By Carl Udler, Hughes

Whether it’s how customers are greeted when they walk in the door or the quality and freshness of menu items, one of the greatest challenges for franchisors is to promote consistency across franchise locations.

Yet consistency is the foundation of branding. It’s what shapes customer expectations, so they know that their experience in Poughkeepsie will be the exact same in Pasadena. While there are many strategies for injecting consistency across brand locations, few talk about the role of the network in delivering a consistent customer experience. For example, if you have spotty Wi-Fi at one location and robust Wi-Fi at another, you can’t deliver the same type of immersive digital experience at both locations. And that hurts the brand.

Here are four ways to leverage your existing network more effectively to create a consistent customer experience across your branded locations.

  1. Ensure your network supports your vision.

You may be able to describe the specific customer experience you want to deliver but may not know whether your network can support your vision. Connecting the dots between the two is essential. For example, if you have line busters working your drive thru operations to make it more efficient, you also need high performance enterprise grade Wi-Fi connectivity outside — not just at the edges of the building, but throughout the parking lot — to keep traffic flowing smoothly. Outline your network requirements, or the capabilities you need to support, so that individual franchise locations can comply. In those requirements, include backup network connectivity, so that each location can always meet customer expectations.

  1. Offer in-store Guest Wi-Fi separate from your Enterprise Wi-Fi.

Robust applications are the norm for franchise operations, but they can interfere with Wi-Fi performance and the customer experience. If you offer app-based loyalty rewards, be sure your network can handle high volume traffic during peak shopping times so that your most valued customers can redeem the perks they’ve earned. If it can’t, offer separate Guest Wi-Fi dedicated to customers who want to browse the menu, use the loyalty app and post on social media. Plus, with Guest Wi-Fi, traffic is segmented from critical enterprise applications, increasing the network’s security posture.

If you offer app-based loyalty rewards, be sure your network can handle high volume traffic during peak shopping times so that your most valued customers can redeem the perks they’ve earned.

  1. Deploy a “single pane of glass” network monitoring tool.

Your branded franchise operations cannot afford to experience network outages, sluggish performance or install and service delays. A monitoring portal or tool can provide a window into your entire network, with details related to all your network services and their performance across the franchise. It can enable you to ensure uniformity across your operations and see the network status at each location, alerting you (or your IT team) to anything needing attention to make the network run more effectively and efficiently — and consistently. Since such tools can benefit the entire enterprise, their costs can often be rolled into franchisee technology fees or bundled together with a Managed Services Provider’s offerings (who may be responsible for deploying the tool depending upon resources).

Engagement starts with  customer’s first interaction with a brand and continues beyond the point of purchase.

  1. Network your menu boards and digital signage across the franchise, then update content regularly.

Engagement starts with a customer’s first interaction with a brand and continues beyond the point of purchase. We often think of brand interactions as those times when customers consume content on social media, websites, blogs, or through email marketing. Every time a customer enters one of your physical locations is an opportunity to create another brand touchpoint — make sure it’s a positive one! Networking your digital signage and menu boards together means you can push out branded content from HQ while also giving your franchisees the opportunity to tailor content to the local market. To avoid stale and static content, refresh your menu boards and digital signage frequently  — weekly or even daily if possible. Display a range of content, including photos, videos, testimonials and live social media feeds for greater variety. Explore products like content management systems that make it easy to schedule and update content by time of day, purpose and target audience across multiple screens and locations. Regardless of the type of franchise you own or operate, your network is the lifeblood of your brand’s operations. By taking time to evaluate how well your network supports your vision and identifying franchise-wide requirements, you can build the networking capabilities necessary to deliver a branded customer experience consistently — from Peoria to Palm Beach.


Carl Udler is the senior director of marketing at Hughes. With over 25 years of professional experience, 15 of which has focused on the franchise industry, Carl possesses a rare blend of technology expertise combined with CFE and CFTP industry credentials. Carl provides valuable guidance to franchisors and retailers on a broad range of technologies, processes, networking best practices and cybersecurity solutions, enabling them to solve the types of concrete challenges that impact business, customers and ROI. For more information about IFA supplier member Hughes, please visit