Ten Questions To Ask At A Franchise Discovery Event


A discovery event is a crucial component in any franchise recruitment process. Whether it be in person or, now more commonly since the pandemic, online and whether it be a day or weekend long event, the discovery event allows the franchisor to showcase their brand and their franchise package and gives the prospective investor the opportunity to dig deeper into the company and business model. It also affords both parties the opportunity to suss each other out and to establish if they could be a good fit for each other.

As a would-be franchisee attending a discovery event, the more preparation and research that you are able to do before the event, the more that you are likely to get out of the experience. Here’s ten questions that you shouldn’t leave without finding out the answer to:

How do you stand up against the competition?

Most, if not all, franchisors will have competitors in their marketplace and many prospective franchisees will be weighing up one parent brand against another in the decision making process. You need to be finding out not just how their franchise packages compare but also how the brand is staying ahead of the game when it comes to its end product or service. A good franchise brand won’t be standing still and resting on their laurels but will be looking to innovate and develop, providing their franchisees with new opportunities to leverage within their businesses.

What support do you provide to your franchisees?

The franchise relationship is a long term one. Aside from the initial set up, onboarding and training, find out what support structure is in place for franchisees as well as the continued opportunities for learning and development. Every brand will have different systems in place and it’s important to join a team that will offer you the level of support that you’re looking for.

How long will it take for the franchise to be profitable?

Buying a franchise is a significant investment. Make sure that you fully understand the financial information provided by the franchisor and that you have had adequate opportunity to ask as many questions as you need to about the finances of the business. If you don’t feel confident that the franchisor is being transparent in their answers or that the sums don’t add up then that should be a signal to walk away.

What are the common characteristics of your most successful franchisees?

A franchisor will have a set of key characteristics that make a would-be franchisee a good fit for their brand and that set them up for the best possible chance of success. If that description doesn’t sound like you, if you don’t possess the required skill set, or the identified strengths aren’t your best traits or talents then it’s probably time to explore other opportunities. Buying a franchise means carrying out an honest evaluation of your own skills and strengths as well as those of the franchisor.

What options would there be for me to expand my franchise?

An ambitious business owner will want to know what the possibilities are in terms of business growth. If all goes well, is there the ability to expand territory areas or take on more than one franchise? Does the franchisor own and operate any other franchise brands that are available to franchisees?

What are the future plans for the franchise brand?

It’s important to find out what the franchisor’s long term plans for the business are – after all, if you become a franchisee you become part of that business journey. Are any planned changes in structure or direction going to impact you, and are they changes that you would feel invested in as part of the network?

Have you ever terminated an agreement with a franchisee?

It’s great to hear franchisee success stories, but what is also incredibly telling is the situations where things have not worked out. All franchisors will have, to one extent or another, experienced conflict in relationships with franchisees, had to close locations or part ways with members of their franchise network. What is important is why the franchisor feels those difficulties arose, how they were addressed and the learning from those experiences.

What strategies did you put in place to support franchisees during the global pandemic?

The biggest test for any team is what happens when the chips are down. When the pandemic hit, franchisors were forced to react quickly, to innovate and to put systems and procedures in place to protect and support their franchisees and their businesses. Asking questions about how the franchise brand navigated the pandemic should give you a good understanding of the relationship between franchisor and franchisee, as well as an indication as to how the business would fare if a similar crisis arose.

What happens if/when I want to exit the franchise agreement?

It might seem strange to be talking about exiting a franchise when you haven’t even entered it yet, but it’s important to have a thorough understanding of how the exit strategy works and the terms and restrictions contained within the franchise agreement.

Can I speak to some franchisees?

If the answer to this last question is no, you should think about leaving the room immediately. A good franchisor will recognise that having the ability to have some open conversations with existing franchisees is a crucial part of a would-be franchisee’s investigation into a brand. It’s an opportunity to find out what owning and running the franchise on a day-to-day basis is really like, as well as digging deeper into the culture of the network.

The questions above are certainly not exhaustive, but should form part of the honest and open discussions between both parties to help you to feel confident about taking the next steps towards becoming a franchise business owner.



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