Your Pie knows that the secret to success often lies in the opinions of its franchisees. After all, they’re the ones engrained in the local communities, experiencing firsthand what works—and what doesn’t work—when it comes to Your Pie’s daily operations.

For that reason, Your Pie has come to value the insight produced from its Franchise Advisory Board. Founded in 2012—a short four years after Your Pie’s founding—the group’s purpose is to help the growing brand move forward in the best direction possible. This is achieved by regularly meeting with and listening to some of the brand’s top-performing franchisees.

“As the brand grew over the years, we realized it was important to get franchise owners involved in the evolution of the brand. By the time we had eight to 10 stores in the Your Pie system, we decided to pick four franchisees to help us out,” said Bucky Cook, the chief executive officer of franchising for Your Pie. “In my past experience, I’ve seen how valuable bringing the best and brightest franchisees together can be for a brand.”

According to Cook, Your Pie uses its Franchise Advisory Board as a sounding board of sorts. Franchisees can come to the brand’s executive team and voice their opinions, their likes and their dislikes. They’re also free to provide insight on where they’d like to see Your Pie go in the years to come.

“Many companies are very top down when it comes to their management. But at Your Pie, we want our franchisees to help us make decisions. We won’t do anything without their buy-in—it’s our job to lead them, not force them,” Cook said. “This helps us understand how the franchise owner is thinking. From the executive perspective, we don’t always see things the way the owners do. They’re on the ground floor of the brand day in and day out, and they can offer a unique perspective that we might not otherwise experience. For that reason, they can help us sift through the good ideas and the bad—the high priority ideas to the lesser priority ideas. It’s important to commit time and resources as a brand to listening to the entire franchise community.”

To date, Your Pie has made several adjustments to their system because of the Franchise Advisory Board. From tedious details to making functional and operational changes, no idea is off limits. And so far, that input has gone a long way.

“We’ve looked at everything. From changes in the way our stores are laid out, to the way the model operates, we’ve made decisions based on the opinions of our experienced franchisees,” Cook said. “We have refocused our marketing and redirected marketing expenditures. These are all changes we wouldn’t have been able to implement without franchisee input. Simply put, having a Franchise Advisory Board is a mechanism we use to sort through priorities as viewed by the franchise owner and the community they’re in—and ultimately, that kind of information is invaluable to a brand’s long-term success.”