Your business is growing so well that you are able to add a second or maybe even a third location. It’s a happy time until you hear from a long-time customer who says “Your new place is nothing like your original location!”
What’s different? Maybe it’s the service. Maybe it’s the food or product. Maybe it’s the overall experience! Regardless of how far apart two locations are between each other, geographically or in age, customers are going to expect the same experience at both.
It’s that type of consistency that made companies like McDonald’s, Subway, and Starbucks mega-brands. Enforcing the same service and operational standards at all of your locations will help you create consistency for your small business like the big guys do. Here are three tips to do that:
- Enforce Brand Standards — When you walk into a Chipotle you’re going to have the same look and feel whether you are in San Antonio or Manhattan. Heck, when I travel a lot and happen to go to multiple Chipotle locations on the same trip I almost have to look out the window to figure out where I am. The logo, the napkins, the conveyor line of food, etc. all look the same. This consistency provides comfort to the customers and the employees alike.
- Implement Service Standards — Speaking of employees they also find comfort in knowing exactly what is expected of them. Actually working with the front lines to develop the same service standards for every location not only creates a consistent customer experience but also buy-in within your Culture.
- Align Strategy — While there needs to be one strategy for the entire business it can include plans for each location as well. While brand and service standards need to be adhered to at each branch, store, or restaurant, there may very well be some nuances that need to be a little different. For example, the Chase bank in Lake Tahoe looks a lot different than the one in Long Beach, CA because of the community. Plus, allowing the manager of the location to have some logical wiggle room for his or her own strategy creates a mini-CEO mentality.
Keeping in mind the need for Brand, Culture, and Strategy consistency among multiple locations allows your business to keep moving upward through the stages of growth.