Why Food Franchises Remain Successful Despite Economic Obstacles

It’s no secret that food franchises are often the most searched for and requested on franchise directories and portals. It’s what we all think of when someone says “franchising.” Despite the popularity of food franchises– the how is that sector of the industry doing?


Why do I ask? Well, maybe you heard of this little thing called “The Great Recession” and, in its wake, the tightening of our collective belts. How have food franchises fared? Has development for food franchises slowed? If not, how is that possible when food costs have risen and disposable income has decreased for most families?


Fast-Casual Food Franchises Are On the Rise


Research suggests that fast-casual franchise restaurants, which are a subset of quick-service restaurants, rank as one of the five best franchises to open due to high demand. Presumably as a result of the Great Recession, consumers are concerned with maximizing their time and money when it comes to eating out. Eating establishments that are less expensive but still allow consumers the ability to escape the kitchen and feel as though they’re treating themselves.


The number of quick-service restaurants are expected to grow 1.7% in 2013, the third largest growth percentage according to the International Franchise Association.


The Franchising is On the Rise– How? Why?


A recent study by the IFA shows that the number of franchise establishments increased by 1.5% last year.


Why? How? Simply, the economy is why and how.


Unemployment and underemployment (taking lower pay and lower-level jobs) are still unfortunate realities for the U.S.’ economy. As such, more Americans are mindful of their spending. Dinners at high end dining establishments have become increasingly rare. In addition, many individuals and families are working multiple jobs or longer hours resulting in a need for fast, inexpensive meal options– especially if you’re traveling between places of employment. This increased demand for quick-casual and quick-service establishments (think Panera and McDonald’s respectively) has permitted the franchise industry a growth coveted by many other economic sectors.


Exiled corporate executives and those who lost a substantial portion of their savings due to the Great Recession face the unfortunate reality of a shortened or no retirement at all. In order to earn a living, many entrepreneurs have chosen franchises as a means of business because of each concept’s proven track record.


What’s Behind Rising Food Costs?


Despite a reputation for quick and inexpensive meals, franchises are facing rising food costs because of four important reasons: increased fuel and transportation costs, reduction of food availability, and a continuation of economic circumstances that created 2011’s food price inflation.


  • The U.S. government’s subsidization of corn for bio-fuels has removed substantial amounts of the grain from the food supply, increasing overall prices.
  • The World Trade Organization limits the amount of stockpiling the U.S. and the European Union may do of corn and wheat in case of extenuating weather circumstances. As such, the price of corn and wheat remains volatile. (Note: wheat prices in 2011 more than doubled.)
  • As more of the global population becomes affluent, the demand for meat increases. In accordance with this demand, the need for animal feed– primarily grains– increases driving up the cost of both items.
  • The increase in oil prices means high food prices, as much of our food isn’t grown locally but shipped across oceans and nations.

Read more:

Why Are Food Prices Rising?, About.com

5 Best Franchise Opportunities For 2013, TheStreet.com

As more entrepreneurs pick franchising, sector grows, Charlotte Observer