“The truth is that franchising is hierarchical, with the majority of the power with the franchisor, who has ownership of the franchise brand and all that is involved with that.”
– Dugan Aylen
The issue of whether or not a franchisee can be called a franchise owner has come up many times. The crux of the debate is that surely the ‘franchise owner’ can only be the franchisor…?
As someone specialising in the franchisee recruitment process, and ensuring that this process is comprehensive with decisions fully informed on both sides, I have, in the past, taken a somewhat liberal approach to this subject depending on the brand I was working with, the profile of the person they were trying to attract and my own judgement based on the people I was talking to.
The word ‘franchisee’ can invoke emotions of subjugation for certain individuals who view franchising more as business ownership, or a partnership than a hierarchy.
Business coaching, consultancy and management franchises are perfect examples of a sector where, in the past, I have used the term ‘franchise owner’ to describe the future role of the potential franchisee during discussions with them, and where the franchisor would rather refer to their franchisees as owners, consultants, coaches or partners rather than franchisees. I had simply been following the language I was given to use by the franchisor, rather than explaining this may not be the best approach (a good franchise solicitor will probably be able to explain why this is…).
For people simply looking for a job type (owner-operator) franchise with no real potential to employ staff and grow beyond that, the term ‘franchisee’ fits much more closely, because that individual is effectively just an employee within the franchise business, with most, if not all, of the profit being drawn as income.
The truth is that franchising is hierarchical, with the majority of the power with the franchisor, who has ownership of the franchise brand and all that is involved with that.
Now, let’s start a discussion about whether a franchisee can be called a ‘Franchise Investor’… 😉