Careers in Franchising

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Franchising offers career options beyond franchisee investments. Franchise system head offices require skilled and knowledgeable employees in a variety of roles to support the system’s franchisees and its general business processes. Franchise and corporate locations require a range of staff from managers to front-line staff.

While every franchise system is set up differently, below is some general information about common career opportunities organized by departments at a franchisor head office. These are only a few of the careers available in franchising. In a small franchise system, one person could perform several functions from different areas. Larger franchise companies have multiple levels within departments, such as Co-ordinators and Clerks to Senior Directors, Vice Presidents, Senior Vice Presidents, and Executive Vice Presidents. The Chief Operating Officer (C.O.O.), President, Chief Financial Officer (C.F.O.), and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) positions are the most senior, and those within these roles manage and oversee the entire business.

Each franchisor creates positions within their company based upon the needs of their business. As companies continue to change, the franchise industry changes, and with that evolution comes new and exciting career opportunities.

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Development Department

Oversees the Franchise Development Managers, Market Planners, and Real Estate. This person ensures the sales process works efficiently to attract and sign qualified franchisees and to secure sites. They might also oversee the Design and Construction Department. This position is responsible for setting the strategic direction of development, and for ensuring the various personnel are executing on the tasks for achieving the development goals.
This is often the first person a prospective new franchisee meets. Approval to become a franchisee is driven by the Franchise Development Manager. All documents are completed by the franchise candidate; the information is verified; credit and criminal checks are completed; and the market information, business plan, and executive summary are submitted and presented for approval. The Franchise Development Manager also schedules interviews between the franchise candidate and executive team. Once approval is granted, the Franchise Development Manager informs the other departments and monitors to ensure the project stays on track.
Identifies the best areas/markets in which to build a location based on the franchisor’s criteria. This person researches and analyzes demographics, traffic patterns, competition, spending patterns, etc. They also work with the Marketing Department to locate areas of a city to target with advertising based on demographics, traffic patterns, etc.
Assists the franchisee in finding a location that meets the requirements of the franchisor, and gets the location and project budget approved. They also work with real estate brokers to ensure the latter is searching for locations, and that the brokers understand the site criteria needed for the location to be successful. This position reviews and filters all sites that are sent to the franchisor. The Real Estate Department can take various formats. In some cases, there is a corporate franchisor staff member who specializes in real estate for the brand. In other cases, the Franchise Development Manager also fulfills the real estate function. Another alternative is that a third party or supplier company which specializes in real estate works with the franchisor and franchisee. Once the site is secured, the Real Estate Manager informs all other departments as to the date of possession, and provides the appropriate documents and any design criteria to the design and construction teams.

Design & Construction Department

This person works with the franchisee to design and lay out their location. The Designer must work with the franchisor’s prototypical colours, layouts, and specifications, and to ensure it’s designed to meet building code requirements, along with the landlord’s criteria for the space. The Designer works with various architects and/or engineers, such as the landlords, the municipalities, and the franchisees. Since every site is different, the Designer must be creative to ensure all the necessary criteria are met, but also to design an attractive location that will stand out and attract customers. Once the design is finished, the project moves to the construction phase.
Monitors the project from lease execution to opening. This role has a wide range of responsibilities, and varies by company. The Construction Manager might assist the franchisee with hiring an architect/engineer, review of tenders and construction contracts, introduction and monitoring of franchisee interaction with equipment suppliers and ordering, permits, overseeing trades, and ensuring the project stays on schedule and under budget. The Construction Manager must approve that the location is built to required specifications, and is ready to receive the Opening Team. It is also the Construction Manager’s responsibility to follow up on any construction deficiencies, and ensure they are remedied and that all tasks are completed.

Marketing Department

Oversees and coaches the Marketing Team. They set the strategic direction of the marketing plan, and ensure the Marketing Managers are executing on the tactics. They work with franchisees and the Franchise Advisory Council (FAC) on the marketing ideas and promotions. This position also negotiates any media purchases such as radio and television, and monitors and approves the creation of all creative works. Some examples include product photography, menu board artwork, branded packaging, point-of-sale items, and website design. The Director also works with the Research Department to implement food/beverage trends or new products. This position is also responsible for monitoring, spending, and reconciling the advertising fees received from franchisees to the monies spent by the franchisor on advertising on behalf of the franchisees.
Focuses on working with franchisees and determines how to drive traffic within the community into the unit. The Marketing Manager also guides the franchisee in creating a Local Store Marketing (LSM) plan for the location, including how it should be executed and how to measure LSM success. For example, if a franchisee is opening a restaurant, they might approach the hotels within their market to have their menus placed in each room, and offer a discount to the hotel manager and staff for referrals. They also work with new franchisees as they get ready to open their new location, and assist the franchisee with organizing events such as a “Friends and Family” event prior to opening. In addition, the Marketing Manager establishes a grand opening plan for the new location, and determines whether it is held on opening day or several weeks after opening. This person also reviews and approves any LSM materials created by the franchisee prior to distribution.
With social media becoming an increasingly important part of business, a person dedicated to corporate communications is key. This position monitors and engages consumers on social media, posting interesting news surrounding the brand, such as new products, corporate events, or franchisee activities. They also train franchisees on how to utilize their Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. for their location. This position could also work with media agencies and public relations to create press releases promoting brand news.

