Creating and Maintaining Effective Operational Routines for Franchise Field Teams

Play Video

In this episode, we dive into how operators can maximize their field teams’ effectiveness using technology. The franchise model provides a playbook but often locations struggle to follow that playbook accurately and leadership struggles to track who is following the playbook. Join Doug Rixmann, Co-Founder & CEO at OwlOps, as we discuss how franchisees and multi-location operators can leverage data and analytics to point their field teams to areas of concern and track their execution to drive operational performance.

How Data Visibility Elevates Field Team Execution 

Doug’s journey, like many, began behind the counter. He spent his formative years working in his family’s Tim Hortons franchises, getting his hands dirty in every aspect of the QSR space. That hands-on experience gave him a deep understanding of the day-to-day—and the operational hurdles—that field teams face.

As Doug shared, “The checklists historically have been paper…they file it in the office, never to be seen again.” Anyone who has grappled with paper checklists, scattered text messages, and the inevitable whiteboard chaos knows this scenario all too well. These methods often result in a limited, delayed snapshot of what’s really happening across multi-location businesses. This lack of real-time visibility makes it incredibly difficult to ensure your brand standards and operational routines are being met day in and day out.

Why Traditional Field Team Management Falls Short

As Doug pointed out during the episode, the reliance on fragmented communication channels for field teams often leads to a breakdown in accountability and creates silos of information. Important updates can get buried under unrelated messages, tasks might be forgotten or overlooked, and managers are left with an incomplete and often inaccurate picture of what’s happening across their locations. While communication mediums like text messaging and Slack offer convenience, they lack the structure and tracking mechanisms necessary to ensure that important operational tasks are being executed consistently and effectively.

These communication methods often fail to provide the transparency and control required for effective multi-location management. Without a centralized system for assigning, monitoring, and verifying the completion of tasks, it becomes exceedingly difficult to maintain brand consistency. As well as identify potential issues proactively, and hold teams accountable for adhering to established operational procedures. This lack of visibility and accountability ultimately hinders scalability and makes it challenging to replicate success across a geographically dispersed franchise network. Imagine trying to manage repairs, track inventory, or ensure food safety standards are being met across dozens of locations using nothing but emails, spreadsheets, and the occasional phone call—it’s a recipe for errors, inconsistencies, and missed opportunities.

Without the ability to track adherence to operational routines, identify deviations from brand standards, and analyze performance trends across multi-location businesses, it becomes nearly impossible to achieve the level of consistency and efficiency that multi-unit restaurant brands strive for. To unlock true operational efficiency and drive consistent results, a more robust and data-driven approach is needed.

To Build or to Buy? 

Often, when operators finally realize the need for data, they often consider a DIY approach to data analytics. Building a custom solution internally can be tempting, especially for those with in-house technical resources who want complete control over their data environment. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the complexities and costs associated with such an undertaking. Developing a robust analytics platform from the ground up is a resource-intensive process that often demands significant financial investment, specialized technical expertise, and ongoing maintenance.

While powerful business intelligence (BI) tools are readily available, adapting these platforms to meet the specific needs of a multi-location business is rarely straightforward. Implementation often requires a deep understanding of both the technology and the intricacies of restaurant operations. This can lead to additional hiring needs as businesses seek out individuals with the right blend of technical and industry-specific knowledge. Furthermore, even if they have the in-house talent to get a BI tool up and running, they’ll need to dedicate ongoing resources to ensure it evolves alongside the business, incorporating new data sources and adapting to changing analytical needs.

Partnering with an established solution provider like FDS Reporting offers a compelling alternative. By leveraging a purpose-built platform, operators can avoid the time, expense, and potential pitfalls of building a system in-house. FDS provides a solution that’s designed specifically for multi-location restaurants, enabling businesses to start gleaning actionable insights from their data without delay.

How Analytics Improves Your Tech Stack

Instead of cobbling together data from siloed systems and deciphering spreadsheets, imagine having all operational data flowing seamlessly into a centralized hub. With FDS, any multi-location business can connect the dots between their POS system, labor management software, inventory tracking, customer feedback channels, and more. This unified view gives unprecedented, real-time visibility into the heart of operations, empowering data-driven decisions that impact the bottom line.

No more relying on gut feelings or anecdotal evidence. With FDS, businesses from QSR restaurants to car washes:

  • Easily visualize KPIs like food cost, labor cost, member cost, sales trends, and customer satisfaction across all locations.
  • Uncover hidden patterns in data that reveal inefficiencies, bottlenecks, or areas for improvement—whether it’s identifying peak ordering times, member conversion, or opportunities to optimize staffing levels.
  • Track the impact of new technology implementations, product changes, or operational adjustments with concrete data, proving the value of decisions to stakeholders.
  • Spot emerging trends, customer preferences, and competitive shifts in real-time, enabling to adapt quickly and maintain a competitive edge.

Analytics transforms data from a jumble of numbers into a strategic asset. It empowers to move beyond guesswork and make informed decisions that optimize operations, boost profitability, and elevate the customer experience.

FDS provides robust analytics that have helped multi-location businesses achieve remarkable results: on average, 5 new openings per year, a 6% increase in profitability, and 15+ hours saved weekly.