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Wednesday 7th December, 2022

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10 U.S. brands set for global domination

Insight

10 U.S. brands set for global domination

‘A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all’, so the saying goes. But how does that translate for international brands? And, more importantly, is it enough?

The simple answer, of course, is no. To be successful in new markets, franchisors must demonstrate agility, responsiveness, an intricate understanding of localized regulations as well as having a vision and values that transcend language and cultural differences. Little surprise then, that such brands prove so appealing to prospective investors.

We turned our attention to the franchisors dominating their respective industries on a global scale, as well as the exciting trailblazers preparing for international expansion, to ask: ‘What’s driving their success?’

Whilst always a popular sector, during the pandemic, care brands were propelled into the limelight. Nebraska-based care franchise, HomeCare Advocacy Network, has a strong presence in the mid-west of the U.S.; Nebraska itself having been identified as one of the top 10 states for franchise growth in 2022.

The brand offers two options for franchisees, the first as a local office of HomeCare Advocacy Network delivering care to clients in their own homes, a model very familiar in almost every global market. The second, and one which truly sets the brand apart, gives existing care homes and senior living communities the opportunity to access the domiciliary care market through a white-label partnership.

Over the next five years, HomeCare Advocacy Network is looking to capitalize on its core value as ‘a business dedicated to the genuine success of others’ to expand its operations overseas, as president and CEO Mark Goetz explains: “At our core, we provide exceptional care to our patients, but also treat everyone within our team fairly and compassionately. We place huge value on the importance of our staff and their wellbeing – right down to the fact that we require franchisees to go through in-person caregiver training prior to launch. In preparation for our expansion, we’ve created a marketing and development services package for franchisees to access practical support as they develop in their region.

“We’re actively seeking master franchisees in Switzerland, Germany and the U.K. followed closely by the Netherlands and Sweden. An opportunity which is best suited to those who can exploit their positions as existing leaders, able to overcome local obstacles, whilst championing our values across the divide.”

As HomeCare Advocacy Network demonstrates, certain sectors have retained and even increased their appeal in the last two years. Despite challenges such as pressure on margins, sustainability and regulatory compliance, the U.K. restaurant market is set to grow 59 per cent in 2022, whilst the U.S. food service industry is expected to hit $898bn in sales, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. In Europe, the fast-casual dining market is likely to reach revenues of around $17bn by 2024. Prospective franchisees hungry for a slice of the action could do worse than to turn their attention to food and beverage brands.

Taste sensations

Take Marco’s Pizza, a brand poised for global domination. With $1bn in annual systemwide sales and 1,100-plus stores, it’s America’s fastest-growing pizza brand and ranked the number five U.S. brand in systemwide sales. Currently, Marco’s has more than 225 stores in various stages of development with more than 350 agreements signed. This leading pizza brand expects strong penetration in all areas of the U.S., particularly growing deeper into Southeast and Southwest regions, along with plans to further expand outside of the U.S., with Mexico and Central America set for international growth in 2023.

Multi-unit growth plays a strategic role in Marco’s rapid expansion, with nearly half of its current franchise network made up of multi-unit operators. Behind the brand’s milestone 1,100th store is Kal Gullapalli, a seasoned franchisee with a desire to grow a 100-plus Marco’s store portfolio by 2025. Marco’s is seeing current franchisees doubling down on expansion and riding the wave of the brand’s explosive, record-breaking sales growth by expanding and growing their sales territories.

Marco’s recently announced the investment of millions of dollars in technology innovations over the next few years designed to create business efficiencies, maximize order growth, and improve the customer experience. At the crux of Marco’s ongoing success is a renowned product: its high-quality pizza known for its dough made from scratch with its trademark golden crust, freshly mixed herbs and spices, and three fresh signature kinds of cheese. Paired with a proven business model, best-in-class tools to support franchisees, and a world-class executive leadership team that packs more than 200 years of collective experience, Marco’s looks to be an unstoppable force in the industry.

