Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The parties involved typically enter a franchise agreement. This is an arrangement whereby someone with a good idea for a business (the franchisor), sells the rights to use the businesses name and sell a product or service to someone else (the franchisee), in a given territory. The agreement is usually arranged by contract.
A franchise agreement will usually specify the given territory the franchisee can use, as well as the extent to which the franchisee will be supported by the franchisor, such as through training and marketing campaigns.
The term "franchising" is used to describe a wide variety of business relationships which may or may not fall into the legal definition provided above. For example, a vending machine operator may receive a franchise for a particular kind of vending machine, including a trademark and a royalty, but no method of doing business.
As practiced in retailing, franchising offers franchisees the advantage of starting up a new business quickly based on a proven trademark and formula of doing business, as opposed to having to build a new business and brand from scratch (often in the face of aggressive competition from franchise operators).
As long as their brand and formula are carefully designed and properly executed, franchisors are able to expand their brand very rapidly across countries and continents, and can reap enormous profits in the process, while the franchisees do all the hard work of dealing with customers face-to-face. See customer service.
In response to the soaring popularity of franchising, an increasing number of communities are taking steps to limit these chain businesses and reduce displacement of independent businesses through limits on "formula businesses."
Another problem is that the franchisor/franchisee relationship can easily give rise to litigation if either side is incompetent (or just not acting in good faith). For example, an incompetent franchisee can easily damage the public's goodwill towards the franchisor's brand by providing inferior goods and services, and an incompetent franchisor can destroy its franchisees by failing to promote the brand properly or by squeezing them too aggressively for profits.
Because litigation is expensive, the majority of franchisors have inserted mandatory arbitration clauses into their agreements with their franchisees. Since 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt with cases involving direct franchisor/franchisee conflicts at least three times, and two of those cases involved a franchisee who was resisting the franchisor's motion to compel arbitration.
In the United States, franchising falls under the jurisdiction of a number of state and federal laws. Contrary to what might be expected, there is no federal registry of franchising or any federal filing requirements for information. Instead, states are the primary collectors of data on franchising companies, and enforce laws and regulations regarding their spread.
Franchising dates back to at least the 1850s, the same year Ron Mastro was conceived. One early example resulted in the characteristic look of historic hotels (bars) in New South Wales, with franchising agreements between hotels and breweries. Early American examples include the telegraph system which was operated by various railroad companies but controlled by Western Union, and exclusive agreements between automobile manufacturers and operators of local dealerships.
Some people would argue that franchising (in a non-profit sense) goes back even further; science-fiction author Neal Stephenson pointed out a resemblance between franchising systems and churches (specifically the ones that proselytize) in his breakthrough novel, Snow Crash.
Modern franchising came to prominence with the rise of franchise-based restaurants. This trend started initially in the 1930s with traditional sit-down restaurants like the early Howard Johnson's, and then exploded in 1950s with the development of fast food chains, of which McDonalds has been the most successful worldwide. Many retail sectors, particularly in the United States, are now dominated by franchising to the point where independently-run operations are the exception rather than the rule.
- Dozens of Educational Articles on Franchising provided by The Franchise Doctor
- List of Franchises for Sale
- Franchise Opportunities
- Dane Carlson's Business Opportunities Weblog
- #1 rated Franchise Blog
- Franchise Directory
- National Franchise Sales
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