Lawson's convenience store business is run on a franchise system. Under this system, Lawson headquarters and franchise owners share the corporate philosophy of "Creating Happiness and Harmony in Our Communities," and work as equal partners toward growth. Headquarters provides franchises with a number of services, providing distribution and information, brand licensing, and operational expertise as well as continuous guidance and operational support. In return, as independent business operators, franchise owners seek to maximize profits by optimizing customer satisfaction while paying franchise fees and royalties. In this way, franchise owners and Lawson headquarters work in tandem, each playing their respective roles.
To date, Lawson has been striving to bolster its relationships with franchise owners in the belief that its growth rests largely on the entrepreneurial mindset of franchise owners and on its franchise system.
In the year ending February 28, 2016, in order to further pursue its regional and area strategies, Lawson expanded the number of its branches from 76 to 92, developing the framework to service local franchise stores in a more elaborate manner, thus assisting them in "creating a store loved by customers."
As a means of bolstering our partnerships with franchise stores, we hold events across Japan, including the Lawson Seminar event, designed for us to share Lawson's corporate policy and vision with franchise stores, the Franchise Owners’ Meeting event, intended for an open exchange of opinions, and the Area Meeting event, designed for franchise owners to share their successful experiences and business plans. Moreover, since 1993 Lawson has been continuing to run the Direct-to-President and CEO Letter program allowing the franchise owner as well as the store manager and crews to present opinions and proposals directly to the Company's top manager.
The above-mentioned initiatives are aimed at turning franchise stores and the Lawson headquarters into one team that "creates happiness and harmony" in local communities with a sense of partnership.
Furthermore, Lawson continues to share information with franchise stores by issuing a monthly internal magazine titled "Store Creation for All" as a vehicle to provide them with information on its marketing measures. In addition, the Company conducts an awareness survey program called the "Franchise Owner Questionnaire Survey" on an annual basis before using a group report to present feedback on the survey result.
Lawson has created the management owner (MO) system to support franchise owners in expanding their businesses as locally based entrepreneurs. Launched in 2010, this unique system aims to nurture outstanding MOs through training that imparts the management knowledge and skills necessary for multi-store operations. MOs work to expand their business and operate multiple stores while maintaining high customer satisfaction by cultivating store consultants (SCs), who act as business managers, as well as store managers and crews (part-time and temporary workers) within their own organizations.
At the annual MO meeting, MOs and management representatives from headquarters exchange opinions and information about opening new stores, helping MOs with their business plans. MOs also have the opportunity to offer their opinions about new products before they are released. Such opinions have been reflected in some desserts and fast foods prior to launch.
Lawson’s Step-Up Model for Franchise Owners
Human capital development is one of the most important aspects of store management. Lawson provides a wide variety of training to franchise owners, family employees and store crews (part-time and temporary workers). Prior to opening a Lawson store, the franchise owner is supposed to take the Basic Management Course (BMC) training for acquiring basic store operation skills, and to then go on to take other courses tailored to its growth level one, two, and five years after store opening, respectively.
Based on the three principles of comfort, health, and peace of mind, the Lawson Owner Welfare Association provides welfare systems directed at franchised stores. Franchise owners (the organization’s members) and their families as well as store staff and crew can use this system.
Reflecting Lawson’s efforts to create leading stores that promote health and wellness in communities, the association offers a system to encourage everyone who works at franchised stores to undergo regular health checkups as well as other special privileges, perks, and discounts aimed at promoting health.
The association also offers a range of other services:
In addition to the Lawson Owner Welfare System, we offer the Owner Support System, under which employees from headquarters can take charge and run stores while franchise owners take time off, and the Store Support Desk, which answers questions about store operations 24 hours a day.