This year, franchising faces extreme change. Franchisees must deal with the strong possibility that their respective franchisors will broaden their marketplace by selling their goods and services on the Internet. "It'll be very difficult for [franchisees] to understand that `Internet' means there's no territory," says Seid. "One of the trends you're going to see down the road is a more rapid acceleration of nonterritorially protected franchises."
And, like Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Arby's Inc. and Nashville, Tennessee-based Shoney's Inc., you may encounter many more franchisors selling their company stores either to focus their primary attention on franchisees (as in Arby's case) or to get rid of stores performing at less-than-spectacular standards. "Franchisors are finding it hard to manage the labor requirements and responsibilities [of company-owned units] from a distance," says Wilkerson.
Management and training within franchise companies will also be examined with a closer eye--all in an effort to better serve the ever-important consumer. And the sudden recognition of America's astoundingly large Latino community is at the very forefront of training reform. "If you're going into franchising today, you'd better learn how to speak Spanish," says Wilkerson. And not just for your customers' sake but to communicate with an increasingly Hispanic employee pool. "If you don't," warns Wilkerson, "someone else is going to get them. And they're also going to get the consumers to go with them."
As you can tell, accommodation is the key to the new century. Cater to society--give customers that one-stop shop they've always wanted. Embrace technology, because, quite frankly, if you don't, everyone else will. Wilkerson puts it in a nutshell: "The real future of franchising will be to provide fast, focused, friendly, as well as flexible, service." And consumers will eat it up.
Franchise Recruiters Ltd., (708) 757-5595, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael H. Seid & Associates LLC, 94 Mohegan Dr., West Hartford, CT 06117, email@example.com