If I had a time machine, I would go back and not open this store.
The concept was good.
The execution was not good. It's like there is no understanding of basic business concepts. There has been no brand management or recognition, that I have seen. When I have posted about the ignorance of the general public as to why they need this product, I am told that I need to spend the money to educate them. Isn't that what a franchise is for? Does McDonalds ask its franchisees to do all of their own marketing and consumer education? Also, when I've come across things in my market that are different, I've reached out for help and been told - wow, we've never seen that before and no help is given. Stores seem to be closing like crazy and HQ seems to have its head in the sand. Regarding internal systems, our costs have gone up like 5 fold. They replacement systems are not better and in some cases worse and more laborious. I used to be a Business Process Re-engineering person at KPMG and had done that for years. You need to make things Better, Fast, or Cheaper. Also, when they replace systems, they don't seem to do a requirements gathering so the new system leaves out functionality that everyone has been using. This is basic type stuff. The previous system seems to have been hard coded and the new ones are just total bears. I mean, 6 clicks to sign in a child? I can't even talk to parents anymore when I check kids in. We went from a 3 click process to a 6 click process. What are the benefits? Irony of ironies - Code Ninjas has crappy systems. How can we say we are teaching the kids anything when I have to apologize for the systems? The way it is being run, it seems like a case study in ineptitude. Also, the Brand Fund is being used to try to get more people to buy franchises instead of developing the brand recognition. I did my marketing courses before the Internet existed and at the time, if someone liked a product, they told 2 people. If they didn't like the product, they told 11. Maybe focus on making the owners happy and taking their feedback as a way to get more franchisees. All anyone has to do is talk to a franchisee and it will scare them away from this. The buildout is orders of magnitude over priced. I was able to source similar item for, in some cases 5X less. Then, the furniture isn't vetted so for example, the bar stools that I've bought are a total liability nightmare. EVERYONE (adults as well as children) falls off of them. One finally broke. Apparently, many other zees have this going on. I live in a a community of tort lawyers. The benches in the front lobby have screwed that chew up the walls -which, it's not like I didn't have to pay a bunch to have them painted in the first place. For the furniture to damage the walls - wow, quite an accomplishment.
Listen to feedback. Your franchisees aren't idiots. Most of them work in the tech field and you are giving up alot of great free consulting advice by ignoring them.