Random Learnings

The Curse of the Franchising System

The franchising system is taking roots everywhere. After major cities have become saturated breathing for space and lack of options, the franchising model is moving towards the smaller towns. Who knows we might have burgers in villages before the end of 2030. 

P.S.: The franchising system does not only revolve around food. But as food is something that we can all relate too and food franchisees are ubiquitous, so I would focus on them for now if that is alright with you! 

The franchising system can be a no-brainer for many:

  • You do not have to worry about building a brand. 
  • You do not have to worry about making a *mistake*.
  • Experience helps everywhere but it can be done without here as you just have to follow the professional rules which would be part of the agreement that binds the Franchisee to the Franchisee. 
  • No worries about quality control, staff training and staff management. Everything is built in the system. 

Picture Credit: francity.com

Now what does it do? 

  • It kills innovation. There is no incentive to innovate. You are already selling 20 different types of pizza and then there’s the *agreement*, remember?
  • It kills local culture. You forget about Litti-Chokha.We become part of the *One*. Local tastes and flavors are forgotten, and a *standardized* food becomes part of our *standardized* lives. 
  • As our choices get *commoditized*, the entrepreneur dies. She does not have big money to compete with the advertising budgets of the big brands. Maybe she would come up with a cheaper burger with a potato patty for our poorer cousins. That is all! 
  • *Quality* of food goes down. (Read the article on “McDonaldization” by clicking here.) As competition and advertising spending by major brands increase, the quality drops further more. They squeeze the operational line to get every piece of profit. You cannot blame them. Money matters. Profit, more so.

The solution?

A part of me tells me that there can be no solution. But the eternal hopeful in me screams out the following:

  • Marketing your culture: If you want to survive and sell, you need to advertise. But when was the last time that you saw your Government advertising your country’s food in their tourism promotion advertisement? They advertise some dances, some colours and monuments in India. What about food, dude? 
  • Awareness: In France and other developed nations, children actually spend an hour having good food during their lunch period. Lunch period can also be a learning period – learning about balanced diet and the importance of health! 
  • Incentive for entrepreneurs: Incentives need not be financial. Incentives can be given also through training about modern management systems and something as necessary as electricity 24 cross 7. 

These are three of the top-of-my-mind suggestions. What else do you think can be done? I am not against the franchising system but the singular colors are killing all the vibrancy which we should try to protect. Efficiency is necessary but we can stay efficient even while preserving all our colors. 

What do you think? 

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