When you think of a franchise, you think of food — Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds. Both of these companies have strong brands and bring in a great deal of money. We even see ads looking for people to become franchisees. What exactly is a franchise? And why do people buy into them? When you (the franchisee) buy a part of a business from the owner (franchisor), you are getting the rights to sell the company’s products and/or services as well as use its brand, processes, business model and equipment. Although you pay the franchisor an initial fee and royalties pertaining to the business, you do get support and use of the trademark. It’s important to note that the franchisor retains the license to the business whereas the franchisee can only use it. The franchisor grows his business through the franchises. It is not the same as growing a business by increasing its locations (e.g. Starbucks).
People are quick to buy a franchise because they are essentially cash cows. They also want to learn how to manage a business. That said, let’s take a look at some franchises that will be popular this year.
- McDonald’s — This will always be a popular franchise. The company started out as a small hamburger shop and became a multi-million dollar corporation. Brothers Maurice (Mac) and Richard McDonald opened their restaurant in 1948 in San Bernardino, California. Restaurant equipment salesman Ray Kroc saw how the brothers sold their food cheaply with a self-serve counter and came up with the idea of franchising the restaurant. The first franchise opened in 1954 in Des Plaines, Illinois. McDonalds continues to grow based on its brand, quality of food and reinvention (e.g. renovated restaurants).
- Dunkin Donuts — The fast food chain is now called Dunkin (or DD). The franchise decided last year to drop the “Donuts” and focus on beverages. Like McDonalds, the chain has grown due to its brand, products and convenience. It was started by William Rosenberg in 1948 and was originally called Open Kettle. The mission was to sell donuts and coffee quickly. However, after meeting with consultants, it was changed to “make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in modern, well-merchandised stores.” The name was changed to Dunkin Donuts in 1950 and the first franchise opened in 1955. The mission holds true today with numerous franchises across the nation.
- The UPS Store — Originally called Mail Boxes Etc., this postal services company grew and embraced technology. It created the “business services category” with its digital capabilities for small businesses. In 2001, UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc. and became the world’s “largest franchisor of retail shipping, postal, printing, and business services centers.” In 2003, the UPS Store Brand was introduced. In 2012, the Mail Boxes Etc. was absorbed into the UPS Store. Last year, the UPS Store was ranked #1 by Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual “Franchise 500.” There is no doubt this franchise will continue to be popular.