2023 recession
Published December 15, 2022

Preparing Your Franchise for a Recession

What changes are franchisors making in the face of a recession? We asked and here’s what they said.

Is the U.S. economy in a recession? Economists say that’s up for debate. But whether we’re officially in a recession or not, many consumers and businesses are feeling the pinch. So how is the franchise sector preparing for it? We put the question out to the LinkedIn-verse and franchisors and suppliers weighed in: 

With a recession looming, what is the biggest strategic change you’ll make for 2023? 

Double Down

At Anago Cleaning Systems, we plan to double our sales and marketing efforts in 2023. Historically, brands who increase their exposure during recessionary times tend to grow even more when it’s finally over.

Judy Walker, Anago Cleaning

Based on the last report and Fed holding interest rates where they are, the R word will remain just that. A word.

 – Scott Milas, Franchise Coach

Sure wish this recession would finish-up its “pending” and get here already! #geez

As long as banks keep lending, recessions help franchise growth. IFPG has the hammer to the floor and “are” crankin’ on all cylinders, my friend! Connecting with others in franchising for mutual benefit has never been more important. There’s never been a better time to be in franchising!! 

 – Red Boswell, IFPG

I will use it to my advantage. I’ll communicate to buyers that the best time to get into a recession resistant franchise is during or before a recession. Unless they want to wait until the company they work for loses enough money to start laying people off. 

Aaron Harper

Never waste a good recession!

Thomas Scott, Home Run Franchises


Focus on Differentiation

Stay focused on your key differentiators; make sure you help your franchisees stay focused on profitability; and don’t cut back on marketing, in fact increase in areas you know you get the best ROAS.

– Marci Kleinsasser, Home Franchise Concepts

Practically, continuing to rely on brand-specific traits of differentiation. Meaning, consistently asking yourself the question, “how can I meet or beat the competition based solely on the things already found within my brand?” Strategically, honing in customer messaging and staying connected with your customers when they choose to dine out. “When reading this ad or viewing this page, or watching this video, does it make me want to CHOOSE that restaurant for my limited dining spend budget?” Determining which elements convert and then doubling down on those things.

Jonathan Weathington, Shuckin Shack

Keep on the straight and narrow, sharpening focus on key prospects, collaborate with complimentary services, & stay enthusiastic. I’ve had some of my greatest success in a downturn.

Kater Danford, Northeast Color

Looming recession or not, I am always a proponent of consumer/target audience research. The more we understand our audience, the better we can craft messaging that will resonate. It will be more important than ever as the market becomes saturated with people looking to own their own businesses that the right message hits the right people at the right time and place. :) If only it were that easy.

– Brooke Janousek, The Grow CMO

For Youth Athletes United and our brands, Super Soccer Stars, Amazing Athletes, TGA Sports, and JumpBunch, Inc, our brands have been recession-resistant. Parents will make various decisions on their own personal cutbacks, but will oftentimes prioritize the health and wellness of their children. Our franchisees are focused on maintaining accessible price points, providing subsidized programming to parents in need and more than anything continuing to spread our message of the positive impact sports can have on young children’s lives. Our children need this now more than ever as childhood obesity is at an all-time high in both active and non-active kids. We are fortunate to have a franchise platform that impacts kids in sports in such a positive and affordable way that we will have a strong impact during potentially challenging times.

Adam Geisler, Youth Athletes United (Amazing Athletes, TGA Premier Sports)


Streamline to Stay Agile

Figuring ways to automate more processes.

Dee Alams, City Sweats

Our biggest strategic initiative, as we face a possible recession, is to double down on empowered change. We are investing in our franchise brand team’s change leadership capabilities and empowering our affiliated owners to have a direct line of communication with brand leadership so we can all adapt and change with the market quickly and efficiently. That requires evolving our communication systems and updating our technology stack so we can be responsive and agile. We are investing in our people both internally and externally and improving our analysis of data so we are equipped to pivot in a world that is increasingly impacted by constant change. We will be adding franchise owner training that helps them focus on changing their business versus simply running their business.

Laura O’Conner, JPAR Realty


Invest in People

This won’t sound surprising coming from me (might even sound like a broken record here!) but in a recession it is more important than ever to ensure you are implementing best practice field coaching to optimize franchisee engagement and profitability, as well as royalties for the franchisor.

Angela Cote, AC Inc.

