Modern Franchise

Typical franchise agreement from mid 90’s is very different from the agreements from 50’s and 60’s. What used to be 3 pages grew to be 50 or more pages long. Today the franchisor dictates all aspects of the relationship. Most of the agreements go in the smallest detail and the renewal of the franchise agreement, if it is allowed, is conditioned with the franchisees signature under any new conditions franchisors can decide to add or change. Due to the uniformity of the looks, franchise users usually accept (and pay for it) all demanding system changes, including products offered, the use of brands and demanding “brand outfits”.

Because of the huge popularity of the franchise business model, most franchisers offer reduced or no exclusivity to the franchise users. Because today the system is what you franchise (but not the right to distribution any more), most franchisors charge royalty for the right to use the brand and the business model. There are no contract limitation to how many point of sales the franchisee can have, and because of that the royalty is charged per sales dollars (regardless of the profit margin), franchisors and their shareholders are fully focused on the sales of the system. Very often the users of the franchises claim that the franchisors are not sensitive to the profit margin necessary for success. That is correct because many of the franchisors claim that they do not measure the profit margins of their users and therefore they are not capable of predicting profitability when they are negotiating new franchise offices.

The huge popularity of the franchise business model and the perception created by the franchisors that the streets of franchise business are covered with gold, created the situation where franchise agreements are not even negotiated. The buyers are convicted that those one-sided franchise agreements are the industry standards and therefore acceptable. They also think that if they do not accept the particular franchise offers with that one-sided franchise agreement somebody else will take them. As long as the buyers stand in the line with a pen and the money in their hands, franchise market will offer those franchise agreements that protect only franchisors.