A brand similarly focused on innovation and growth, Yogurtland was a pioneer of the self-serve frozen yogurt concept that saw CAGR exceeding 55 per cent for its sales and unit growth between 2008 and 2013. Priding itself on its originality, the brand boasts a range of over 200 flavors crafted from scratch using real ingredients. For a truly immersive experience, franchisees can select flavors most appropriate to their region. With its in-house flavorologists, the next phase of development will see diversified new flavors for its plant-based range and a new product range specifically for its international markets. Yogurtland also has plans for exciting new menu extensions that have been developed by working closely with culinary consultants. Operating from a brand-owned dairy, Yogurtland ensures quality control and assurance, and manages lead time, allowing the franchise to strengthen its growing international business.

Supported by its U.S. headquarters, Yogurtland has franchisees operating in Thailand, Indonesia, Dubai and Omar. Aiming to enter additional international space, Sam Yoon, president of Yogurtland, says: “We work collaboratively with our franchisees, providing business consulting support and training to ensure they are equipped with the tools they need to make an impact in their region. While we are always true to our brand, we encourage our franchisees to localize their offering, reflecting our commitment to understanding and celebrating the communities within the global marketplace. Our recent launch of EggNBird and Holsom brands reflect our enterprise strategy to become a multi-brand franchisor that will allow us to build scale and sharpen the competitive edge for our franchise systems.”

So, who wants coffee?

Most people, as it turns out! Steeped in over four decades of history, PJ’s Coffee guarantees a quality product, a memorable experience and a warm welcoming environment. Since the brand’s acquisition in 2008, the company has tripled in size and now has over 150 franchised locations across 14 U.S. states, as well as occupying an international presence in Vietnam and Kuwait.

During the typically challenging business climate from 2020-21, PJ’s Coffee welcomed just over 100 new franchisees and opened 40 new locations. Its solutions-focused approach of a drive-thru facility at the majority of stores delivered a 12.1 per cent sales increase in 2020, and a staggering 17.8 per cent sales increase in 2021. This nearly 30 per cent increase over a 24-month period is testament to PJ’s being well-positioned in a resilient industry that continues to thrive.

While meeting an increase in demand, PJ’s Coffee isn’t compromising on quality, committing to using only the top 1 per cent of arabica beans and small-batch roasting only 300 pounds or less. Setting itself apart from competitors, PJ’s Coffee complements its premium drinks offering with a range of freshly baked pastries, hot breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and gourmet sweet and savory snacks, including the beignet, a French-inspired pastry, not offered by any other U.S. coffee franchise.

PJ’s Coffee has a robust support system for new franchisees, with a location development team who provides support on financing, real estate, and location design and construction. A dedicated operations team provides support in the initial setup and training of systems, whilst a seasoned marketing team provides pre- and post-opening assistance with in-store POP collateral, digital media, social media, PR, and much more. Committed to supporting franchisees on their journey to success, PJ’s Coffee use Franchise Business Consultants who coach, mentor and train each franchisee as they develop into proficient and successful operators.

Every now and then, we see a brand come along that can capitalize on multiple booming markets. Dedicated to changing young lives, Little Kitchen Academy, the key ingredient for an independent child, is the first-of-its-kind Montessori-inspired cooking academy that provides a safe, nurturing and inclusive space for children to learn and develop. With 30 per cent of the brand’s intake being exceptional and SEN learners, Little Kitchen Academy provides a unique respite for children with additional needs to engage and connect with people their own age, to overcome food trauma and to become independent, assured individuals, equipped with the skills required to navigate adult life.

Carving out a new niche in a highly fragmented industry, Little Kitchen Academy’s flagship launched in Vancouver in 2019. The brand now has over 240 locations operational or in development and has formed global partnerships with several companies – the majority being large multi-unit global brand partners like BIRKENSTOCK – all committed to enabling the Academy to offer an authentic and sustainable experience. Focused on growth to international markets, Little Kitchen Academy is engaged in franchise discussions in the U.K., Spain, the Middle East, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

“Little Kitchen Academy is a family legacy,” says Brian Curin, co-founder/co-CEO at Little Kitchen Academy. “Alongside my wife and our three daughters, our commitment to enriching the lives of young people has also improved our own. Seeing the impact of our work is so powerful and has struck a deep chord with us, encouraging us to celebrate the common threads of humanity and what brings us together. We believe in a holistic approach to learning and life. Little Kitchen Academy provides an experience that transcends languages, cultures and geography in an innovative and mindful way, giving us a huge opportunity to share our concept globally.”

