Franchising, as we know it today, started as far back as 1850 when the Singer Sewing Machine Company contracted independent traders to sell and maintain their machines. Today, franchising is commonly associated with the fast food restaurant sector, which includes many household names that originally started in the USA, including McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway and Starbucks.
The price of a McDonalds franchise in the UK is usually between £150,000 and £500,000, depending on the projected turnover of the outlet. However, lower cost franchised businesses now offer a wide range of goods and services going way beyond the ubiquitous hamburger.
Although it seems unlikely that any additional large hamburger restaurant chains will be launched in the UK, the existing franchisors are still jockeying for position amongst themselves, while also attempting to compete with franchised coffee outlets such as Starbucks and Coffee Republic and sandwich providers like Subway and La Baguette Du Jour.
Franchised pizza delivery is also booming, with Domino’s, Perfect Pizza and Pizza Hut all competing with independents in the home delivery market. However, food delivery franchises are not restricted to fast food; frozen ready meals, sandwiches, organic food and even pet food delivery franchises are becoming increasingly popular.
The biggest growth area in UK franchising is in the service sector. The provision of marketing support, general administration and invoicing by franchisors is encouraging many individuals to sign up for franchises. Franchises are available for many different kinds of professional services including:
legal advice (including will writing);
IT, internet, recruitment and marketing consultancy;
education and training provision;
A multitude of franchises is available for tradesmen supporting the domestic maintenance market. They include:
home improvements (internal and external, including plumbing, kitchen fitting and furniture repair);
driveway repair and replacement;
mobile motor mechanics and bodywork repairers;
car cleaning and valeting.
Probably the most popular area for business service franchises is office and industrial cleaning. However, many other franchises are on offer in this sector including gas and electrical appliance testing, portable air conditioner and generator hire, manufacture and installation of signs and billboards, to name just a few.
Finally, a surprising number of companies with a presence in the high street offer the opportunity to franchise a retail outlet on their behalf. Well known names offering shop franchises include:
Thresher’s Off Licences;
Bang & Olufsen;
Franchises are available for the provision of an incredible range of goods and services.
Although fast food outlets have led the way in franchising, many other types of businesses are now available for franchise;
many independent professional advisors now operate under the franchise umbrella;
franchises for home and motor maintenance are becoming increasingly popular;
some well known national companies offer the opportunity to run retail shops via a franchise.