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What do biggies in franchising have in store this year

Trends and ideas keep transforming in the franchising world. On one hand each year brings a new challenge for the franchise fraternity and on the other hand opportunities for the franchisees keep growing. What’s in stored for the franchise industry in the future? Let’s know more.

By Ekta SharmaFeature Writer

The year gone by proved to be an excellent one for the franchise industry. This year too, the franchisors are very optimistic and have a lot to envisage for the franchise world. The brands also have their set of resolutions and plans for themselves. If you are wondering what’s next in franchising this year with the biggies? We tell you more on this. Read on!

Franchising Industry witnesses numerous new entrants and exits every year. Every brand plans bigger and better every year as a part of its growth plans. Talking of the QSR sector, Subway is a known leader in its category. Globally, franchising has been recognised as a catalyst of growth and entrepreneurship. Even in the developed economies, franchise businesses are showing tremendous capability to provide new jobs for working families and new businesses for first-time business owners across all sectors in local communities. The franchise model ensures that the product or service can be made available rapidly across geographies by partnering with local capital and talent. In India, the franchise industry is still gaining ground, accounting for less than five per cent of the aggregate organised retail sector sales, according to industry estimates. Nevertheless, over the past two decades, many global brands have used the franchise model to address a rapidly evolving consumer landscape in India. Subway came into India in 2001 when it franchised its first restaurant in Saket, New Delhi. Over the next 10 years, Subway raised the restaurant count in India beyond 200. Currently, Subway operates more than 600 restaurants in India. Across the globe, it operates more than 44 thousand restaurants across 113 countries, all of which work on franchise model.

On being asked franchise resolutions for this year, a Subway spokesperson tells us: ‘Currently present in more than 70 Indian cities, the brand’s expansion is chiefly driven by Subway franchisees. The model’s growth potential continues to attract entrepreneurs from different parts of the country. The brand looks forward to associate with them and help them realize their aspirations of running a successful business enterprise. Subway plans to get more aggressive in terms of growing its footprint in the country from the current pace of opening around 80 restaurants per calendar year. The brand is focused on growing in both metro and non-metro locations through its franchise-based business model. In 2018, Subway plans to open nearly 130 new restaurants across 120 cities in India and Sri Lanka.’

For tyre manufacturing company CEAT, the expansion is via its CEAT Shoppe. It takes pride in being the first in the industry to adopt the franchise model through CEAT Shoppe and believes in better customer connect for brand across both urban and tier-II and III cities. For CEAT, moving away from ‘product’ to ‘experience’ for the customer is the mantra going forward.

Nitish Bajaj, Sr. VP – Marketing, CEAT Limited shares: ‘More and more established brands like us will look to carve out their niche in targeted customer segments and providing customized services for the best experience. Innovations in products and solutions backed by new technologies continue to help drive brand affinity. Digitisation and use of data for ease and convenience for the end consumer as well as the channel partner form the backbone, which brands shall build within the franchise model to create distinct yet consistent propositions for customers. New media initiatives, including social media, has come a long way and has replaced traditional advertising. Active feedback and customer service is a must for a brand to grow and establish credibility and we expect brands to continue to be at the forefront of embracing this platform.’

Education
Leading name in the play school space, Kidzee today stands at a staggering number of 1700+ centres across 6560 cities. Like every year, 2018 also looks promising for Zee Learn. It plans to add 300-400 Kidzee franchisees to the current portfolio. In India, there is an acute shortage of qualified and trained teachers for pre-schools. In India, there is an acute shortage of qualified and trained teachers for pre-schools. To address this issue, Zee Learn launched the Preschool Teachers Training Programme (PTTP) in 2016. The program aims at creating quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) educators, to bridge the existing gap between the number of teachers available and the number required. We already have 100+ participants who have completed the course and will look at higher numbers in 2018. CEO of the brand, Debshankar Mukhopadhyay informs us: ‘Kidzee stayed on the path of Innovation and introduced IMAGENIE to bring in the dawn of a new era in Understanding of Learning. IMAGENIE involves Augmented-Reality-Enabled Education and Kidzee is India’s first preschool to integrate Augmented Reality in Learning. Augmented Reality Technology leads to a new dimension of Learning. IMAGENIE redefines children’s time-tested favourite activities, i.e. colouring and puzzle solving, through hands-on Interactive Learning, for Higher Engagement and Longer Retention.’

Looking forward- 2018
New Year brings new energy and plans for the brands. It can be store openings, new launches, new services for franchisees, new technologies and newer and better markets. CEAT already has over 300 CEAT Shoppes and plans to open many more new stores, focusing on niche, targeted markets. It looks ahead to grow with its 360-degree, integrated approach to offer distinct propositions for the customers, no matter where they are located. For 2018, CEAT plans to invest in digital initiatives and better training and serviceability across its franchisees. It plans to train the Shoppe manpower on various soft skills and faster servicing abilities so; they can also seamlessly connect through CEAT Assist- It’s mobile app, to not only place orders but also offer warranties online, making the end-experience hassle free. For Subway fresh forward design and use of technology remains vital this year. Subway engaged FRCH Design Worldwide to design a distinctive and welcoming space. A bright new colour palette, inspired by fresh vegetables and the new Choice Mark serve as a focal point in the new space. Under the digital space Subway installed self-order kiosks in select locations, digital menu boards and, as always, Apple and Samsung Pay options. Subway POS is the new POS software that is implemented in Subway restaurants worldwide. It offers a brand-new approach to ring sales, track inventory and conduct business in the restaurant. The software features retooled business logic for an intuitive, secure, and seamless business experience. This secure and intuitive business logic closes loopholes that encouraged theft, fixes inefficiencies that slowed operations, and introduces centralized menu management that reduces downtime and improves order accuracy.’

So, it can be easily said that this year franchising industry will be having a lot of offer across sectors. Well balanced and prepared franchisors will survive while others in the run may have to work little harder to stay in the game. Only those brands will attract customers who know their strengths and who also easily adapt with changing technologies and innovations.

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