Re-educate yourself

Perhaps the care and food service sectors are a little too obvious in terms of demand and scope for growth. And perhaps, when it comes to franchises in the education and children’s sectors, you’ve deemed them to be nothing more than lifestyle opportunities. If that’s the case, think again.

Since its inception in 2000, the global in-home and online tutoring franchise, Tutor Doctor, has expanded across 16 countries in five different continents and is proudly represented by over 700 franchised territories. With development focus plans in the United States, Canada, U.K., Australia, South Africa and Latin America, global president of Tutor Doctor, Frank Milner, sees no signs of progress slowing as the education franchise reaches more students in need of its services.

“With more parents around the world turning to private education services to supplement the learning lost from the pandemic, the global private tutoring market is projected to reach $200bn by 2026,” explains Milner. “And with no evident market leader, extremely high fragmentation, explosive growth and built-in recession resistance, the business opportunity in the global tutoring market is positioned for massive success – but only with brands that are planned professionally and with scalability in mind. That’s where Tutor Doctor comes in. Franchisees are given complete access to the most cutting-edge business practices and technology while being supported by a world-class team from the moment initial training begins.

“Globally, over 200,000 students have successfully taken advantage of Tutor Doctor’s services, an impressive figure when considering the end value of our service is no longer needing our services. But by understanding our industry and by constantly being one step ahead of the curve, Tutor Doctor has become the leading voice in a crowded market. It’s this position that we now occupy that has helped Tutor Doctor to become recognized for its expertise by key governing entities, including being the only tutoring franchise that has become accredited by the National Tutoring Programme in the U.K..”

Meanwhile, Valhallan, the very definition of a trailblazer, is a fast-growing U.S.-born esports franchise whose mission is to guide youth gamers to realize their potential in both esports and in life. Launched by FranchiCzar, developers of world-class software and services designed to help franchises scale their growth, the Valhallan team has years of experience including building one of the largest kids STEM franchises across three countries, as well as developing platforms, curricula, training systems and multiple franchise brands. Based in Houston, Texas, Valhallan believes that video games can be a means of enriching the lives of young people whilst creating a community.

Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries globally, with more than 90 per cent of children and 50 per cent of adults spending their free time playing video games. With youth esports programs in high demand, Valhallan already has several locations in markets throughout the U.S. The franchise has recently expanded to the U.K. and expects to award its first franchises in September, eventually entering eager markets across every continent.

As part of its global takeover, and to further support the brand, in 2022 Valhallan has made key acquisitions including the North American Esports League and United Federation of Esports Athletes, with a new U.K. esports league soon to follow. The moves establish Valhallan as the world’s largest coach-led esports league for seven to 18-year-olds, and a global leader in youth esports, bringing its exclusive training program and arenas together with high-profile tournament play.

“We are taking a front-row seat in the explosive gaming community and multi-billion-dollar esports industry,” says David Graham, entrepreneur, long-time gamer and founder of Valhallan. “After a successful debut in the U.S. and with the U.K. quick to follow, our goal is to be the only partner you need to run a successful esports business across the globe.”

And now, for something completely different

Finding its way to the top of consumer priorities, both domestic and commercial, is cleanliness. With over 50 years’ experience in commercial cleaning and a global network of over 7,500 local offices, Jani-King is the world’s largest franchise company, with operations in 10 countries. The originator of the commercial cleaning franchise concept in 1969, Jani-King has an impressive list of global customers and a proven track record of success.

“Our international expansion has been accomplished through an exceptional network of master franchisees,” explained Mike Biggs, senior VP, sports partnerships & global market sales. “The collective knowledge within the master franchisee network is an unparalleled asset to which new master franchisees enjoy unfettered access. While Jani-King has an established brand because of its longevity in the commercial cleaning franchise industry, what continues to spur growth are the successes of our current master franchisees and their readiness to continue to invest in additional territories.”

