It’s still another six months or so before the year is out, but here are some of the biggest news stories, trends and events of the year that you need to be aware of:
Global Franchise Awards 2022
The Global Franchise Awards 2022 was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. The resplendent event was held at the same time as the IFA Annual Convention, and saw a room filled with franchisors, franchise professionals and suppliers.
It was an extremely successful evening; the 19 categories were filled by some of the best in international franchising. Some brands, like Boost Juice, won two awards! The highly qualified, international judging panel sifted through the hundreds of candidates to arrive at the final list of 19 winners.
The entire evening’s proceedings were captured on film and can be relived on the video section of the Global Franchise website. We can’t wait to take the event to Las Vegas in 2023!
Unleashed Brands is on an acquisition spree
It started with Urban Air Adventure’s acquisition of Snapology in mid-July 2021 to form Unleashed Brands, but there is no end in sight. Michael Browning’s Unleashed Brands has been on a roll in the franchising world, buying concepts that already complement the brand’s portfolio.
In late January, the brand acquired Premier Martial Arts. It was a clever purchase that builds on the kid-focused nature of Unleashed Brand’s portfolio.
The acquisition of College 101 followed in April, a national college planning brand that helps students and families chart out their course to college.
Three sizeable acquisitions in such a short time indicate a strong strategy, and more acquisitions to come before the year is out.
The future of western brands franchising in Russia is up in the air
Russia has been considered a strong potential market for western brands since the 90’s. Western brands have slowly but surely entered into Russia since then, and operated successful franchise systems.
However, it’s not acceptable for a western business to conduct business in Russia anymore due to the conflict in Ukraine. Likely responding to public and private pressure, many brands have pulled out of the country, including the likes of McDonalds and Papa Johns. However, the nature of the franchise model has meant that while the franchisor has ceased offering support, local supply chains stay in place, and franchisees remain open for business.
Franchisors need to think long-term and seriously ask themselves if they want to abandon a franchise network in a major market, with either little hope of returning, or a desire to restart from the bottom.
IFA Annual Convention
The IFA Annual Convention is without a doubt, international franchising’s largest event. For two years, this mainstay event had to go virtual as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the IFA did an admirable job in shifting online so soon, the networking, and intangible aspect of meeting people in person, was lost.
But that changed in 2022. The event came to sunny San Diego on 25 February and welcomed thousands of attendees from all over the industry, including the Global Franchise team. Day one and day two were covered in extensive detail as the team attended the keynotes and education tracks.
Attendees were also treated to riveting keynote speeches from Vernice ‘FlyGirl’ Armour and Shaquille O’ Neal, which were the highlights of the event. We’re looking forward to meeting again with the industry in Las Vegas next year!
Voice controlled A.I. at drive-thrus
The F&B industry is always chasing a new technological breakthrough that brings increased efficiency and reduces costs, margins are everything in the industry. Two brands that have made a strong commitment to using voice controlled A.I. at their drive-thrus, are Marco’s Pizza and Checkers and Rally’s.
Global Franchise had the chance to speak to Minh Le, the chief information officer for Checkers and Rally’s. Le noted that fast-changing trends in the industry, alongside the demands of the younger generations, are pushing the brand towards digitization and automatization. This will help to create a more seamless experience for customers and employees alike.
The technology has worked well with both brands at trial, increasing the percentage of accurate orders to 98 per cent for Checkers and Rally’s and 100 per cent for Marco’s Pizza. These two brands may serve as guinea pigs for the rest of the industry, and based on the results, the sector will widely adopt this technology.
Shipley Do-Nuts is on a growth spree
The Houston-founded Shipley Do-Nuts brand has been signing deals left, right and center so far in 2022. The brand is known for its fresh donuts, kolaches, coffee and manufacturing its own specialty food products.
The brand started out the year by signing a deal in Texas for 20 locations. Shipley signed with two local, experienced multi-unit franchisees who were already big fans of the brand. The donut specialist followed up this deal with two more multi-unit agreements, one in Georgia and the other in Maryland. Combined, the multi-unit franchisees signed to open 50 Shipley Do-Nut locations, some of which are expected to open this year.
It most recently signed another sizeable deal for 30 locations in Georgia. The brand clearly has a plan of dominating the market in Southern states with a rapid expansion plan. Shipley has signed deals for 100 locations so far in 2022, and will likely sign more as the year progresses.
Pet care brands growth sees no end
The pandemic saw so many changes in human behavior, but one thing that remained consistent, was the love for pets. For many, it was the perfect opportunity to finally get the furry friend that they never had time for. This created an excellent opportunity for existing pet care brands to scale up and offer services to these new pet-owners.
In 2022, PetWell Clinic has signed numerous deals to bring its locations to new and existing states. It signed a five-unit deal in Philadelphia with experienced franchisees, and a 12-unit deal in Salt Lake City with existing franchisees. Dogtopia signed its largest-ever deal in March, for 60 units in cities across the U.S., with private equity funding.
We spoke to Neil Gill, the CEO of Dogtopia, and he is excited by the increased investment of private equity in the sector, and sees significant growth ahead as current trends continue.
Panera Bread and McDonald’s file applications for the metaverse
The metaverse represents an incredible potential cyberspace for brands to market and sell in. With the limitations of the technology disappearing day by day, it’s very likely that customers will be able to interact with their favorite franchise brands in the metaverse in the near future.
In February, a trademark lawyer on Twitter noticed the registration of ten trademarks that were intended for use in the metaverse, and are even investigating NFT’s. It’s interesting to note that McDonald’s did not make this public knowledge themselves. Panera Bread also filed similar trademarks, the application indicates that the brand plans to run virtual restaurants, and use NFT’s as a virtual currency to order virtual food and drinks.
The jury is still out on the viability and commercial use of the technology, but the potential is endless. If people take to the metaverse and end up living out portions of their life on there, the metaverse may be the new gold-rush for business as they jockey for position.
Domino’s trialing drone delivery in New Zealand
The labor shortage has been endemic across the U.S., and it’s felt sharply in the QSR and fast-casual sectors. Fast-food outlets have been struggling for some time to maintain a reliable pool of delivery drivers, but one company, and Domino’s in New Zealand, is looking for a permanent workaround.
Drones. Rarely does the industry see an innovation that is completely new and upends the way things have been done, but that is what is happening in New Zealand. The brand signed with SkyDrop to continue the existing trial, which will now deliver fresh, hot pizzas to people’s doors via drone.
This exciting new technology has been in the works since 2016 when SkyDrop successfully demonstrated the viability of the concept in 2016. If the trial is a success, it could be implemented across more markets, and copied by other brands.
Multi-Unit Franchising Conference 2022
The Multi-Unit Franchising Conference made a return to Las Vegas from 29 March to 1 April this year for its 22nd edition. Just like the IFA convention, the Global Franchise team covered day one and day two of the conference.
Unlike other franchise shows, multi-unit franchisees are the stars themselves. The opening keynote saw multiple, highly successful multi-unit franchisees take to the stage. Numerous sessions and educational tracks were held later on throughout the day, from attracting top talent to touching on the complexities of franchisor relationships with Russian franchisees.
The Multi-Unit Franchising Conference wasn’t without star keynote speakers, one of which was Emmit Smith, a former Dallas Cowboys running back superstar, and successful real estate investor. He addressed the importance of facing up to challenges, and learning from them.
It was, once again, another successful edition of multi-unit franchising’s biggest conference of the year, and will no doubt return with a bang in 2023.