Congratulations on your latest franchise expansion. By the way, how are you going to handle that salmonella outbreak that sickened 100 patrons at one of your franchisee’s locations?
There are a lot of moving parts to a franchise network: multiple managers, lots of employees, and lots of locations. If you are a multi-state franchisor, there are also lots of varying statutes that might affect your franchise system. These are reasons you need a franchise public relations agency like Ripley PR to help groom your message and coach your franchisees in the event a crisis arises. Here are three real-world scenarios you definitely don’t want to handle by yourself. Whatever your business, these examples are representative of challenges all franchise brands can face.
- Bad product: One of the worst franchise food poisoning incidents occurred in 1993 when undercooked burgers sickened 700 people who ate at Jack in the Box locations in four Western states. Four children died and nearly 200 others suffered permanent physical harm. Franchise locations operate under separate individual management, but potential customers will equate one restaurant with the entire franchise. When lots of people get sick, the media comes calling. Do you have a plan for that? Do your franchisees know what it is?
- Bad actors: Franchisees enjoy some level of independence, but the actions of a single manager or employee can put an entire franchise system in a bad light. There was the Arby’s manager who cut off part of his thumb while slicing lettuce and failed to throw out the produce. Naturally, a customer found the slice of skin in a sandwich and sued the company. And, naturally, media leapt on the story.
- Criminals: If one of your franchisee’s employees commits a crime, especially a homicide or assault on a child, it can taint your entire brand. Social media can increase the fallout and amplify bad optics. Do you have a PR team in place to handle media inquiries or the deluge of negative complaints on social media or review sites?
- Positive press: Ripley PR won’t just ride to the rescue and help roll out your crisis plan when something negative occurs. We can also help disseminate good news about franchise expansion, community volunteering and your franchise milestones. Our proprietary list of media contacts allows us to tailor your franchise news to a local level. This will build your brand and loyalty.
Whether you operate a home service franchise or food franchise, the PR principle is the same: Your franchise needs a plan in place to handle the media, help you communicate internally, and get ahead of the headlines when necessary.
Contact Ripley PR today for more information on how our proven crisis response and franchise PR expertise can work for you.