12 things your operations manual must include

An operation manual: it’s the business blueprint that gives your franchisees processes and procedures for running their franchise and at its best it covers the intellectual property of the franchise system, sets out what operational excellence looks like, and outlines performance parameters.

The format (digital or print) and layout can be debated but simplicity and ease of use are important considerations. An operations manual only has value when it’s being used, so short lists, bullet points, pictures and flowcharts can make this bible to the business a more appealing read.

12 operations manual must-haves

Typically a manual will include the following:

1. General information about the franchisor business.

2. The relationship with the franchisee, and expectations of meetings, conferences, performance requirements, non-alignment, expansion, renewal and support.

3. Details about the key staff roles in the franchise – job descriptions, uniform requirements, recruitment procedures, training and performance-management criteria.

4. Sales processes, marketing programs, trademark use, customer loyalty, public relations and social-media strategies.

5. Details of products and services, and approved suppliers.

6. Setting-up the franchise: the branding, equipment, furniture requirements, and store hours and procedures.

7. Information about any machinery to be used, and safe work practices.

8. Standards or goals for customer service, and complaints procedures.

9. Branding requirements: stationery, signs, posters, advertisements.

10. Policies and procedures (equal opportunity, workplace conduct, dispute resolution and employment).

11. Health and safety information.

12. Business planning, budgets, forecasts and cashflow.

Regularly updating the content, and maybe the layout of the manual, should be on the franchisor’s to-do list to ensure it remains relevant and of optimum use to the franchisee.