National Franchise – Case of the Missing Chain Association A well known franchise reached out to me as they had recently opened a new location, but it was nowhere to be found on maps while other locations were displaying fine.
The Problem: “We own 2 other franchise locations and have several colleagues who have opened new locations recently. None of us have ever experienced such an issue before. Being a carryout restaurant, call-in orders are our main source of business. Traditionally, call in orders make up 40-55% of our orders. At store #XXXX, it is only 17%. The problem is so severe that we are receiving 10-15 calls each day at our other nearby franchise location asking if the new store is closed, and if so, what their number is. It does not appear at all as an option when typing in “franchise West Palm Beach” or “franchise near me”.
The Goal: To get calls coming in and to show the new franchise location on maps for nearby searches.
Prep Work: Here were the discoveries:
- This location has almost zero citations. Another location that opened at the same time has many, and the other locations also have many. This could be an indicator of low relevance and prominence.
- The listing is missing an editorial snippet. I believe all franchise locations should come out of the box with the editorial snippet (this could be an indicator the location is for some reason not part of the “chain” on GMB’s backend). We asked the listing management company and they could not confirm or deny that this was missing.
- I noted that the local schema is not on the franchisors website. Generally speaking, we recommend it is a good idea to implement.
- I noticed there are no other hours (like delivery) setup on this location, unlike other franchisees listings (another potential indicator that this location was created singularly and outside of a bulk operation).
- The location shows “Own this business?” In the knowledge panel, versus “manage this business” – another indicator is that it is not part of the chain.
- Internally, we ran a test of the chain listing that shows the number of locations under the franchisor and confirmed the numbers matched. This means that listing WAS part of the bulk upload.
- We also ran a check via the GMB API called “parentChain” at the location level. This field should be set if a location is part of a chain, and it did not appear to be set for this location. The issue was found.
Immediately we went to support, raised the concern, and asked them to check the association. Indeed, the setting was not set and therefore GMB viewed this location as not being part of the chain.
The Result: Call volume increased immediately. Walk up traffic increased as well since we had to fix the map marker (the agency had reset this).
“It was truly a pleasure working with Ben. We had a major issue with our restaurants’ GMB listing that even our corporate office could not help resolve. The issue was severe enough that it was jeopardizing the entire business as we had just recently opened. Thanks to Ben’s expertise, the issue was finally resolved. Throughout this entire process, I found Ben to be extremely patient and knowledgeable. It was truly a pleasure working with him and I have since recommended his services to other colleagues of mine.”