Supporting the Franchisor Sales Process with Map Visualizations

Franchise businesses are generally intimately connected to geography. McDonald’s fast food restaurants, one of the world’s most successful franchise businesses, consider several location-related factors when contemplating the construction of a brand new store. Business mapping software provides tools that enable the quick and easy construction of franchise territories.

Large, small, urban, and rural franchise organizations require tools supporting franchise territory creation. These franchisee territories are often based on ZIP code alignment layers with roughly equal population levels.

Have it Your Way

McDonald’s franchise planners look at the overall population of an urban area or significant crossroads. Using MapBusinessOnline, business planners analyzing a population supporting a central restaurant could consider one or more ZIP codes, a metropolitan area containing several cities, or a county as a franchise operating area. Population data gathered using various mapping tools are totaled to approximate areas within a reasonable driving distance, perhaps a 30-minute driving time.

Fast food franchises such as McDonald’s also consider the total number of retail businesses in an area. These franchise restaurant chains are seeking shopping customers. Shopping centers and retail malls are particularly important to McDonald’s new store selection process.

In MapBusinessOnline, plotting points of possible store placements can quickly provide a map visualization of the most promising areas based on the above location requirements.

Gather ZIP CodesZip code maps are the most popular map alignment layer. Using MapBusinessOnline polygon draw tools, critical area ZIP codes can be gathered into labeled areas of interest (territories) for demographic analysis.

Demographic Analysis – Population, income levels, ethnicities, and critical census-based categories are included in  MapBusinessOnline for analysis.

Download Business Listings – Business listings data can be searched by industry code or business name to identify retail malls and large retailers that often share critical real estate presence with McDonald’s and other significant franchisors.

Color-code Major Retailers – Mall anchor stores are strong indicators of an area’s franchise viability. Symbolize and color-code those most critical anchor stores, like Walmart, Home Depot, or REI, for fast visual identification.

Calculate Driving Distance/Time – Population centers in urban areas can be used to rough calculate driving times to stores and service centers. Concentric circle maps and driving time windows can display driving time and distance options in 15-minute increments.

With business mapping software tools, franchisor marketers can create informative map visualizations displaying the core elements required to ensure a successful franchise business launch.

A franchisor business creates franchise territories from ZIP codes in the Lancaster, PA, area.

And for the Not so Famous

For less famous franchise businesses in more rural areas, online mapping software can be even more helpful in developing the franchisee business model.

Demographic categories are often telling in predicting franchise potential, especially for a consumer product or service. Population, just like at McDonald’s, is a standard metric applied. But the Census Bureau provides various options for franchisors to use in completing their sales pitch.

Household income by targeted segments is often applied. Particular population sectors are often associated with specific product price points – lower incomes being more interested and more frequent buyers of pizza and Slurpees. Higher-income densities are more likely to generate home sales and financial investments. You know, ‘Let them eat cake,’ vs. ‘Have Jenson bring the car around.’

Another Census demographic category worth exploring is Consumer Expenditure by subject group. Consumer Expenditure paired with age or ethnic segment can be very powerful for market estimations—for example, girls under the age of 12 years, coupled with expenditure data on specific categories, such as:

  • General Spend on Girls Ages 2 to 15 per Household
  • Food per Household
  • Cosmetic products per Household

Most rural franchise businesses using population or related demographic categories as a franchise opportunity metric will create franchise territories that use demography as one or more elements of a viable franchisee area. Each franchise territory will be marketed to franchisee purchasers.

Business mapping software and franchise territory mapping support and inform the franchisee’s investment decision. Territory maps are beneficial to the franchise investment process in these keys ways:

  • Location Awareness – Franchise territory maps visually represent a franchise area of interest. Specific ZIP codes and city areas help potential investors understand the scope of the franchise opportunity.
  • Demographic Awareness – Franchise territory maps sync the area of interest with end-user sales potential and store or service accessibility.
  • Collaborative Interactions – Franchise territory maps set up a collaborative relationship between seller and buyer. Maps tend to engender trust.
  • Transactional Documentation – Franchise territory maps serve as contractual records of the franchisee investment referencing area of operation, sales potential, relevant resource locations, and, where appropriate, customer lists.

Through the power of optimized map visualizations, MapBusinessOnline helps sell franchises. It serves to both grease the wheels and seal the deal, encouraging a collaborative relationship between franchisor and investor.

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About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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