McDonald's is updating its franchise system with policy revisions that are intended to eliminate complacency and keep franchisees on their toes, regardless of their length of service.
The Chicago-based burger behemoth, which has around 13,000 franchisees in the United States, recently disseminated an internal email outlining many significant changes to its relationship with long-standing franchisees.
And while these upgrades will likely result in a better, more consistent customer experience, the news for McDonald's operators is not so good.
Renewal of the chain's 20-year franchise agreements will now necessitate an entirely new application process, something that was previously nearly automatic for operators in good standing.
In the future, we will use 'new term' to characterise the process of awarding another 20-year franchise agreement based on past performance across the U.S. market.
In the future, McDonald's restaurant owners can anticipate an increase in the number of inspections conducted at their establishments, specifically six to ten visits each year at each site across the country.
In addition, operators will be required to undertake independent evaluations when applying to open new locations, examinations that will no longer impact the renewal of their franchise agreements.
When the children or wives of current operators apply to become operators themselves, they will be considered as new candidates without any special consideration.
According to Restaurant Business, with sales and foot traffic at an all-time high, existing franchisees view these adjustments as a "overreach."
The new restrictions are likely to drive a further departure of long-term operators; last year, a record number of the chain's restaurants changed hands as a substantial number of franchisees exited the system.
However, the pruning may be just what McDonald's desires. "Everything, or should I say everyone, we need to build McDonald's future is not present in this room at this time.