global franchise newsletter sign up graphic

Stay in the know and receive the latest international franchising news, insight and investment opportunities

close catfish

Tackling international expansion through the master franchisee model

Tackling international expansion through the master franchisee model

A franchisor of a global brand espouses the virtues of recruiting master franchisees to help grow an organization’s international presence.

Keep up to date with the latest Global Franchise News sent straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

For franchise brands that have found success stateside, international expansion is often the logical next step. By expanding into new regions your business is not only exposed to a larger market, but it also opens you to so many different ideas and ways of thinking that will aid in the continual evolution of your brand.

However, there is a considerable amount of research, time, and even risk, to consider when deciding to expand your brand into another country. It can be difficult to figure out where and how to start. As a franchisor, one option is to utilize the master franchisee model. With this model, the franchisor hands over control of a territory to a person or organization; the master franchisee. This master franchisee is not only required to operate their own franchise business successfully but must also develop the region by building and managing a team of sub-franchisees. While this model has the potential to make entering a new market easier, it is essential that a franchisor finds the right fit – the perfect fit – to successfully introduce and grow their brand in an international market.

Finding the perfect fit at the right time

When deciding to partner with a master franchisee, you need to ensure they have more than just the qualities of a traditional franchise owner (although those qualities are important, too). Take the time to reflect on the values of your brand: what is your mission? If that person or organization does not align with your purpose, mission and values, then they will not be an adequate representation of your brand. They may take shortcuts or compromise on the parts of your brand identity that make it successful and unique. In the end, the integrity of the business should be at the forefront of your mind when considering a master franchisee.

“When deciding to partner with a master franchisee, you need to ensure they have more than just the qualities of a traditional franchise owner”

Another element to consider is the person or organization’s business acumen and experience in franchising. Because you will be licensing an entire region – not just a territory like with a traditional franchisee – the master franchisee has to be extremely business savvy. Take their previous experiences into account before moving forward in the process. But, be wary – while their experience may look good on paper, it won’t guarantee success with your business. You may want to consider a kind of trial period. Have the franchisee open one unit, and give them a set amount of time to ramp-up the business and make it successful. If they can’t handle managing one territory, they are likely not the appropriate fit to own and manage an entire region. It is also essential they have a keen understanding and awareness of the region itself. To appropriately market the business, they have to know their audience. In general, a person or organization that is qualified to be a master franchisee looks at the big picture. While they are considerate of the smaller aspects of running a business, they often think more like a franchisor. If you can’t find a partner that encompasses the traits mentioned above, you haven’t found your master franchisee yet.

Aside from finding the right fit, my biggest piece of advice for anyone who is considering the implementation of this model within their system is: don’t rush anything. Even if you receive an inquiry from an interested franchise investor who seems promising, it’s important to take a step back and do your research. Ask yourself, will your concept even work in their market? For instance, an after- school program like Young Rembrandts will not work in certain countries because of the structure of their education system. Additionally, your business model may not be where it needs to be in order to successfully grow the concept – your processes must be nearly perfected before you can take your brand international. Overall, it is essential that you take your time and consider all potential outcomes before moving forward in the process.

The benefits of the master franchisee model

As previously mentioned, expanding your business internationally is no small undertaking. But, when utilizing this master model, it does make the process more manageable. The master franchisee’s insight and experiences may help to improve your domestic locations, too.

While keeping the integrity of your business is essential, the master franchisee – if they’re the right fit – may suggest modifications to the business plan in order to make it appealing to an international audience. This is appropriate, and welcome, as they should be the expert source on how to market the brand successfully in that region. Plus, you may even consider implementing their suggested changes in the business plan for your domestic locations. Even if your brand is operating successfully in its home market, there is always room for improvement. And, a fresh perspective can offer new insight on how to further enhance the business. Additionally, on a more personal level, their insight will help you gain a unique perspective into a different culture, giving you an expanded view of the world.

An additional benefit to utilizing the master franchisee model is that it doesn’t overtax the home office. Your first commitment is to your domestic owners, and they may be concerned when you announce the brand is looking to add international locations. But, by reiterating your commitment to their success, the prosperity of the franchise and the low cost of adding a master franchise partner, it makes the decision easier to explain to the franchise system.

While Young Rembrandts is still relatively new to the master franchisee model, we’ve already seen the benefits. When appropriately handled, it offers a reasonable way to spread your brand to an entire region or country. You can still focus on your domestic locations while empowering your master franchisee to provide that dedicated support to their franchise owners. In the end, when you find the right person in the right territory at the right time, all of the work and time put in will be worth it.


Bette Fetter is the founder and CEO of Young Rembrandts, an art enrichment program that serves children in communities around the world.

Global Franchise Meets.

An inspirational new web video series where we meet the business leaders and influencers in International Franchising.

you may be interested in

franchise directory

  • TaxAssist Accountants

    Business & Professional Services, Financial Services, <100K, Featured

  • Cafe2U

    Food & Catering, Coffee, Take-away, <100K, Featured

  • 800 Pizza

    Food & Catering, Fastfood, Pizza, Take-away, Featured

view more
Connect with Linkedin Logo
Global White Logo Click Here
Close button


Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order. Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.


We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.


Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.


We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.


This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.


Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at


By using our site, you consent to our online privacy policy.


If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page


If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below. All correspondence relating to the Website should be sent to: Global Franchise 21/23 Phoenix Court Hawkins Road Colchester Essex CO2 8JY Email: