5 Best Franchise Management Software Tools in 2021
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Franchises need management software that simplifies collaboration, communication, and goals across fragmented workplaces. That’s non-negotiable, but franchise management software, in general, is a pretty broad category, and it’s not always easy to understand the kinds of tools available — or which ones you need to succeed.
With 20 years of experience in developing and deploying our very own brand of franchise management software, we at Loop have a unique understanding of this market. We’ve put that knowledge to use developing this list of software tools every franchise manager should consider.
Important note: This isn’t a list of like-for-like comparisons. Instead, we’ve broken down five critical software categories that every franchise operation needs to fill. Those specific categories include:
- Business intelligence and performance management
- Franchise business management
- Franchise operations
- Franchise marketing
For each category, we’ve picked our favourite option, and provided some runner-up alternatives to help you make the best choice in 2021. Let’s get started!
1. Loop-BI: Franchise Performance Management and Business Intelligence
- Action planning: The ability to assign individual actions against insights and track outcomes.
- Surveys: Templated and cloud-based surveys to simplify franchise audits and further contextualise analysis.
- Dashboards: Customisable views that allow for the review of information at different levels of detail.
- Balanced scorecards: Strategic analysis able to help you view KPI data in the context of your strategic business goals.
- Usage reporting: Review insights about how the platform is used within your organisation.
- Visit management: Plan, review and execute site visits from a single-source-of-truth cloud-based platform.
- Up to 50 franchise locations: £4,200 per month (one off set up fee of £21,500)
- Up to 500 franchise locations: £9,000 per month (one off set up fee of £45,900)
- Up to 1,000 franchise locations: £11,500 per month (one off set up fee of £52,700)
Loop-BI fuses business intelligence and business performance management within a single platform that was built with the idiosyncrasies of franchise management in mind. KPIs are pulled from across your network and access is centralised through the cloud. Surveys (to enable franchise audits) can be issued and reviewed using Loop, and site visits can similarly be managed using the platform. You can then view aggregate and specific details within customisable dashboards and strategically analyse inputs using balanced scorecards.
Uniquely, Loop allows you to assign specific actions (and track outcomes) using the Action Planning feature — directly ensuring that analysis turns into outcomes. The goal of Loop is to close distances and simplify communication and information review. Network managers get a holistic view of the entire operation, and individual franchise managers can review their own performance, and receive clear and actionable guidance from central management.
Alongside these benefits, Loop aims to take the complexity out of integration by guiding you through setup as well as continued system management. During our long-standing partnerships, we aim to simplify complex franchise pain points using:
- Bespoke flexibility
- Pro-active data integration
- A one-stop-shop approach
Ultimately, Loop helps you to drive cohesive results that remove the complexity of traditional business intelligence to ensure action-led, data-driven results from an all-inclusive platform that ensures your tools, and your franchised teams, can work together without setbacks.
2. mHelp Desk: Franchise business management
- Billing and invoicing
- Employee management
- Inventory management
- Time and expense tracking
- Starting from $169 (£123) per month
Franchise business management tools help control the flow of goods and services through your organisation. mHelp’s all-inclusive management software automates everything from customer billing right through to employment drives, even if you’re on-the-go or offline. Automated lead management services, especially, stand to drive your sales by as much as 70% across the franchise landscape, while online bookings ensure that you’re more likely to convert without adding to your workloads. What’s more, mHelp’s integration with Quickbooks ensures that you can send quotes in a timely manner to keep sales momentum strong when customers are most likely to buy.
mHelp also provides end-to-end employee management that makes sure you have the best teams on the ground at all times. Specifically, employee management improvements worth noting include:
- Automated staff communication
- Workflow management
- Staff productivity reporting
mHelp was founded in 2007 by two former Lockheed Martin engineers, and has since gone on to build enterprise web applications for large clients including the Department of Defense. Their team of highly-skilled developers, administrators and customer report reps are now committed to providing mobile and online tools that are unrivalled in performance, reliability, and functionality.