As a former franchisor .. and now a franchise supplier. – Telephone Doctor and Service Skills actually plans on doing MORE with Less. And it can be done by making triple sure the employees you have now are very well taken care of. Dropping your – our overhead – by working with less…. Gave us more revenue in 2022. The plan continues ! Good luck to all

Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor


Get Back to Basics

From a marketing perspective, goodbye to old school annual planning. Yes, you need to have high level pipeline volume, conversion and revenue goals, but really your marketing plan should only cover the next 3 – 4 months (conferences can be budgeted for farther out however). That way you can learn, iterate and incorporate monthly to keep a tight feedback loop and adjust quickly to real time market swings.

 – Erin Martin, Netsertive

Agreed Erin. We’re now playing quarterly games. 

Ricky Deakyne, National Painting Group 

As a franchisee I believe that every opportunity to “get back to basics” is one that should not be wasted. There is such great competition for our time that we must always question how we spend it. As a franchisor, I look forward to helping more people realize their dreams of business ownership. Great conversation, thanks for starting it!

Ian Klaes, Caring Senior Service

Such a great question! I think getting back to basics is always key. When dollars are tight, it’s important to be smart about where they are spent and what is said.

Having said that:

  1. Consumer research
  2. Content audit – is our message as dialed in as it could be? Are we consistent?
  3. Lead source audit.

Brooke Janousek, The Grow CMO


Go on the Offensive

Observations from previous recessions – companies that kept investing rather than pulling back (obviously you need the cash to be able to do this) tended to outperform coming out of the recession. So be rigorous around trimming things that don’t work and bank up cash where you can going in, but then I see recessions as an opportunity to try to scoop up talent, share of voice, and potential investments when other companies can’t. Can be the best time to go on offense, not defense.

Lauren Raouf, Metric Collective

We consider PatchMaster as “recession resistant” being that a significant portion of our business derives from plumbers, electricians, restoration companies, and HVAC companies, all of which are deemed recession proof given the emergent need for their services. As such, we’re shifting a sizable portion of our advertising efforts toward building deeper partnerships in the B2B2C space. We feel this tactic will insulate us from the expected market contraction in 2023. In regards to Franchise Development, we’ve already taken steps to expand broker network affiliations and plan to substantially increase our organic ad spend as we’ll need to kiss a lot more frogs to maintain our growth trajectory. In short, we’re going on the offensive in 2023 instead of taking a protective posture because, in the event we’re wrong about the recession, our aggressive tactics will have a profound impact on our bottom line.

Paul Ferrara, PatchMaster

With the widespread layoffs in the tech space, many of them will enter the world of franchising for the first time. This is a great opportunity to use the recession as a benefit. Being more strategic with fran dev could pay dividends for franchise companies.

Cliff Kennedy, Frios Gourmet Pops


Scrutinize Lead Sources

Independent of recessions & downturns, you always have to “Cover Your Six” – and by that I mean your top 6 lead buckets. If you only get leads from two of the six top channels, what happens if there is an issue with one of those channels?

????? ???? ??? by protecting your brand & business with a basic 6 spoke marketing strategy.

This is a fundamental marketing strategy that every business should embrace but not that many businesses actually do.

✔ Organic Search

✔ Paid Campaigns

✔ Social Media

✔ Referrals (brand + others)

✔ Email

✔ Other

I’m excited to hear from all you bad a$$ marketers ?

Jimmy Weeks, Internet Strategy Labs

THANK YOU for asking this key question. It’s real and I’m a tad nervous yet energized to double down again on franchising. I’m hyper focused on who I can serve and let go quicker of weak fits. Also I’m exploring more opportunities by collaborating with referral partners such as Designer, Architects Builders.

Kater Danford, Northeast Color

Similar to what Kater Danford said, I’m being more particular about lead sources. That will also mean being very careful to scrutinize the attendees target at all franchise conferences and events. It was fun to go to events to see each other, but now they have to be about returns. That said, I still think we might have a soft landing on this one with the mild and short recession. But I still remember the last one, and I don’t want to go through that again!

Mary Ann O’Connell, Franwise

What say you? Follow FBR’s page on LinkedIn and share your predictions for 2023 and what changes you plan to make in the coming year.

About the Author: Franchise Business Review

Franchise Business Review is an independent market research firm specializing in benchmarking franchisee and employee satisfaction. FBR has partnered with over 1,200 franchise companies to help them achieve success through data-driven insights. Learn how you can partner with FBR to drive satisfaction and improve system performance at www.tour.franchisebusinessreview.com.
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