The Lowdown Down Under
Entrepreneur|July 2015
Australians are franchise fanatics. But can their concepts succeed in the States? A number of brands are poised to find out.
Jason Daley
The Lowdown Down Under

Take a walk down the street in Sydney or Brisbane, Australia, the world’s most franchise-crazy nation, and you might see a few familiar American brands like Subway and McDonald’s. But citizens of Oz are more likely to opt for a popular, homegrown brand like Donut King, Muffin Break, Bakers Delight, Mad Mex or Dymocks bookstore. Down Under, Wendys isn’t Dave Thomas’ hamburger kingdom; it’s a South Australia-born ice cream franchise.

Concepts that might have a hard time taking off in the U.S., like Melbourne-based Roll’d, which sells Vietnamese street food, and Schnitz, a Polish-owned purveyor of pan-cooked schnitzel, are franchise hits, while popular U.S. franchises like Taco Bell have turned tail and pulled out after failing to catch on.

But although many of the names may be unfamiliar, there’s plenty about franchising Down Under that Americans can relate to: the attitude, branding and overall feel of the industry. That’s because for decades Australia has looked to the U.S. for franchising inspiration. And now, as the Aussie franchise culture matures, many brands are poised to enter the U.S. market.

Franchising has been booming in Oz over the past two decades. The Franchise Council of Australia estimates that the country has more franchise systems per capita than any other, with 1,160 franchise brands—86 percent of which are Australia-based—serving a population of 23 million. Some 79,000 franchise units employ more than 460,000 people, bringing 144 billion Australian dollars ($113 billion U.S.) to the economy in 2014.

This story is from the July 2015 edition of Entrepreneur.

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This story is from the July 2015 edition of Entrepreneur.

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