Research Department

In a food franchise, a Research Manager is often a food scientist or a chef. This person monitors food/beverage trends, and suggests products and creates recipes for the brand. This position reviews ingredient lists, calculates cost of goods (COG) per product, ensures suppliers are creating products to the franchisor’s specifications, and creates training materials for franchisees on food safety and product preparation. Research Managers troubleshoot with the Operations team if products are not turning out at store level as the product preparation procedures dictate.

Purchasing Department

Works with suppliers and distributors to ensure the products are at store level in a timely fashion. This position sources all products, packaging, and equipment for the brand. For instance, the Purchasing Manager receives the upcoming promotional idea for a new beverage flavour to be featured from the Marketing Department. The Purchasing Manager sources the new product, ensures it meets the requirements of the Marketing and Research Departments, and negotiates the contract with the supplier. In addition, they work with the distributor to ensure there is warehouse space available when needed to accommodate the new product, and that the product goes into the distributor’s order guide so the franchisee can order it. They then inform the franchisees how to order the products to make the new drink.

Operations Department

Oversees all of the operational components from training, to opening team, to Regional Managers. In addition, the Director ensures the operations manuals and training materials are current and that franchisees are compliant with product preparation procedures and food safety. The overall focus is for the franchise locations to be serving quality products in accordance with the franchisor’s specifications, in a clean and welcoming location by well-trained staff.
This position arranges for new franchisee training, and establishes the curriculum and objective metrics for determining success or failure. They ensure that the franchisee successfully completes the required training prior to opening. If the new franchisee is training within an existing franchisee’s business, the Training team ensures that the existing franchisee and key staff have been certified to serve as a training location to ensure consistency across training locations. This position also creates training materials for the franchisee to use to train both new and existing staff on products, food handling, and health and safety.
Arrives and assists the franchisee with the set-up of the location, and the training of the franchisee’s key staff. They also ensure the location meets brand standards, and that the franchisee and their staff can execute on the brand promise to the consumer. In short, they determine if the location and the franchisee are ready for business.
After the opening team leaves, the main contact for the franchisee is the Regional Manager. This person visits locations and works with franchisees to improve their businesses, working directly with the franchisee in the franchisee’s location. They train franchisees on new products, new food safety procedures, etc. They often execute inspections/quality assurance reports on the location, and review cleanliness, product quality, and customer service with the franchisee.

Finance Department

Establishes the parameters of each category of the P&L statement template the franchisees must complete. In addition, the person in this position analyzes all sales from all locations, and identifies seasonal or sales trends. They also oversee each department’s budget, create an overall corporate budget, and monitor all budgets versus actual numbers. In short, the Controller/Accountant oversees all monies received and spent, and works with external accountants and auditors as necessary for corporate financial statements.
Works with franchisees and explains how to complete the franchisor-required P&L statements. The Finance Manager will instruct the franchisee as to how to calculate cost of goods sold and labour cost; how to complete the required reports to the franchisor; how and when to submit royalty, marketing, and lease administration fees (if the franchisee is subleasing from the franchisor); and when to submit reports. This position works with the Operations team to identify franchisees who need additional assistance with controlling costs. In addition, they work with the Marketing Department to analyze promotion results.

Legal Department

This position works with an external legal team and each department leader to ensure the franchise disclosure document (FDD) accurately describes the franchisor’s business and is compliant with legal requirements. They also ensure all legal documents are created and executed correctly by the franchisee, franchisor, landlord, and suppliers. This could include training school agreement and waivers, design and construction services agreements, franchise agreements, sub-lease, lease, and resale agreements, and supplier contracts. The Paralegal also ensures accurate record keeping of all legal agreements and of all renewal dates and fees.

Human Resources Department

Works to attract and recruit new employees for the corporation. This position is responsible for job descriptions, the performance evaluation process, the performance management process, compensation, and office and employee policies.

Information Technology Department

This position ensures the franchisor’s servers, network, phones, computers, and tablets are working efficiently, and that software is current. They set up new employees with new equipment, email, shared drives, cloud access, etc. In addition, they ensure the franchisor can pull information electronically from each franchisee’s location, such as sales.

The opinions or viewpoints expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA). Where materials and content were prepared by persons and/or entities other than the CFA, the said other persons and/or entities are solely responsible for their content. The information provided herein is intended only as general information that may or may not reflect the most current developments. The mention of particular companies or individuals does not represent an endorsement by the CFA. Information on legal matters should not be construed as legal advice. Although professionals may prepare these materials or be quoted in them, this information should not be used as a substitute for professional services. If legal or other professional advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought.

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