What to Expect on Discovery Day

During this edition of FranNet’s blog, we’re going to inform you on what to expect if you’re invited to a Discovery Day event. In layman’s terms, a Discovery Day is an in-person meet and greet with representatives from a franchise concept that you’re considering. It’s typically reserved for serious buyers only, no tire kickers. But, at the same time, it can be an informal and quite enjoyable experience. It boils down to a chance for you, the prospective franchisee, and representatives from the franchise brand to size one another up. Ostensibly, it’s the best way to determine whether or not both of you will be a fit for each other.

So, what to expect? First off, you’re likely taking a round-trip airfare journey to a wine and dine session. Travel plans are typically discussed in detail beforehand, especially who is responsible for the cost of the trip. It should be noted that if you have a spouse, he or she will also typically be extended an invitation to a Discovery Day as well. Franchises understand that joint decisions are necessary and want to get a good feel for the immediate family of what may turn out to be their newest franchisee team.

A sit-down dinner at a respectable eating establishment is usually on tap, once you have arrived at your hotel and settled in. Many Discovery Day attendees rate this experience as their favorite time of the trip, as it offers the first opportunity of many “getting to know you” conversations. Franchisees are expected to be on their best behavior. After all, Discovery Day is an evaluation (on both sides, to be fair). Decorum should follow the example you would set at any company-related function. Translation: don’t order that third bottle of wine!

The following day typically includes two visits, one to an existing franchise operation and a meeting at the franchise’s corporate headquarters. When you visit the franchise location, it’s your opportunity to see the machinations of the business up close. You’ll be expected to imagine yourself behind the counter, in the office or with the customers. You’ll be free to visit with the existing franchise owner and ask questions with the franchise representatives. It’s an excellent opportunity to observe and report. The visit to franchise headquarters will likely include a tour and personal introductions to the corporate representatives who make the franchise thrive on a national basis. It’s also likely you’ll be shown an instructional presentation highlighting the main selling points of the franchise.

After your visit and meeting, Discovery Day is coming to a close. You’ll likely dine again, then head to the airport for your return trip back home. It’s at this stage in which both the franchisor and franchisee can have a frank, honest and open discussion about whether or not they’ll be a good fit for one another. As a prospective franchisee, you’ll be asked for your thoughts on the Discovery Day activities and whether or not you intend to proceed in the investigative process. 

Discovery Days, by nature, are often a whirlwind process. But you should never feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. You are well within your rights to go home and contemplate all you have seen and experienced. Because you have a decision to make, address any reservations head on. Do I like these people? Was I impressed with the franchise operation on the ground? Can I truly count on their support if I decide to buy into their system? These questions and more are designed to be answered following the Discovery Day experience.

Keep in mind, the Discovery Day opportunity is not a junket or a free trip with a side serving of extravagant dining. The franchisor invited you because you have both reached a critical stage in the investigative process. It’s for serious inquiries only and when the Discovery Day is over, you’ll have a big decision to make. Here’s hoping it’s an easy one…

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Aug 17, 2017