Franchise Success Call

The Six Roles of a Multi-Unit Franchisee

district manager multi-unit franchising people Aug 25, 2021
The Role of a Multi-Unit Franchisee

When you decide to leapfrog to a multi-unit organization, your role as a franchisee evolves. It’s natural: you go from operating one unit, where you are the sole manager and you make all the decisions on your own, to being a leader of a growing organization, with multiple stores, different teams, and particular challenges that will need the design of certain strategies to get solved. But, at the same time, you can’t do all of these on your own.

The transition may be hard for some. In fact, one of the questions that my clients often ask me is: What is my role as a multi-unit franchisee? To help you avoid confusion and know what to delegate and what you should take under your responsibility, take note of the six particular roles that you have to play in your organization.

1. The Developer

When you invest in a franchise, the brand provides you with different processes and operations manual to help you duplicate the brand which I call the Brand Systems, but that’s only 50% of the venture. The other 50% are the Business Management Systems that will help you successfully run the business. They include aspects like people management, finances, cost control, marketing, and cash management. It is your responsibility as a business owner to develop and communicate these systems so that everyone in your company knows what to do and how things have to be done. 

Do you want to learn how to implement those business management systems? Don’t miss my book, The Franchise Fix, where I teach you all about them and how they’ll help you increase your profits. Go to to order it, or find it on Amazon or your local book stores like Barnes & Noble.

2. The Trainer

Training and coaching your team so that everybody follows those disciplined systems is another one of your responsibilities. Ideally, you have to do this since the opening of the first unit so that you’ll be able to easily duplicate the training into the second, third, and fourth unit that you open. 

Focus on the next line of command. Teach them how those systems have to be developed, and give them the needed documentation. This way, they can do a cascading effect of knowledge on the rest of the crew and the implementation can easily happen in your organization. 

3. The Supervisor

You need to proactively do the follow-up on those systems, that way you’ll make sure that they're being executed the right way, and not ignored or forgotten. If at any point in time you notice that something is not being done the way it should, put on the trainer hat again and revise the way the system or the process has to be done. 

In the +30 years of experience that I have had in the franchise industry, I have learned that one of the reasons franchises fail is because of the lack of proper management systems or the people not executing them. Don’t let this happen to you!

4. The Structurer

You must respect the chain of command and the roles and activities that each position plays within your organization. Depending on the number of units that you have, there are different types of command roles: assistant manager, unit manager, district manager, director of operations, and so on, and respecting them will bring clarity and confidence to your staff because they will feel properly supported and know who their direct supervisor is.  Nobody wants to have multiple bosses!

It will also allow you to properly do your job and delegate responsibilities to the right people. Do you know which employees are up to the task? To identify potential managers and prepare them to take the lead, watch this video.

5. The Guardian

There’s one strategic role that you should play as a multi-unit franchisee: be the safeguard of the financial health of your company so that every single one of your locations is a viable business. That means that your stores not only get to break-even but also cover all the fixed and variable costs and can make the profit that you want and deserve. To learn more about the break-even point, read this blog post.

This is a very important role that you have to play, especially if you have growing goals for your organization. 

6. The Inspirer

When you lead an organization, you have to inspire the people that work for you to be great and to do an exceptional job. How you treat them and how you demonstrate your care for them is going to make all the other five roles align in the right direction.

Remember the definition of leadership: to be someone that inspires others to do more and achieve more. Are you that person? If you're not somebody that truly cares about your people, all the other efforts that you make won’t matter because the personnel won’t be engaged in helping you meet the financial and business goals. 

Being a leader who inspires is your overall role as a franchisee, no matter the phase of your organization.

If you have any questions or you would like me to provide you with feedback, you may contact me here or follow The American Franchise Academy on our social media (Facebook, Linked In, YouTube). I’ll be more than happy to help you become a successful franchise owner!


  • Which role do you play best in your organization?
  • Which one do you need to work more on?
  • Do you respect the chain of command in your organization or do you tend to get in the middle of the manager’s job?
  • How do you demonstrate to the people on your team that you care about them?