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Franchising for Restaurants

Opening a bustling restaurant can feel like a massive feat in itself. Between perfecting signature dishes, designing an inviting atmosphere, and managing daily operations, the thought of replicating that entire concept through franchising might seem utterly overwhelming for first-time founders.

However, expanding a proven restaurant brand into new territories through competent franchising hands ownership of prime markets over to invested owners motivated to grow their empire one store at a time. Franchising can drive swift expansion when executed properly. It capitalizes on the knowledge and savvy of its local partners to grow the business while benefiting from the equity already vested in the established brand.

After steering over 200 dining concepts through navigating franchising over the past 20+ years, we at Upside Group Franchise Consulting want to shed light on best practices to transform a single restaurant into a nationally-scaling franchise brand. Here are our top tips:

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Refine Your Operating System First

Before even considering franchising, document your operations inside and out. Franchisees will replicate your concept based on the “operating system” you provide, from standard menus to weekly supply orders. Perfect consistency and profitability are achieved restaurant-by-restaurant beforehand, so the process proves replicable.

Codify Your Know-How

That secret marinating technique that took years to perfect? Is your system for scheduling precisely enough staff for every shift? Capture institutional knowledge into step-by-step manuals franchisees use to maintain brand standards. Making your success blueprint accessible, not instinctual, means anyone can follow it.

Plot Expansion in Phases

Opening everywhere simultaneously leads brands to spread themselves dangerously thin. We advise mapping a gradual state-by-state growth sequence that lets you address operational issues efficiently as they arise. Start regional, then go national once the kinks get ironed out.

Screen Potential Franchisees Rigorously

Instead of jumping at anyone waving a check, seek owners who align with your brand identity and growth objectives. Are multi-unit operators essential for your strategy? Is restaurant experience non-negotiable? Precise franchisee recruitment streamlines success long-term.

Double Down on Support

From initial training to ongoing assistance, franchisees must know you offer a lifeline when issues emerge. Assign dedicated reps, host regular check-ins via software, and share updates through a media portal. A strong support infrastructure sustains franchisees’ motivation and capabilities.

After over twenty years of steering dining brands from lone flagships to nationwide staples, we know what success truly hinges on. Don’t just hope your restaurant franchises do well—let’s talk strategy now.

Ready to replicate restaurant greatness through trusted franchise partners coast-to-coast? Contact Upside Group to speak to a franchise professional and learn about your franchising potential.


What restaurants are best suited for franchising?

Concepts with proven popularity, strong branding, streamlined operations, and unit economics that satisfy investors. We assess readiness honestly during initial consulting.

How much does it cost to franchise a restaurant?

Upfront investments covering real estate, equipment, franchising fees, inventory, etc., often reach $500K-$2M+, with a potential for ongoing royalties.

How can I support my franchisees?

From initial training to IT systems facilitating supply orders to always-available assistance reps, robust infrastructure sustains franchisees’ capabilities and satisfaction long-term as they scale the concept locally.

When’s the right time to consider franchising my restaurant?

Once the operations manual covers all protocols thoroughly, the concept proves profitable at every existing location, and leadership aims to accelerate growth instead of self-funding every opening. Our advisors assess readiness.


Selling Franchises

Selling franchises is easy…selling franchises properly is an entirely different story.

There are many franchise companies who may not agree with the first part of that statement but it’s true; it’s not overly difficult to just sell franchises. The United States and other countries abroad are filled with individuals who want to be entrepreneurs, and there are a lot of people out there who have the money to purchase a franchise.

So, if you are struggling to sell franchises it is likely a case of poor leads, absence of a quality system, or lack of experience of your development team. Or a combination of all three.

But even more damaging to a franchise system is not the lack of sales but selling franchises improperly. Most franchisors who have issues with their franchisees years after they have completed the sales process, never track the issues back to the steps of the sales process—what expectations were set and what screening processes were utilized.

A good development process includes identifying where to advertise to attract prospects and those who would excel in your system. It is essential to identify key traits and transferable skills necessary when choosing quality franchisee partners. And further, have a development system in place that ensures you represent your culture, franchisee role, expected expenses, key staffing, marketing responsibilities, keys to success, training, and timelines.

Selling franchises is not a one-off transaction; you are selling an ongoing relationship. You don’t just move ahead with an interested party when they are “ready to go.” You must set proper expectations, not just to guarantee legal compliance and completion of the sale, but to set up your franchise partners for long-term success. Think of the development process as the first key step in operations success.

Franchisors are feverishly attempting to find the best franchisees to join their system in the hopes they will excel, be successful and profitable and pay royalties for years to come. Creating a network of successful franchisees who pay a reasonable royalty for the benefits they receive allows franchisors to build a dynamic, valuable annuity. So, it is essential that the start of the process be managed and executed with extreme thoughtfulness, skill and care.

If you want to attract, sell and launch franchisees properly into your franchise system and need guidance, USG can assist you in developing the key steps and procedures and train your staff in executing properly. USG also offers complete sales outsourcing where our experienced staff takes potential prospects from interest, through screening, due diligence, legal documentation release and preparation, finishing in signing documents and collecting franchise fees.

Whether you manage your franchise development in-house or outsource all or parts of the process, it is important to understand the dynamic effect the development process will have on your entire franchise system.

Speak to a Franchise Professional

Our team will determine if your brand is a viable franchise, what is required to reach your goals and can answer your questions.

Please wait...