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Franchising: The Pros, the Cons, and the COBS Difference

We are curious to know how you’ve landed on this post. From our experience, you might be from one of these camps:

  1. You want to open your own retail business, but you are finding that the costs and effort of all that is involved is more than you anticipated.
  2. You are curious about franchising because you like the idea of the balance of being your own boss and having a system in place.
  3. You know that you want to open a franchise.
  4. You know that you want to open a COBS Bread bakery. (Lucky for us! Take the first step and submit an inquiry.)

But we’ve written this because we want to help you make that decision if you aren’t number three or four on the above list. Deciding whether or not you want to purchase a franchised business is huge. We’ve put together a list of pros and cons, as well as some insights how we at COBS Bread support our franchisees in this aspect. If you’re interested in learning more about this process, please submit an inquiry to get the conversation started.

1) The Business Model (How are you planning on running your business?)

PRO: Well-established franchises offer a proven business model that you can follow knowing they have achieved a degree of success.

CON: There may limited wiggle room for you to introduce your own processes.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: We’ve been opening bakeries since 2003 in Canada (since 1980 in Australia), so we are pleased to say our business model works. We have many franchisees who own multiple bakeries, which demonstrates commitment and belief in the franchise system. We have 121 bakeries and counting across BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

2) Brand Awareness (How are people going to recognize your brand and what you have to offer?)

PRO: The brand awareness is built-in. Franchises have the advantage of a customer base who have an attachment of the brand. In addition to customer count, this also helps with team member recruitment.

CON: Your business is impacted if other franchisees make mistakes that can damage the brand.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: Our brand is well-recognized in our markets, and where we are not yet known, we work with you to get the word out.

3) Who’s In Charge? (Who gets the final say on big decisions?)

PRO: When you work in a franchise, you’re the boss. You make important strategic decisions, hire your teams, oversee product quality and more.

CON: The franchisor ultimately has the final say on major decisions.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: You’re your own boss, but your Area Manager is there to provide support and guidance. You are provided with guidelines, resources, tools and more to set you up for success.

4) Who’s the Know It All? (And what if you don’t?)

PRO: You might be a Know It All when it comes to sales. Maybe you’re a leader among leaders. You could be an HR pro. But- you don’t know what you don’t know! There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to your own business, and while your strengths will certainly work to your advantage, it helps to have access to subject matter experts at your fingertips.

CON: Can’t think of one. This is a huge benefit.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: We’ve got the experts to help you get up to speed and beyond in areas you may be lacking.

5): Financial Background (What are the chances of financial success?)

PRO: During the application process, you receive knowledge of the franchisor’s financial performance which will help you plan, well, your life!

CON: There isn’t really an applicable con here. It’s information you can use to help you make your decision!

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: You get to make an educated decision before committing to purchasing a COBS Bread bakery once you are approved as a candidate.

6) Operational Support (The day-to-day)

PRO: You receive operational support from your franchisor. In many forms.

CON: There’s really no applicable con here, either. Receiving support is always helpful.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: Your Area Manager, network of fellow franchisees, and Support Office are here to help our franchisees with everything from HR, to ingredients and supply chain, day-to-day operations, and more. (Keep reading. You’ll see!)

7): Marketing Support (How do you reach the masses?)

PRO: You don’t need to develop your own brand look and feel, taglines, logos, copy, offers, etc.

CON: Creativity can be constrained by brand guidelines.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: We provide franchisees with the tools to customize artwork for their own initiatives. We also provide content and materials for 9-10 campaigns per year, including in-bakery and online advertising.

8) Training (At the beginning, and ongoing!)

PRO: Training is provided and is specifically designed for you and your staff.

CON: You have to conduct staff training according to the franchisor.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: The COBS Bread training teams designs modules for new hires, campaigns, and special qualifications programs to help you to empower your staff to grow in their careers.

9) Growth (How do I keep this gravy train rolling?)

PROS: Franchises can provide opportunity for growth by opening additional locations.

CONS: You are not able to open another franchise without permission and agreement from the franchisor.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: COBS Bread is excited to help franchisees become multi-site operators, and will set expectations and provide support to help franchisees achieve this goal.

10) Quality Assurance (Keeping it all on the up and up.)

PRO: When you are with a franchise, the franchisor is aware of federal and provincial codes and regulations you need to meet. In addition, they have their own standards for product quality. With the right franchisor, you are provided with tools and guidance to help you meet this.

CON: You are your own quality control and need to figure this out on your own.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE: Our Compliance team conducts quarterly assessments to help you ensure your standards are up to code. Our Area Managers product, and training team are there to help you achieve the highest standards of product quality and will help you troubleshoot any issues.

11) Supply Chain (How do I get stuff?)

PRO: With a franchise, you have the advantage of lower prices negotiated based on high volume of orders for all franchises.

CON: You need to use the suppliers selected by your franchisor.

THE COBS DIFFERENCE:  If there is ever an issue with ingredients or other products from the supply chain, the support office is there to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

There is always so much to consider, but we hope this helps guide you in your decision, if you are on this path. If you do decide a franchise is for you, we hope you will consider COBS Bread as an option. Start something good by inquiring with us today.