Investing in the proper infrastructure to grow smart: strategically placing the pieces where they belong, providing necessary tools and support is a winning combination for both franchisee and franchisor.

Author:Sidoti, Larry

Emerging brands typically prioritize unit growth as the catalyst to establishing a dominant brand, and a common vehicle for rapid growth is the franchise model. A successful franchise concept should have an attractive unit economic model coupled with the right formula of people, real estate and product mix to ensure continued and sustainable growth. Often overlooked but equally important is delivering a well refined and high performance support structure. Developing a highly skilled infrastructure is a fundamental key component in growing smart. The following strategies are proving successful in helping our company, Paris Baguette, establish the same recognition and brand loyalty in the U.S. that the brand has enjoyed for decades throughout Asia.

The critical path to developing an enduring brand begins with an infrastructure designed to emulate at every level those characteristics and practices that made the brand desirable. Investing in people and infrastructure is insurance against brand dilution which occurs as brands introduce new franchisees to the system. When it comes to growing smart, start with the basics: develop and execute a strong training program, gain complete command over the supply chain, employ highly skilled personnel, and establish a highly functional, top performing support center.

Our support centers provide franchisees with regional logistical, distribution, training, marketing and operational support. Paris Baguette strategically placed regional support centers in key development markets giving us the ability to provide localized support to our franchisees. The combination of support and accessibility not only demonstrates the significant financial investment and human capital commitment of the franchisor, but provides the franchise system with immediate and localized support, as well as a significant competitive advantage.

Naturally a company's primary goal is to create a strong and endearing brand. The most common route is through aggressive and responsible expansion. The operative word is "responsible," meaning growth within your support capacity. In other words, it is dangerous to grow ahead...

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