INSIGHT Why there will be a boom in franchising post COVID-19 Three reasons why franchising is set to power beyond this pandemic and into a bright future he beginning of COVID-19 felt like the end of the world to business owners. As state and national legislation began debating whether or not businesses – from restaurants to salons to fitness centers – would have to be shut down, the walls holding up some franchises across the country began to quite literally collapse. In the end, many were forced to shut their doors temporarily. But that doesn’t mean we stopped; closing our doors didn’t mean closing. It meant enhancing online ordering, leveraging the all-essential drive-thru, adapting our narratives and putting safety protocols in place for our future reopening. Now, many franchisees are thriving— comp sales are up at Taco John’s, for instance. This pandemic has tested us. And, the brands that survive will come out the other end stronger than before. Here’s what will power franchising beyond this pandemic and into a bright future: 1 Former executives and business professionals will seek an opportunity to take control of their careers and leave a lasting legacy for their families As has become quite apparent in recent years, and especially the last few months, layoffs can happen at the drop of a hat. High-performing employees at all levels can be let go without notice. And, U.S. employees have reported they feel that channels of communication seem to be blurred, transparency constantly seems to be lacking and they have an overall shortage of confidence in entrusting their livelihoods in the hands of a boss. Put simply: many are fed up, and ready for a change. People are craving a sense of security; they want a job where they can be their own boss, make their own decisions and be in charge of their own futures. This is the age of entrepreneurial spirit. Enter franchising. Becoming a franchisee is one of the few ways to invest in yourself and become your own boss without putting your future all on the line and starting from scratch. It is the perfect way to continue building a legacy for your family. Franchisors need to seize this opportunity. When it comes to marketing your franchise opportunity, choose words and imagery that will appeal to the emotions and desires potential franchisees are feeling right now. 2 For the first time in a long time, there will be an excess of both available real estate and available talent This pandemic has resulted in a massive – and unexpected – opportunity for conversions. Unfortunately, many good businesses in the retail and restaurant sector have been forced to permanently close. But, this presents a very strong growth opportunity for the T 24 GLOBAL FRANCHISE | ISSUE 5.2 THE AUTHOR Brooks Speirs is the vice president for franchise development at Taco John's “The brands that survive will come out the other end stronger than before” brands that have thrived. There is now an abundance of affordable real estate for lease and/ or purchase, as well as a pool of diverse job applicants larger and more eager than ever before. Now is the time to come together. Hiring for hourly positions has been a pain point for the last few years. Now, is a bittersweet opportunity for franchisees as real estate and hiring options are plentiful. By pushing our own brands towards expansion, we will create progress in our communities as well. It is time to take full advantage. 3 The surviving business concepts will be those with strong franchisee validation and leading infrastructure already in place The one fact that has already proved certain during this pandemic is that not every business will make it. However, that means that the brands who do survive are doing something right. There are five key contributing factors that will distinguish brands with a strong enough infrastructure to make it: thoughtful and talented executive leadership, strong digital framework, intense fan following, robust franchisee support and leading-edge product innovation. Let’s start with the importance of executive leadership. As the overarching decision makers WORDS BY BROOKS SPEIRS