The commercial cleaning industry has long been a proven, stable, and growing industry. Case in point — forecasts for 2027 highlight a CAGR of six per cent from 2020 to 2027 to a staggering $468.2bn. During the pandemic, Jani-King regions across the globe expanded services to include disinfecting, and now, as more businesses place a higher importance on cleaning and disinfecting, Jani-King regions continue to flourish post-pandemic.

“Jani-King’s path to worldwide coverage will see the brand journey to all markets where the franchising concept is valued and supported; and where labor law is business-friendly,” says Biggs. “We are seeking individuals or groups with knowledge and connections within a particular country to own, promote, develop and protect the Jani-King brand and all it stands for with our training, support, vast experience and resources.”

Packing a punch for prospective franchisees, 9Round is the world’s largest kickboxing franchise both in gyms and online. Founded in 2008 by professional kickboxer Shannon Hudson and his wife, Heather, 9Round brings kickboxing fitness training to the average person in a 30-minute, trainer-guided, full body circuit format. Combining the benefits of a class workout with the freedom to attend at a day and time that suits, 9Round’s program is developed around a proprietary and copyrighted system of nine challenging workout stations created by Shannon himself. An empowering and inclusive community, 60 per cent of members internationally are women.

With the early adoption of fitness technology, members benefit from 9ROUND PULSE, the brand’s wearable heart-rate technology, to track effort, heart rate, calories burned and workout time during each 9Round session. In 2020, the brand launched 9RoundNOW, an official app, currently rolled out across the U.S. and Canada, that provides on-demand trainer-led workouts via video instruction by 9Round’s team of professional trainers.

Today, there are over 600 9Round locations open and operating throughout 41 U.S. states and in 20 countries including Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Ecuador, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and Vietnam. Shannon Hudson, founder & CEO says, “We are excited about our plans to appoint country or regionally exclusive master franchisees across Europe. Our start-up cost is low compared to other boutique concept fitness programs, which creates a huge opportunity for scalability.”

The human connection

In a discussion about global domination, it feels appropriate to come full circle to consider a brand whose services have the potential to impact human beings in quite literally every developed nation. Aging and the health implications that come with it – physical, mental, social and environmental – affect us all one way or another. Franchisees compelled to invest in this industry often do so out of personal calling as much as financial aspirations. A fact that makes finding the right cultural fit especially vital.

In-home care provider, Visiting Angels proudly identifies itself as carer-centric. This approach places carers are the heart of the business; from better pay and benefits to training, career progression and mental health support. “Because without them,” says U.K. managing director, Dan Archer, “Everything else falls apart. Carers who are happy, feel valued, are properly rewarded and cared for themselves, deliver exceptional care. They stay in the business longer, work harder and ultimately make each individual franchisee and, therefore, the overall franchise business more successful. Our unwavering commitment to this core vision means we’re very different to the competition.”

Founded in the U.S. in 1998, Visiting Angels has over 800 franchisees worldwide across the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the U.K. The model was adapted for entry to the U.K. – one of the most highly regulated and difficult markets to conquer – in 2017. Its pilot franchise in the north of England now exceeds over £2m turnover and 2,000-plus weekly hours of care. The U.K. network’s 32 franchisees all strongly delivering proof of concept and identifying significant market needs, not just for quality care services but for quality care employment. “As a brand, we’re changing the face of the care industry,” says Archer. “The number one risk to any care provider today is staffing, and our business model is the only one out there directly tackling the issue and driving a change across the entire industry.”

As the strength of the healthcare structure across the U.K., U.S. and much of Western Europe allows people to live longer, the demand for care is growing exponentially. With fewer barriers to entry but the same level of demand, the brand is now actively seeking masters in E.U. territories including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland.

Either through decades of experience and refined best practice or igniting the spark of people’s imagination with new technologies and solutions, all 10 brands earn the title of market leaders. Global renown awaits.

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