The pandemic and franchising 


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The pandemic made the future seem uncertain and affected the world of franchising. Nobody expected the past couple of years to be marked by growth.  The results have been surprising where the business of franchising is concerned. New unit openings of franchises may have shrunk, but there has been growth. Growth may have been slower compared to past years but sales improved and new franchisees were added and businesses sometimes successfully met increased demands. Some businesses experienced a pandemic-related boost.

Innovation – Challenging times often lead to innovation. While the pandemic made many businesses file for bankruptcy, for some it led to reinvention and entrepreneurship. During a pandemic, the prospect of starting a new business may seem daunting, but for many , the benefits of franchising outweigh the negatives. Food and maintenance franchises continued their ascent in the midst of job market uncertainties. Although the pandemic caused significant damage to the restaurant industry at large, quite a few food franchises adapted and adopted innovative ways to serve customers. Given below are the franchises who were the big winners during the uncertain times.

Taco Bell – Taco Bell is a fun brand and its connection with its customers has withstood the test of time. It has a committed base of loyal customers. Its innovative products at affordable prices have led to some of the most satisfied franchisees in the business. The brand has adopted different strategies to appeal to millennials. During the pandemic, the company deferred loyalty payments and extended grace periods which showed its continued commitment to its franchisees. Employees who were diagnosed with COVID-19 or who were looking after someone diagnosed with it, had access to a global medical relief fund launched by the company.

The UPS Store – This business proved to be a choice for many in a socially distant world. The company could quickly adapt to changing customer needs and that made it one of the best franchises to own. Their store services remained open throughout the pandemic. They adopted new safety measures on the fly and even managed to add 130 new stores during the pandemic. To meet the demands of the surge in pandemic-related shipping, the company offered a minority discount of 50 percent off their initial franchise fee. The franchise owners readily shared ideas and experiences in order to help one another succeed. They even printed CDC information for local neighboring businesses.

Servpro – Servpro is a cleaning and restoration service which specializes in food and fire cleanup. The challenging times of the pandemic tested the company’s tenacity. They launched a COVID-19 cleaning protocol and widely distributed PPE and disinfecting chemicals. Under pressure, the franchisees displayed the same kind of tenacity as the company. In the midst of the severity of the pandemic, it rolled out targeted services to help homes and businesses. The business also invested in franchisee training and support. In 2020, the company earned more than $300 million in pandemic-related cleaning.

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