Last Friday the Global Franchise team attended the International Franchise Show (IFS) at ExCeL London. While last year’s event was enjoyable, the excitement for this year’s edition was more palpable. With the removal of COVID-19 restrictions, it felt like the franchising community could return in full force to the annual event.
The event is back with a bang
Compared to last year, the hall felt bigger and there was a constant hubbub around every single booth. Last year, attendees could walk around the show without any hindrance; this year was different. There were often small blockages of people listening to a franchise proposition, trialing a product or trying one of the many tasty samples offered by numerous brands.
The Global Franchise and What Franchise booth was never empty. We enjoyed a constant stream of interested franchisors, franchisees as well as prospective franchisors and franchisees asking about the magazines and taking copies home to read. We were even able to present Dani Peleva, the CEO of Local Fame, the award for winning the Best PR & Marketing Firm at the Global Franchise Awards 2022! It was a pleasure for us to see how much the award meant to Dani and the Local Fame team.
The educational tracks delivered
As always, the IFS puts on educational tracks for attendees to listen in on and pick up tips from. This year was no different, and a number of informative talks were held. Walter Vendel, the CEO of fit20 and Niri Patel, the managing director and master franchisee for the U.K. spoke about the ‘silver economy’ and how to cater to this changing demography. The pair honed in the physical decline we all undergo after the age of 25, and how fit20 is perfectly placed to deal with this physical decline. They both mentioned that the 40-plus market is hugely underserved right now, and has considerable potential.
Paul Mitchell, group CEO of Accentia, took to the keynote theatre to deliver his talk on expanding and growing through franchising. Using examples from his own business, Mitchell showed how a franchise brand with £50,000 turnover in 2018 turned into a business that turned over £5.5m in 2021, and is expecting an exit sale of around £10m.
Mitchell explained that the point of franchising was to share knowledge and processes with franchisees, and used the analogy of a cake to explain building a business from scratch – that it requires a person to buy all the ingredients and know exactly what to do produce a cake. Franchising provides the ingredients and instructions, which will help to create more success stories and fewer failures.
As Mitchell ominously said: “80 per cent of start-ups won’t reach their fourth birthday.”
A packed show floor
After a slightly quiet 2021, it was a pleasure to see such the IFS so well-attended by not only the British franchising community, but many international franchisors. It wasn’t only the show floor that was packed, the educational tracks were all oversubscribed. The tracks were so popular that many chose to remain standing if they couldn’t find a seat.
After the show closed for day one, everyone filed upstairs into the bar for drinks, where many friends and connections who hadn’t seen each other for a few years could meet once more.