Franchise Tutorials

Tutorial 9: Intro to Franchise Operation Manuals

What are operation manuals?

Make a note of this – successful franchisors provide instructions for operating their business in writing.

Operation manuals, while varied among business models, typically emphasize price value, quality, consistency and customer service. As a franchisee, these are the manuals you’ll refer to for running the business.

Often, the franchisor will use outside consultants to ensure that the manuals cover all aspects of operating the franchise, in addition to forms and checklists to ensure that the instructions in the operation manuals are easy to follow. These manuals are meant to be confidential and returned if the franchise relationship comes to an end.

Some other topics typically covered in operation manuals:

  • Overview of the company, its mission statement, vision, and company values
  • Clarity on expectations and roles of the franchisee and the franchisor
  • Site selection and store build-out (pre-opening manual)
  • Operating standards and policies
  • Recipes or service procedures
  • Receiving and rotating stock
  • Opening and closing procedures
  • Detailed job descriptions
  • Hiring, training and leading staff
  • Administration, accounting, and reporting requirements
  • Supplier contacts and purchasing procedures
  • Proper use of the trademarks
  • Local marketing initiatives and advertising templates (advertising manual)
  • Public relations initiatives 

Operational visits

There is typically a clause in the operation manuals stating that the operation manuals form part of the franchisee’s obligations.

This means that during operational visits, the franchisor will look to ensure you’re complying with the operation manuals and not deviating from them.

But with advances in technology and services, operations are always evolving and operation manuals are updated annually to reflect that. There may be occasions where deviations are a good thing. In cases like this, the franchisor will update the manuals.

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