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What is a Franchiser?

By M. Armstrong
Updated: May 17, 2024

A franchiser is a business owner who allows another party, called a franchisee, to operate a branch of his company while he retains exclusive ownership of it rights and trademarks. Through a business model called a franchise, a company owner permits a franchisee to use the name, brand and associated elements of his business in exchange for a fee and a portion of the gross revenue sales. In most instances, this is a win-win for both parties. If the franchisee successfully operates his branch of the company, then both he and the franchiser benefit from increased brand recognition and greater customer loyalty. For the franchiser, this can also lead to company expansion as more people seek to become franchisees and launch their own branch of the business.

A franchiser can use the franchise business model as a way to expand his company without the significant cost and liability of building chain stores. It provides him access to venture capital without having to relinquish control of his business through acquisition by another company. Using the dollars he gains from franchisee fees, a franchiser is able to sell more franchises — both domestically and internationally — fairly quickly. Building on an already tested brand and replication formula drastically reduces his risk.

A franchise is an attractive option for the person who wants to invest in a business but, perhaps, has neither the time nor the money to develop a trademark and the infrastructure to start his own company. It allows him to oversee a branch of an existing business by leveraging the popularity of an already established brand. An added incentive is that most franchises require a relatively small investment, and some only require only a few thousand U.S. dollars (USD) in start-up franchise costs.

Typically, a franchiser contracts with a franchisee to serve a specified territory for a fixed period of time, perhaps from five to 30 years. The franchiser supports both the investor and the brand by making training, advertising and other services available to the franchisee to help boost sales. If he invests the required franchise fee, a franchisee may operate several branches of the business. He should be aware, however, that he will most likely incur serious consequences if he cancels his franchise agreement early. Although franchises are considered temporary business investments that involve only the renting or leasing of a brand rather than the ownership of it, early termination of such an agreement is considered a breach of contract.

The franchise model works best for businesses that have a solid history of profitability and are easily copied. The U.S. has led the world in the number of franchises since the launch of the fast food franchise in the 1930s. By the start of the 21st century, the franchise model was used in almost 100 industries and generated more than $1 trillion USD in sales each year through more than 700,000 establishments. While fast food restaurants continue to lead among major franchises in the U.S., other types of franchises that rank near the top include convenience stores, hotels and cleaning companies.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Nov 15, 2014

@Vincenzo -- Well, here's the thing about franchises. They are popular for a reason -- customers like them, are loyal to them and seek them out.

It's not an all or nothing thing, you know? There is no reason a franchise can't set up in area and do well while local businesses still thrive. As an area grows, both the number of franchises and local businesses should grow along with it.

Here's something else. There are times when people move to an area and miss the franchises that are in the part of the country where they used to live. What's wrong with them wanting their favorite franchises in their new towns? That is going on across the country and is fueling the expansion of franchises around the nation.

By Vincenzo — On Nov 14, 2014

@Melonlity -- That can also be a curse in a local area as franchise stores drive out competing businesses that are unique to the area. Thanks to a bunch of franchise restaurants, stores and etc., it is getting harder to tell when you leave one part of the united States and enter another.

Franchises are highly visible and popular, but do you really want to live in a town that is full of those instead of local businesses?

By Melonlity — On Nov 14, 2014

A huge advantage is that one who buys into a franchise has a advantage against a lot of competitors. National advertising campaigns, for example, can steer customers to franchise stores in an area and away from local competition. That is a huge benefit, particularly in the food industry where competition is fierce.

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