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International Franchise Opportunities for Sale

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Current Trends and Research in International Franchising

Since the turn of the millennium, franchises have become a more potent economic force than ever before. The franchise business model has spread far and wide. It has been adopted in new industries, taking in business sectors as diverse as fitness, pet care and private equity companies, in addition to old stalwarts of the model such as fast food and lodging. It has also spread geographically, to new markets such as Europe, Asia and South America. The continued growth of the business model has sent a clear message to companies of all kinds that franchises remain a force to be reckoned with.

 

For most of the twentieth century the franchising model was confined to two principal economic sectors: fast food restaurants and lodging. These continue to be enormously profitable sectors: of the $934.6 billion franchises are expected to earn by the end of 2016, quick-service restaurants will account for $248 billion of that. Meanwhile, the lodging sector saw a 6.6 per cent growth since the previous year. Franchises as a whole are set to grow by 1.7 per cent by the end of 2016. The twenty-first century has also seen the franchising model expand into new business sectors as well as these two, often with great success. New sectors that have recently adopted the franchising model include:


• Health and fitness: a recent success story in this sector was Anytime Fitness, the world’s fastest-growing fitness chain, which was ranked in Franchise 500’s “Top 10 Franchises of 2016” 
• “Green” businesses: the growth of this sector is in part due to the US government pushing for increased funding for the energy sector
• Luxury retail: many companies have realised this sector is very well-suited to franchising, and the sector is “expected to double in size to £12.2 billion by 2017” 
• Private equity companies: these include Sentinel Capital, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners and Apollo Global Management, who have all adopted the franchise model 

 

In addition to spreading into new business sectors, the franchise structure is also continuing to gain ground internationally, into new locations which are favourable for starting a business. Companies are increasingly learning that “overseas markets are still ravenous for American products and services”. Companies that had not considered going abroad are finding themselves conducting international research and tweaking their strategic plans to include expansion into new foreign markets. Over 400 American companies have already franchised abroad. Since franchise regulations tend to be lax in many areas of Europe and beyond, numerous opportunities that loosely follow the franchise structure have cropped up in these areas.

 

When a franchise decides to expand into a new country, it is imperative that the franchisor take all aspects into consideration, including the economic, political and social climates of the region they are targeting. Important considerations include:


• the economic health of the region
• whether or not resources and capital are available to the target group of qualified potential franchisees
• the possibility of supply-chain issues, such as ready availability of fuel or other necessities required to run the franchise
• the political climate of the region The economic and political future of this region, including the possibility of political instability or a rise in regulations that hamper franchise growth, must be taken into account as well.

 

For a recent example of how factors such as these can impact upon franchises, consider the UK’s recent decision to leave the EU, which could potentially affect franchisors’ future decisions to expand into the UK.

 

However, there are other important factors (so-called “market attractiveness factors”) which draw franchisors to certain markets, such as the types of franchise regulations in place in the region and the structure of the target market. For example, Europe’s franchise-friendly environment and comparatively lax regulations on franchising offered Dunkin’ Donuts the opportunity in 2015 to roll out branches in Austria, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Iceland and Sweden.
   

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