Today's Restaurant Franchise Trends There's plenty of progress among restaurant franchisors.

By Jeff Cheatham

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Like many other industries, the restaurant sector is constantly evolving. Candidates can investigate restaurant-related franchise concepts that serve everything from flavored ice and vegan-only menu items to specialty coffee shops and Korean BBQ. But progress in the restaurant franchising category is also notable in the way the industry is expanding far beyond dining options. Several new diverse concepts now offer ownership opportunities for catering, healthy eating programs, meal planning consultancies and even chef training schools for the foodservice and hospitality industry. Many of these concepts are putting a greater focus on technological advancements, transforming how restaurant franchises operate, serve customers and process payments.

If you truly want to be a self-styled restaurateur, your options among franchised business models are as diverse as global cuisine itself. Restaurant and hospitality concepts are available at every price point, which means there's an affordable way to get a seat at the table for any entrepreneur minded individual. As you'll note from the progress of several of the brands listed on the recently released Entrepreneur 2022 Top Food Franchises Ranking, the restaurant industry is a picture of progress and innovation.

Related: A Taste Of The Future: How Tech Is Revolutionizing The Food Industry

Variety is the spice of life

One measure of the industry's progress can be seen in the increasing amount of dining options and diverse business models available to franchisees. Which is also helping to dispel one of the most common myths associated with franchising – that it's mostly made up of fast-food outlets. In reality, these quick-service restaurants (QSRs) actually account for less than a quarter of all franchised establishments. There are also FSRs – full-service restaurants, fast-casual, fine dining, ghost kitchens, mobile food trucks, and other franchise models that specialize in catering, employee training, and food delivery. In today's restaurant and hospitality industry, some franchise owners may never see the inside of a kitchen at all.

Digital interaction makes this brand a smooth operator

Smoothie King earned a 13th place ranking in Entrepreneur's 2022 Franchise 500 list, not surprising when you consider the brand's mindset and approach in providing the right technological tools for their franchisees. With over 1,000 locations in the U.S., Smoothie King places a focus on connecting with consumers through the digital touchpoints of their mobile app. The brand believes that the purchasing process begins long before customers set foot in a store and have dedicated time and effort to build consumer loyalty through mobile interactions.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

Automation nation

If automation continues to drive innovation in the restaurant and hospitality industry, we'll no longer be able to place the blame for incorrect orders on drive-thru personnel. That's because big name trendsetting franchisors such as McDonald's, Dunkin' and KFC are all investing in self-ordering kiosks. Consumers can now enter these establishments and make their own customized selections directly on a touchscreen. As automated processes such as self-ordering kiosks continue to catch on with even more franchise brands, Burger King will no longer be the only place where you can have it your way.

Generating value

There are countless other examples of restaurant franchisors utilizing technology to raise brand awareness, target consumers, and lower operating costs. These, and other innovations are generating value for franchisees, and strengthening franchise systems for the brands who invest in technology. The future may rely upon comprehensive digital platforms that can streamline efficiencies and profitability down to the franchise unit level. All while greatly improving customer loyalty and experiences. As franchisors reinvest these savings back into their operation and expansion efforts, the restaurant industry will really steadily become an even more tasty opportunity for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When it comes to the best franchise concepts by category, Entrepreneur has you covered. We have business opportunities to share from over a dozen industries. Everything from automotive, home services, and childcare to food, health and beauty, and everything in between. To see what's in our franchisor database, be sure to check out Entrepreneur's Best of the Best Rankings.

Related: Entrepreneur's 2022 Top Food Franchises Ranking
Wavy Line
Jeff Cheatham

Founder and CEO of Creative Content

Jeff Cheatham is the founder and CEO of Creative Content, a full-service copywriting and public relations firm. He's based in Dallas and works with multiple B2B clients and over a dozen franchise brands to develop proprietary content campaigns for lead generation and sales development programs.


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