Top 10 American Franchises

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Why Telling Your Story Adds Depth to Your Franchise Training


If you were creating a historical overview training program for Apple, would you forget to mention Steve Jobs? If you were designing training for Walmart sales associates, would you forget to mention Sam Walton – the visionary company founder? And if you were training personnel to work at Disney theme parks, would you leave out Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse . . . or Walt himself?


Of course not. Their stories are part of the DNA that lives on in the companies they founded. 


But when franchises design training programs for their franchise owners and the people who work for them, they often forget to explain the stories about how they got started. They focus on skills alone, not on their rich history. And that is a mistake.


And make no mistake about it. Nearly every franchise on the landscape was started with someone with an inspiring story. 


Do you know these?

  • McDonald’s The famous Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, was the son of immigrants. He spent the early decades of his career selling drink-mixing machines to restaurants. When he discovered a restaurant in California owned by Maurice and Richard McDonald, he saw the potential of preparing food the way they did – on assembly lines and delivered directly to patrons. He adapted the concept to more restaurants, then franchised them. Growth was explosive and the rest, as they say, is history. 


  • Firehouse Subs. Founders Chris and Robin Sorensen were firefighters, just like their father. The decor of Firehouse Subs locations is inspired by fire stations and include firefighting equipment and memorabilia. And some of the subs, like the Hook & Ladder, are named to reflect a firefighting culture. Today there are more than 1,170 Firehouse Subs locations in 45 states and Puerto Rico.


  • H&R Block. This ultra-successful tax prep business was started by two brothers named Henry and Richard Bloch, who changed the spelling of their family name when they decided to franchise their mom-and-pop accounting office and roll it out nationwide. At their peak, the company had more than 10,000 locations across North America. 


Trumpet the Inspiring Story of Your Franchise Too


And what about your franchise’s story? Who was your founder, for example, and what prompted him or her to start the firm? Every company, including yours, has a story. It was started with a purpose, it has a reason for being, and it has a background that should be told. 


Was your painting franchise started by a professional painter with a passion for quality? Or was your scoop shop launched by someone who brought dessert secrets from the Old Country? Don’t hide stories like those, they are the lifeblood of your franchise’s success.


If you take even a little time to talk about your founders and your history when training new franchise owners and employees, your training immediately improves, for some very practical reasons.


  • Trainees learn important lessons about company values and priorities. The lessons people learn are more than nice to know, and people will learn to make practical decisions that resonate with company values and ethics. 


  • Employees immediately become a team. They’re no longer people who just show up and start working. They understand that they are part of something that is bigger, and that adds conviction to what they do.


  • They gain a repertoire of stories to take out with them into the world. Salespeople, counter staff, tech representatives, and other front-line personnel will project company values and attitudes that will speak to your customers. 


Create Compelling Interactive Learning 


Why tell your company story with words alone, when videos and photos of your founder or early company facilities can give trainees a compelling sense of how your firm got started? Make the training very interactive, so the learner really understands the topic.


Also consider having people who were part of your franchise’s launch come to speak to your training classes. 

Remember to tell your story. It will make your franchise come alive in the lives of your people.

Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and a franchisee. Evan leads both Ingage Consulting and Tortal Training. Evan is also host of the highly successful Training Unleashed podcasts and author of the book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation. Evan is a frequent keynote speaker at franchising expos and events. 

For more information, visit and follow him at @ehackel