Accessibility Statement

Franchising Navigates COVID-19

There is no doubt that Coronavirus has affected all of us in some way even if we haven’t been exposed the virus itself. Our franchise family has certainly taken a big hit and brands are working hard to help their franchisees survive. In these crazy times, we must rally and help each other because together we are stronger. Our team has been researching and gathering data not only on media and marketing but resources that our franchise family can use to help them through this unprecedented time.

The Franchise Community Rallies to Support Small Business

The International Franchise Association is working overtime to help support members by working members of Congress to provide small business owners with the relief they need. In fact, the President approved the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted. Read the full story here. You can help too!

  • Text FRANCHISE HELP to 52886 to tell Congress to Support Coronavirus Franchise Business Relief 
  • Send an email message to your Congressional Representative to let them know you support small business

Many of our clients have been asking what other franchise brands are doing to help aid their owners and weather this storm. Here are a few examples:

  • Offer both current Franchisees and individuals that sign on as a new Franchisee royalty and national ad fund (NAF) deferment for a period of time. Payments would then be paid back over a period of months. 
  • Working with Franchisees to negotiating new leases with landlords. Percentage rent will go a long way when cash is tight.
  • Providing a tool kit for managing new workflows and procedures amid the Corona Virus
  • Providing resources to get access to working capital. Franchisor partners like BoeFly are supplying up-to-date resources that can be an asset to Franchisees.

Franchise Development Trends

On the other side of the franchise business, is the franchise development efforts. Brands began the year optimistic to hit their development goals. However, in light of the situation, brands are rightfully looking to understand how to navigate their marketing efforts in order to maintain lead flow and best utilize their budgets.

While no two brands can approach this the situation exactly the same, here are some of the ways that the Hot Dish team is actively working to help support our clients:

Messaging: Knowing the country will likely go into a recession, brands that are generally recession resilient are actively looking for ways to share this message. For example, a pet store like Pets Supplies Plus has multiple revenue streams and a customer base that loves their pets and despite the economy, these owners need to care for their pets. Building awareness now will help them in the long run.

Discovery Day: With so much of our world now virtual, why not make your Discovery Day presentation online in order to support those investors that are looking to learn more despite the situation? Tropical Smoothie Cafe has integrated an online version of their Discovery Day into their sales process even before this pandemic hit. Their 2-hour presentation effectively educates candidates about why they should invest in the brand and is hosted online and presented by the development team. This provides efficiency in access as well as the time invested by leadership.

Monitoring Lead Quality: As expected, lead counts are down in the past week. But on the flip side, the percentage of qualified leads is currently remaining the relatively the same indicating that the well capitalized individuals or companies are seeking their next move as we exit this situation. Daily monitoring the situation will provide insight and guidance on how to optimize the budget as things change.

Media mix: Staying the course (when possible) with a diversified media mix is key. Consumers are actively seeking news about the pandemic to stay informed. In recent weeks, the average consumer who is 18 years or older has been consuming on average the following media on a daily basis:

  • 3 hours/58 minutes using a smartphone
  • 3 hours/27 minutes watching live TV
  • 1 hour/41 minutes listening to radio
  • 52 minutes using a tablet
  • 38 minutes were using an internet-content device
  • 32 minutes using internet on a computer
  • 29 minutes watching time-shifted TV (DVR, TiVo)
  • 13 minutes on a gaming console
  • 4 minutes with a DVD/Blu-Ray player


Good news is that the Cost Per Click in paid search has remained relatively the same. However, the Cost Per Acquisition has increased*. This is a time where consumers are consuming media but are not necessarily taking action on the messages they are seeing. Instead, they are doing research on their own and in some cases still inquiring to begin the discovery process.

Neil Patel, founder of NP Digital who has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Entrepreneur has shared the following insight, ”What I’ve learned from going through two crashes (the dotcom crash in 2000 and the real estate crash in 2008) is that the best time to double down is when others are not. During an economic downturn, you’ll find that you will have less competition, which means it is easier and faster to get results, and in some cases, you’ll be able to get deals, such as a potential reduction in pay-per-click advertising.”

Despite all the challenges our industry faces, we are seeing our community come together to support one another. Let’s continue to get by with a little help from our friends.

*Source: Neil Patel, NP Digital

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