The franchise industry has been growing in leaps and bounds over the years. Originally, franchisees stuck to just owning one location and were hand-on bosses who were involved in the daily operations of the store. Today it is more common for franchisees to be building their own mini empire in their particular territory. They are less likely to be running daily operations, instead preferring to be in the background growing their reach.
With all the changes, there has never been a better time than the present to be a franchisor or a franchisee, especially in the food and beverage business. If you been on the fence about whether owning a franchise is right for you, now is the time to commit. As we begin another year, let’s look at 10 upcoming franchising trends for 2017.
Trend 1: Multi-brand franchisees
We are seeing a rising trend for 2017 in franchisees with more than one brand. It has become a popular way to increase cash flow and as protection against ebbs and flows in business. It is called covering all your bases.
Trend 2: Green businesses
While restaurant franchises are still very popular, there has been an increased interest in green businesses, especially in the energy sector. More and more people are realizing that the threat of global warming and limited resources can no longer be ignored. In the coming year, we will see more energy-saving services for both the home and the office. We will see more buildings being constructed from recycled materials and more LEED-certifications. Franchises that offer handyman services will experience a boost in opportunities in 2017.
Trend 3: Health and fitness
While this area has been booming for a while, 2017 will see a continual growth. Because of a growing focus on healthier living, franchises that focus on fitness, health or personal care are sure to be popular. If you have been wanting to own a gym, fitness center or even a spa, now is the time to do it. Everyone enjoys a different exercise experience so there is a lot of room to grow in this industry. Even franchises that sell healthier fast food and those who sell nutritional services will see a spike. There is a particularly special need for exercise and nutrition services for seniors.
Trend 4: Fast casual restaurants
There is a new type of restaurant in town and it is resonating with a lot of people. It is the middle ground between fast food and casual dining. If McDonald’s were fast food and casual dining was Applebee’s then Five Guys would be fast casual. Fast casual restaurants offer you higher quality food and fresher ingredients, but still with a focus on cheaper prices and fast service. These restaurants don’t offer full table service like casual dining restaurants do. With the increased focus on better nutrition, more and more customers will prefer these restaurants to the traditional fast food joints.
Trend 5: Build your own
Customers are demanding things done more their way. They want to customize their orders to their exact specifications and have it delivered to them exactly how they want it. If you want to keep your customers happy, you will need to find more ways to allow them to customize your products and services. More fast food franchises are allowing their customers to use a touch screen menu to choose everything from burger size, type of bun to the toppings.
Trend 6: On demand products/services
Customers are again in control of their experiences and they want to be able get products and services on demand. That is why services like Uber and on-demand TV are so popular. Franchise owners looking to grow their customer base should focus more this year on the creating more on demand products and services.
Trend 7: The importance of social media grows
Everyone these days seems to have some sort of social media and both good and bad news can travel fast so it is important that you have a social media policy in place for your franchise. Also, you need to improve your complaint process. If one customer’s complaint went viral, it could really damage your franchise’s reputation. You need to always be in control of your image out there in social media land. Make sure you have someone on your team that focuses on social media.
Trend 8: Less Traditional Advertising
As more customers get most of their information digitally now, the need for more traditional advertising is waning even more than it has been in the last few years. In 2017, franchises should make digital advertising a bigger part of their advertising budget with a special focus on increasing video content. Research shows that consumers prefer video to text hands down and your messaging should reflect this.
Trend 9: Necessities
As we wait to see what the next presidency will bring, franchisees are going to be playing it safe by focusing on products and services that are recession proof. No matter the condition of our economy, there are certain things we will always need like education, childcare, auto repair and home repair. Even when people don’t have a lot of money, there are certain things they will still need.
Trend 10: Selling experiences
Franchises need to think outside the box when it comes to our younger generation. They are less interested in accumulating expensive things and more interested in living life and having fun experiences. Fancy clothes and jewelry doesn’t appeal to them as much as it does to older generations. If you are starting a new franchise in 2017, you should think more in terms of selling experiences than in selling products and services.
What will 2017 bring? That’s the fun part of a new year. There is a long blank slate waiting to be filled up and we are not quite sure what is coming down the pike. Use these upcoming trends to help give you a leg up in your business this year so that 2017 is filled with a lot of success for you. Here’s to a wonderful 2017!