5 Trends That Will Shape Franchising Forever
Entrepreneur|January - February 2022
The pandemic set many changes in motion, from the brands that thrive to the people who are becoming new franchisees. Here are the shifts that will grow even stronger in 2022 and beyond.
By Kim Kavin

Could you see yourself starting a business in the next two years? If so, you’re in good company. Millions of Americans spent lockdown figuring out how to take the leap, and many of those people are turning to franchising to help them do it. So what can we expect from the franchises that all of these budding entrepreneurs will join, or start? Our experts say to look for everything from a boom in plant-based restaurants to shored-up supply chains, and an increased focus on work-life balance. If there’s one lesson we learned from the last two years, it’s that we must be prepared for the unexpected. But some shifts are solid enough to endure any fresh chaos. Here are five trends to watch for in the next 24 months.

1/ There Will Be a Significant Influx of First-Time Franchisees

One of the pandemic’s biggest surprises has been “The Great Resignation,” with Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs at a record pace. New-business applications were on a record pace in 2021. And this past September, nearly a third of U.S. workers reported that they’re quitting to start their own businesses— with 60% saying they used lockdown time to educate themselves on how to do it.

These budding entrepreneurs make for an overflowing honeypot of potential first-time franchisees, with industry data showing that nearly a third of independent franchise owners see the franchising model as critical in helping them become their own bosses. This past August alone, almost 3% of workers resigned from their jobs—a recorded high, according to the federal government. So the entrepreneurial mind-shift is well underway and expected to continue in years to come.

Franchise brands as wide-ranging as Pet Evolution, H&H Bagels, and Goldfish Swim School are all signaling interest in tapping into this newly available pool of talent by bringing on first-time franchisees. In some cases, such as with Another Broken Egg Cafe, first-time franchisees are helping brands launch into whole new markets. Franchisors are looking to attract all kinds of first-timers, either for smaller investment, single-unit territories, or as larger-investment, multi unit partners.

“We’re finding some first time franchisees, and we need to find more,” says Andrew McCuiston, president of Goldfish Swim School. “They can do great. The thing we are looking for is first-timers who have the ability to scale. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that anybody who has the ability to operate multiple locations of this brand, it’s better for them and it’s better for us. They’re able to build a great team and get the business to go.”

2/ Work-Life Flexibility Will Be a Key Incentive for Potential Franchisees

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