How AI Can Bring Clarity to Your Franchise Site Selection Checklist

By adding AI to the mix, and you can untangle the intricacies of each franchise site without repeating your calculations with every franchisee.

Sloppy location choices can silence your franchise ambitions before you even get a chance to write your 10-year plan. With artificial intelligence (AI) on your side, though, you can tell if that spectacular site can really generate the sales it promises. Your franchise site selection checklist can be reduced to simple metrics. Add AI to the mix, and you can untangle the intricacies of each site without repeating your calculations with every franchisee. Your checklist should include:

The ROI to Meet a Five-Year Pro-Forma

You’ll never make it past your first year if your rental costs only fit your 10-year profits. Your location rent and construction costs must fit the revenue projections of your first few years. AI can calculate your risk/reward metrics at 5 and 10 years, then weigh them against your profit projections.

Projections About Your Commercial Space

Every commercial property has its own successes and failures. Premium malls decay and become abandoned. New strip malls rise to greatness, then sink with lost tenancies. One dying Walmart can destroy the future of a booming commercial hub, so each site must be studied carefully. Are there signs of decay? Tenant evictions? What about crime spikes? Your franchise site selection checklist must include them. AI can’t do all your due diligence, but it can crunch the data you’ve collected to give you a clearer picture of tomorrow.

Demographic Analysis

franchise site selection checklist

AI can help you cope with the complexities of shopping behavior. It will collect evidence on your behalf, then generate metrics and assessments to untangle the complexities. Your target market isn’t likely to travel beyond their daily routes just to support your business. High-volume traffic doesn’t automatically deliver the right traffic, but AI is an over-achiever. It can simulate the future in living color. Now you can translate your demographics into location choices that fit your customers’ behavior. A demographic forecast at each site helps you to find profitable locations that fit the income, gender, and occupation of your buyers.

Product Assortments

If your site is in a low-population area, no amount of data analysis will generate profits. Restaurants might thrive in the very same shopping centers that fail spa concepts. Parents might shop on the opposite side of the neighborhood as 20-something revelers. A site’s economic attributes must be weighed against your build budget. AI will wade through that information to highlight potential problems related to your niche.


A left-hand or U-turn can transform a spectacular site into an abandoned one. Traffic lights and one-lane traffic can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line, too. Deep learning can parse massive amounts of traffic data to pick up patterns. Add process automation to make sense of foot traffic, and you have a detailed picture of the future. As a franchisor, you can tweak machine learning systems to reflect square footage, average traffic, promotions and the like. That means if you own franchises in several niches, you can create a unique site selection checklist for each industry you serve. If you’re running a new campaign, simply use your AI tools to find out how well it’s appealing to your customers.

In the past, franchisors had to climb into a car to assess every site. Luckily, you can put those colored pens and maps away, now. The digital revolution has finally entered the franchise industry, so you can peak into the future of all your brands. Think of AI as the business scientist on your shoulder. It’s turned the humble franchise site selection checklist into a razor-sharp, evidence-based tool.