4 Franchise Trends That Will Define 2022

These franchising trends may be changing the industry for the better.

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Three years ago, no one in the franchise industry could have predicted the sweeping changes and adaptations that have combined to create our new normal. But by and large, the franchise market has benefitted from its willingness to embrace change and manage expectations accordingly.

As 2022 begins, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the continued growth and proliferation of the franchise business model. Not the least of which includes the millions of people who've reevaluated their circumstances and decided they prefer a success story dictated on their own terms.

Unfortunately, no one can predict 2022. But here are four franchise trends we'll likely see in the future of the industry.

1. Covid conveniences could be here to stay

While the restaurant and hospitality industry suffered immensely as a result of the pandemic, many of the sudden franchise solutions could be here to stay permanently. Curbside pickup, innovative ordering and delivery options and a shift to expanded outdoor dining areas have been normalized. Other franchise industry trends, like the success of video conferencing, have improved communications between the franchisor and franchisee. The option of working from home is also a perk that many are loathe to give up without a fight. Don't be surprised if these and other conveniences end up becoming a part of the franchise model.

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2. Pivoting to a world more virtual

In the "before" times, a franchise brand would pride itself on the in-person training and support programs it developed to ensure its business model's success. Many set up university-style campus learning programs over the span of a week or two, designed for intensive and immersive training. But when public health concerns necessitated a change, brands quickly adapted their instruction to virtual platforms. Along the way, many franchisors and franchisees alike quickly discovered this lean and streamlined approach saved a lot of expense in the form of travel and accommodations. Now that this practice has become more commonplace, the trend of pivoting to virtual may be more commonplace.

3. An escalation of ESG efforts

From one generation to the next, franchise trends are always evolving. The increased focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies has franchises rethinking the way they connect with their target market. Franchise businesses have begun to weave this messaging into their brand pitch and operations, tailoring their efforts to meet the expectations of a more socially conscious audience. Factors such as diversity, inclusion, accountability and sustainable business practices have begun to take on the same importance as the brand's value propositions.

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4. A banner year for recruiting candidates

The franchising industry has been one of the key beneficiaries of the Great Resignation, of which the final tally for 2021 has recently been released. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 68.9 million employees quit their jobs, were laid off or were discharged. Approximately two-thirds, around 47.4 million, did so voluntarily. While many decided to seek greener pastures in a similar corporate role, the "I can't take it anymore" crowd has been a boon to franchisors everywhere. These candidates no longer want a future determined by their employers, but rather a franchise business they themselves can own. With over 3,500 franchise concepts on the market today, competition for new franchisees should be intense and robust. But the sheer number of potential clients will likely make 2022 a growth year for recruiting the next generation of franchise ownership.

Related: 4 Ways to Attract Sophisticated Franchisees to Grow Your Business

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