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Top 3 Skills a Franchise Manager Must Have 

leadership multi-unit franchising people Jul 09, 2024
Franchise Manager Skills


If you only have one unit, you, as a franchisee, are more than likely running that unit. But as you
grow into a multi-unit franchise organization and open more stores, you'll have to hire unit managers to lead each unit and delegate the responsibility of managing those locations to them. 

It's not a minor role. These could be $500,000 to $1.5 million businesses, and what these men and women do determines whether that unit will be profitable and produce the expected business and financial results. All of this, based on their knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience.

  • That is why the unit manager position is critical in a multi-unit franchise organization. 

I'm sure you don't want to leave such a relevant role to luck. So keep reading to discover how you can make this leader act to its full potential!


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These leaders need to master three skills to be successful and achieve the goals you expect and want out of your business. 

Compare these against your existing managers and see how good they are at each one. If you find opportunities along the way, spend the time and effort to give those managers what they need so they can successfully run your franchise business


1. Operations Mastery 

Franchise Unit Managers need to be experts in the brand you invested in and know all of the procedures, processes, and systems they must implement every day to be successful.

This is important because it's how the brand will be replicated to bring revenue. Also, you'll be able to maintain consistency in quality and service, which is essential for customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

What does that look like in the business? 

  • Executing Standard Procedures: They know the brand standards and apply them to every aspect of the business, from product preparation to customer service. They also are able to train their teams to execute those standards to the best of their abilities every day. 
  • Problem-Solving: Even though the brand runs on processes and procedures and offers clear directions on execution, errors may happen. The unit managers are ready to address any operational issue quickly to prevent disruptions and maintain smooth operations. This key skill includes guiding the employees so they, too, can find the best solutions to their problems
  • Quality Control: It is present in all the store's processes and procedures. To ensure this, they regularly inspect the operations and the unit with a trained eye to observe, coach, and give the employees feedback on how to improve their execution and do a great job following the brand standards. 

Keep learning: The 4 Roles of a Franchise Unit Manager


2. Business Management Acumen 

Through our unit managers' training, I have noticed that many managers, if not all, are very good at day-to-day operations, which is the first skill we just reviewed. They understand the brand and how to run it day in and day out.

However, very few of them possess strong business management acumen. That means understanding how to manage the business and produce positive results to maintain the franchise's financial health

A unit manager with this knowledge understands the business's financials and makes data-driven decisions that positively impact the bottom line. What does this look like in the operation? 

  • Budgeting and Forecasting: These leaders can create and manage budgets, forecast sales, and plan for future growth. 
  • Cost Management: They understand the break-even point, how to control the controllable expenses of the unit, and what to do about the non-controllables. They also can identify areas to reduce costs without compromising quality or service, such as negotiating with suppliers or optimizing labor costs
  • Financial Analysis: They regularly review financial reports to identify trends, track performance, and make informed decisions. 

Not only that. Successful unit managers are able to train, coach, and guide the team so that the financial result can be positive.

Mini Tip: A Strategic Way to Analyze Your Financial Statements


3. Inspiring Leadership 

The third skill that a unit manager must have is inspiring leadership. Think about it! Everything they do is through people; therefore, they need to be great at managing people

What does this look like?

  • Team Motivation: They encourage team members to achieve their best, recognizing and rewarding good performance. 
  • Conflict Resolution: By hearing people and having difficult conversations, they can handle conflicts constructively and maintain a harmonious work environment. They also excel at uniting the team into a joint business cause. 
  • Development and Mentorship: Leadership is not just about managing tasks but also about developing people. These leaders are able to identify the rising stars who have potential within the team, as well as provide ongoing training and opportunities to help them be the best versions of themselves and grow in their roles


As you can see, having unit managers with these three skills is critical to ensuring your franchise's overall health and growth. If they possess these abilities, they will be able to lead your units and produce the results you want and deserve. 

Maybe they don't have all of them, but the good news is that these skills can be developed and strengthened. But it is up to you, as a business owner or franchisee, to provide them with the knowledge, tools, and training they need.

  • Don't worry, you are not alone. The American Franchise Academy is an ally in your franchise journey

We have developed an excellent training program for your unit managers, in which we teach them the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to be exceptional at their jobs. To learn more about our elite management training and the outcomes you can expect, click on the banner below.

Explore our MANAGE program here



  • Do your current unit managers possess this set of skills?
  • Is their business and financial understanding enough to help your franchise thrive?
  • How are the work environment and team performance in each of your units?
  • How can you elevate your unit leaders so they become excellent at their jobs?