How To Find The Right Restaurant Franchise Ad Agency

How To Find The Right Restaurant Franchise Ad Agency

How To Find The Right Restaurant Franchise Ad Agency

Are you trying to find the right Restaurant Franchise Ad Agency for your franchise system?  Hiring the wrong ad agency for a franchise can be one of the hardest situations to get out of, as it requires not only you as the franchisor but also most if not all of your licensed franchisees to make the switch as well.  Our main focus here at Lead PPC is franchise leads and franchise lead generation.

This article seeks to help you identify some of the common pitfalls that franchisors and franchisees face when trying to vet and hire the right franchise ad agency.  The article is uniquely tailored for restaurant franchises, as this is one of the largest franchise markets and can be one of the hardest types of franchises for ad agencies to service as their offerings may change up to weekly and measuring ROI back to customer purchases can be challenging.

The content found within this article will be most helpful for people searching online for anything around the following concepts:

  • Restaurant Franchise Ad Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Advertising Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Paid Search Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Facebook Advertising Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Media Buying Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Digital Advertising Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Marketing Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise PR Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Local PR Agency
  • Restaurant Franchise Local Store Marketing Agency

The concepts and idea found in this article come from 13+ years of experience working on 200+ franchisor advertising accounts.  If you need help with restaurant franchise advertising and would like to discuss your advertising needs and issues in more detail, please book an appointment with us online via our Contact Us page.

Step 1: Determine Your National And Local Advertising Budgets

Before you start reaching out to potential advertising agencies that handle franchises, make sure you know what your advertising budget is.  National ad budgets differ a lot among franchisors with some of them spending <$5,000 / mo. nationally while others like McDonald’s, Subway, Wendey’s, etc. spend millions of dollars per month.

Perhaps more importantly, know ahead of time how much you plan on having your franchisees spend on their local advertising.  We often time see this in terms of % of revenue such as .5-2% of gross revenue or in terms of a set monthly budget that often times ranges from around $1,000 / mo. up to around $10,000 / mo.

Step 2: Have A General Idea Of What Ad Agencies Charge

There are 2 main models that advertising agencies use when determining management fees.  The first is most common for national ad budgets and is a % of ad spend.  Oftentimes, there is also a minimum management fee associated with it so that the ad agency knows that they will get paid enough to cover their costs plus a profit.  Usually ad agencies have a minimum of around $800-$1,000 / mo. for a management fee or a % of ad spend that is 10-20% or a mixture of both.  A common management fee would be something like $1,000 / mo. + 10% of ad spend for a national advertising budget.  So, if you spent $20,000 on your Google and Facebook Ads, in a given month you would pay $1,000 + $20,0000 * .1 = $3,000.

The second model is used more often for local franchise marketing.  About the lowest I’ve seen on a per location basis for franchisees is about $200-$250 / mo.  But, usually this is for industries like home services, education, or health care where the offers are only changing every 1-3 months.  For restaurants with a rotating menu like Crumbl Cookies or Handel’s Ice Cream, ads need to be updated and changed weekly.  This is a lot more time consuming for agencies.  You would be lucky to find an agency that would do it for $350 / mo. per location with many of the probably charging between about $450-$750 / mo. per location.  If you have 50+ locations, you can usually haggle with agencies more and may be able to get somewhere between $400-$500 / mo. for the management fees.  But, if you only have 1-10 stores, it’s basically like having a separate client for each store, and agencies are more likely to charge in that $500-$750 / mo. range per store.

As far as recommend ad budgets go for local franchise campaigns, you’re  probably going to want to spend no less than $800 / mo. on ads and no more than around $5,000 / mo. per location.  If I were advertising for one of my cookie stores, I would probably do around $1,200-1,500 / mo. on ads per store location with an emphasis on social media like Facebook, Instagram, and maybe even TikTok.

Step 3: Setup Calls With 2-5 Franchise Ad Agencies

I’m going to go ahead and tell you what the good ones are.  They are listed below:

Local Franchise Marketing Agencies

Local Franchise Marketing Agencies

I’m obviously biased on this, but I think we at Lead PPC are the best in the business.  Other decent ones would be Scorpion if you’re doing PPC and Ninth Root if your doing organic SEO.

Step 4: Gather Proposals

This part is pretty easy once you know who the good franchise ad agencies are.  Just go to their websites and fill out a form to get a proposal.  Usually calls last around 30 minutes but could last as long as 45-60 minutes if you have a lot of questions.

Step 5: Test 2 Agencies With Corporate Locations Or Early Adopter Franchisees

Before you roll out dozens if not hundreds of locations with a new ad agency, it’s best to do a trial of around 3 months with your top 2 franchise ad agencies.  If it were me, I would just use corporate owned stores, but you may also want to try having a few of your early adopter franchisees test the agency as well.  A good test set would be 2-5 stores per ad agency that you are testing.

Step 6: Choose 1 Ad Agency

Just like franchisors have a “Discovery Day” or “Decision Day”, after 3 months you’ll need to choose a vendor.  Don’t sign a contract that isn’t month-to-month.  We get a lot of phone calls from franchisors who blow tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on terrible ad agencies or ones that aren’t able to perform for their specific brand.  Do yourself a favor and only do a month-to-month contract.

Step 7: Figure Out How To Track ROI Or Results

Unfortunately, tracking everything 100% for restaurant brands isn’t going to happen.  Tracking online orders or orders using promo codes in-store is easy.  But, you’ll need to be comfortable with not having perfect tracking if you’re a franchisor.  Just know that ahead of time, unless you have a super sophisticated app and everyone uses the app online to buy.

What you want to look for instead is tracking gross revenue on weeks or months that you run ads versus your normal baseline revenue.  Usually the trends are easy to see.  The key is to figure out for every $1,000 that you spend on ads how many thousands of dollars in gross revenue your store produces.

With time, you’ll want to also track and see which offers are performing the best for you.  To do this, compare the online sales via 1 ad variant versus online sales of 2nd ad variant.  Go with your winners.

Step 8: Expand To All Of Your Locations

Once you have everything figured out for a couple of stores, start gradually onboarding your other franchisees.  You’ll want to have your ad agency use something like Zendesk for customer service tickets rather than email alone so that there are support tickets for every request made by franchisees.

You’ll also need to come up with some type of a cadence for how often franchisees can have calls with the ad agency.  I would recommend only allowing up to 1 phone call per month per franchisee and trying to have as many communications as possible occur via email (cc’d to Zendesk) so that the Account Managers of the ad agency are spending most of their time working on the actual accounts instead of on the phone with franchisees.


If you’re interested in speaking with us here at Lead PPC, please fill out our Contact Us form.  The form will allow you to book a call with us directly online via Calendly after you fill out the form.  Trust me, it will be worth the call.