Today, I attended Part I of a new International Franchise Association series hosted by Dan Monaghan of Clear Summit Group exploring the opportunities and threats to franchising created by artificial intelligence.  In one of the most interesting portions of the opening informational webinar, Dan described a number of ways that franchisors can use AI to streamline operations and make a franchisee’s business experience easier.  Some examples include:

  1. Providing Resources to Personnel.   Dan used the example of asking ChatGPT to create lesson plans for tutors working at early education franchise centers.   Dan urged franchisor attendees to think about how ChatGPT can generate materials that can help their franchisees provide employees with resources that make their jobs easier to perform.
  2. Responding to Online Reviews.   Dan explained how ChatGPT can assist in responding to online reviews. He recommends providing ChatGPT with a prompt like “write a response to a customer negative review about a bad customer service” to assist with the “blank page conundrum” when a franchisee may not know where to start in responding to negative online reviews.    A franchisee can then edit, expand, finalize and post a tailored response to the customer.
  3. Writing LinkedIn Recommendations.  As business leaders know, the best way to obtain great LinkedIn recommendations is to provide them.  ChatGPT can assist a business owner or leader in crafting recommendations for business contacts in your networking groups.
  4. Improving Franchise Support. A franchisor can upload all of its existing operations manuals, guidance, and how-to materials into ChatGPT. The franchisor can then use ChatGPT to create a first place for franchisees to go when looking for direction and answers about franchise system standards, best practices, and training.

Dan is also seeing franchisors use ChatGPT for competitive intelligence by uploading the franchise disclosure documents of similar franchise systems in their industries and asking ChatGPT to compare the offerings in easy to read tabular and chart format.   You can also use ChatGPT to conduct a SWOT Analysis on your own franchise system or a competitor.    ChatGPT can be useful in brainstorming and evaluating marketing, promotional or advertising initiatives.  Dan described his own experience in paying over $40,000 to a consulting firm to assist with the rebranding of one of its businesses.  When he woke up in the middle of the night and asked ChatGPT to provide him with potential new names for his company, he was quickly given a list.  He liked three of the names and was able to get the domain name for one.  ChatGPT was able to do on the fly what he paid a consultant months to achieve.

In addition to facilitating this three-part series over the summer, the IFA is committed to providing the franchise community with all of the resources it needs to address the AI revolution that is upon us.  The IFA created a website called where franchisors can share their own experience in using AI, review ideas, and collaborate with the franchise community.  There is also the option to download a ChatGPT handbook, Unlocking the Potential of ChatGPT.

There are certainly many concerns about the use of AI and ChatGPT.  On-going consultation and discussion with knowledgeable legal counsel by businesses is necessary to ensure AI is utilized responsibly and in compliance with all applicable legal considerations.  The second part of this IFA series in July will address copyright, security and vulnerability of using these programs and take a deeper dive into these issues.  Be on the lookout for a follow-up post after the next series.