franchise business owner satisfaction
Published November 29, 2021

[New Research] Franchising Emerges From the Pandemic Stronger Than Ever

Newly released data shows record high satisfaction for franchise business owners, with nearly 9 in 10 rating their franchise opportunity above average

The pandemic hit businesses hard and unevenly, with certain segments of the economy suffering enormous blows, while others have remained steady or even prospered. But while the pandemic impacted various business sectors differently, the last 18 months have clearly demonstrated the inherent strengths of the franchise business model.

The old franchise adage of “being in business for yourself, but not by yourself” was never more important. Thanks to fast innovations, significant support, and responsive crisis management, many franchise brands have emerged stronger from the pandemic and that is reflected in higher franchisee satisfaction across many sectors. 

Franchise Business Review has been tracking satisfaction among franchise owners since 2005, and our most recent data shows that franchisee satisfaction is now at an all-time high — an increase of 3% since pre-pandemic levels. 

The research looks at eight key areas of franchise operations in order to measure overall satisfaction and engagement among franchisees. Participants are asked 33 benchmark questions, as well as a number of market area and demographic questions to determine a Franchise Satisfaction Index (FSI) score. The current results are based on surveys of over 30,000 franchise owners from March 2020 to October 2021. Long-term trend data is based on research of over 200,000 franchise owners between October 2005 and October 2021, representing nearly 1,200 different franchise brands.

Key findings include:

  • 88% enjoy being part of their franchise organizations
  • 86% rate the opportunity provided by their franchisor above average
  • 85% respect their franchisor
  • 80% would recommend their franchise to others
  • $118,792 is the average annual pre-tax income of franchisees in business for 2+ years

No franchise company is perfect, but we do know that the key drivers of satisfaction include training, marketing, technology, innovation, and franchisor – franchisee relations. Financial performance obviously plays a big role as well, and when people are making money, it takes the pressure off other areas. 

While franchising as a whole has emerged stronger, it’s also important to recognize that it wasn’t without casualties. Early on in the pandemic, it was reported that tens of thousands of franchise locations were shuttered, especially in some of the hardest-hit sectors like restaurants, hospitality, and travel. Many senior-level corporate staff were also laid off or forced into early retirement. Our 2021 Franchising@WORK report, which tracks trends in employee engagement and compensation within the franchise sector, showed the number of corporate franchise employees with 7+ years of tenure had dropped by 55% across all sectors. 

As for the franchise model itself, the pandemic has illuminated one of its greatest benefits: community support. The unmatched support from the home office and the franchisee network is unique to franchising and is one of the primary reasons for its success. For many franchise owners, this support has made all the difference during one of the most challenging periods in modern history.

Free 10-Minute Demo

Find out how Franchise Business Review’s franchisee satisfaction research can help you drive performance and accelerate growth.

In 10 minutes, we’ll show you how to get:

  • A confidential assessment of your brand
  • Your FSI benchmark score, which shows where you rank
  • The opportunity to be recognized as a Top Franchise award winner

Schedule a Demo


About the Author: Eric Stites

Eric leads FBR’s research and consultants with clients in the area of franchise performance. He is an active member of the International Franchise Association (IFA), serves on the IFA’s VetFran and Franchise Relations Committees, and speaks frequently on topics related to franchise relations and best practices in franchising. Eric lives on the coast of Maine with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys spending as much time as possible on the ocean.
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