3. Jolt: Franchise operations software
- Employee scheduling
- Team accountability
- Digital food safety
- Forms and inspections
- Overtime calculation
- Pay monthly standard and enterprise plans available
Franchise operations software enables the smooth execution of daily tasks. With a mission to empower everyone to love work and live life, Josh Bird founded Jolt in light of his own franchisee experiences. After a particular blow that cost him $10,000 (£7,275), Josh decided that he wanted to be the solution to the problem, and Jolt was born with a focus on breaking through walls and taking care of the customer.
Specifically designed for businesses who employ ‘deskless workers’ (restaurants, theme parks, zoos, etc.,) Jolt is an app-based point of service tool that aims to simplify all aspects of daily operations management. Already utilised by brands like Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme, this web and mobile-based solution is especially invaluable with regards to franchised restaurants, with a specific focus on food safety compliance that you can manage on the go thanks to inclusions such as –
- Temperature logs
- Automated temperature monitoring
- Food and date labelling
A team accountability focus is also invaluable for ensuring high standards, allowing for easy-to-access photo proof of store cleaning, on-the-spot training, and real-time reports or notifications. Not to mention that the ability to implement daily, repeatable checklists means that you can ensure your franchise runs like a smoothly oiled machine.
4. Marketing 360: Franchise Marketing Tool
- Campaign management
- Website development
- Content marketing
- Social media management
- Free version
- Paid services starting at $25 (£18) a month
The brainchild of Mawire, Marketing 360 has been helping smaller franchises grow since 2009. Marketing tools specifically help businesses curate marketing campaigns, generate and qualify leads, and grow.
Marketing 360 provides a wide range of marketing services deployed through their online platform. With one login and one dedicated marketing team, Marketing 360 customers can enjoy one-stop marketing solutions from people who understand exactly what their business is about. Marketing 360’s services offer broad-reaching marketing solutions tailored to your industry, with notable focuses including:
- Content marketing
- Social media management
- Web development
- Multi-channel ads
- Brand-building services
Marketing 360 even goes above and beyond many of their competitors by helping franchise managers to create forms that help turn leads into conversions, set up bank payments, and benefit from reputation-building reviews. This one-source marketing solution has grown to such heights that Madwire have been named as an Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company for eight years straight. The championship team behind Marketing 360 are largely to thank for this momentum, with their ongoing pursuit of championship performance that makes a difference every day.
5. FranConnect: Covering the basics
- Commission management
- Automatic re-ordering
- Franchise intranet
- Job scheduling
- Website management
- Demo available on request
All-in-one tools provide basic services across a range of categories. Although not an ideal solution for every specific task, tools in this category can function as a complete solution for franchise businesses without extensive requirements. FranConnect is a good example of an all-in-one tool that might be right for you.
With their focus on customer experience, FranConnect have spent the past twenty years serving the sales, marketing, and operations of over 800 brands, nine of which have been named in the list of top 10 fastest growing franchise businesses by the Franchise Times. Their growth-driven services aim to improve profitability and streamlining performance for customers of all sizes, growth phases, and industries.
This desire has led to the development of an all-inclusive end-to-end franchise software that offers solutions for the franchise lifecycle. Whether you’re looking to streamline operations or power your brand, FranConnect’s command centres, info managers, and velocity packs work to make it possible.
In fact, while they perhaps don’t offer the deep-dive solutions of some of the segmented products mentioned, FranConnect offer rounded services for just about every aspect of generalised franchise management, such as:
Franchise managers who want to simplify processes as much as possible are particularly guaranteed to find this overarching, easy-to-oversee management solution useful for keeping everything in one, straightforward place.
Putting actionable insights at the heart of franchise management
Whatever your franchise needs, finding the right software is fundamental to the ease and ongoing actionable focus that you need to succeed. Each of these tools achieves that goal in their own unique way, providing leads, insights and on-the-ground reporting that, when paired with Loop-BI’s trackable action-led results, could take your franchise to the next level no matter how remote you are from your teams. Get in touch today to find out how we can integrate with your franchise solutions for guaranteed better results moving forward.