Franchisee FAQs

If you have a question about the Operations Manual, please contact Penny Hopkinson on +44 (0)1926 641 402 or send an email ManualW@aol.com. We will aim to answer your questions within 24 hours.

When assessing the suitability and quality of a preferred franchise, an intending Franchisee would be well-advised to undertake some early research, as part of Due Diligence, to substantiate how much importance is placed by the Franchisor on providing their franchisees with fully-documented quality standards and operating procedures. For, it is the Operations Manual that reinforces the terms and conditions of the Franchise Agreement, provides the franchisee with information about the working methods and practices, and sets out the way in which the business must be operated.

As a minimum, it must set quality standards and provide a cohesive framework to ensure uniformity and conformity across the Franchise Network; at its most refined, the Operations Manual becomes an extremely powerful management tool for assuring quality. It is also an invaluable method for training the Franchisee and his staff at arm’s length – particularly where the Franchise Network extends overseas.

Why do I need an Operations Manual?

You need an Operations Manual to help you fulfil your obligations under the terms and conditions of the Franchise Agreement. The Franchise Agreement sets out your contractual obligations; a good Operations Manual will document – in operational detail – precisely how the Franchisor expects you to fulfil those obligations.

How will an Operations Manual benefit my Franchise ?

A well-documented Operations Manual will help you develop your profit potential through:

  • More effective and efficient management
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Forging stronger links between you, your Franchisor and your customers

When will I see a copy of the Operations Manual ?

Although not obliged to do so, you should ask the Franchisor to show you a copy of the Manual when you have signed the Intending Franchisee Confidentiality Agreement. However, at this stage, you may not be able look at the Manual in depth, nor will you be allowed to take it away with you.

Traditionally, franchisors provide franchisees with a copy of the Operations Manual during Initial  Training. Sometimes, however, the Manual is provided to the franchisee on signing the Franchise Agreement. Because it is an obligation under the terms of the Franchise Agreement for the Franchisor to provide each franchisee with a up-to-date copy on loan – on or before Initial Training – failure to do so could put the Franchisor in breach of the Contract technically.

What does the Operations Manual contain?

The Operations Manual should contain all documentation used in the operation and management of the Franchise. Cross references should be made to, for example, formwork; the EPOS manual, if applicable; manufacturers’ instructions for the safe operation and maintenance of equipment; Approved Supplier Lists – and their location. These may be put on an Intranet, kept as independent instructions but retained within the Operations Manual; or they could be additional manuals originated by a parent Company but not specifically produced by a Franchise Division. An example of this could be a Health & Safety Manual or Employee Handbook.

Here, it is worth noting that the Franchise Agreement may refer to the Operating, Operations, Operational Manual or, simply, The Manual. For consistency, the title of the manual should reflect the wording used throughout the Agreement.

What should I be looking for?

An Operations Manual that is fit for purpose must be:

  • Up to date
  • Detailed
  • Relevant
  • Easy to read
  • Easy to understand
  • Easy to navigate

Numerous references to the Operations Manual are made in the Franchise Agreement so, to a large extent, the content of the Manual should mirror the obligations set out in the Franchise Agreement – ie. establishing the business; day-to-day operating requirements; and on-going development of the business.

The Operations Manual of a well-established Franchisor – or well-established company that has decided to franchise all or part of its business – is likely to be substantial, documenting the Franchisor’s Know How and Business System in operational detail. By operational detail we mean explaining precisely how a requirement must be carried out, not merely noted as part of a checklist. Checklists are very useful but the detail that lies behind them must also be documented to ensure conformity to a given specification is followed by all franchisees in the Network.

For a newly franchised business, it is acceptable to develop the Operations Manual gradually as new systems are developed and procedures are improved through operational experience. Usually, the Franchise is piloted over 12 to 18 months, so the manual may be developed as a Pilot Edition. Once the Franchisor is satisfied that the systems and procedures work in practice, rather than theory, then the Pilot Edition can be amended and published as a full First Edition.

In what format will I receive the Operations Manual?

These days, you are just as likely to be given the Manual in electronic format as in a hard copy version presented a ring binder. Depending on the type of business operated by the Franchisor, and the type of franchisees, you could find the Manual on a CD-ROM with supporting – or up to the minute – information available on the Franchisor’s Intranet – i.e. a secure, password protected, section of their website.