated at franchised restaurants rather than directly managed restaurants. This is not surprising, since the large number of stores means a large number of repetitions of hypothesis testing, but Japanese headquarters did not have the concept of "collective genius," in which even individual employees, though ordinary, collectively exchange their know-how.

The managers and store managers of the member stores are not necessarily desperate, as their livelihood depends on the sales of their stores, and they think, sweat, and discuss with their employees until they are bald, creating new know-how.

The small size of the organization allows for a rapid cycle of tentative planning and verification.

In the U.S., I learned that this is the main SV work.

This concept of SV, which is based on the division of roles among functions, was very new to me, as I had never thought of it that way.

Since I saw how it should be, I have been introducing and spreading this concept to the franchise headquarters that we support in Japan.

We will do what is necessary for a major change in franchising in Japan.

It would be a great pleasure for me if Assentia Holdings could perform such a function.

It has been two years.

My own two years of isolation in Japan, which came with Covid 19.

I think it is time for me to get out (laughs).

Assentia Holdings Inc