Why buy a food franchise now?
It’s quite possible that 2021 will stand out as the absolute best year to buy a food franchise for a very, very long time. This isn’t idle speculation or blind optimism about the post-COVID future, either—there’s plenty of evidence to support this calculated prediction.
You might be asking yourself, but hasn’t the restaurant industry fallen on some pretty hard times? It’s true, the pandemic did a number on food-related businesses ranging all the way from the finest dine-in restaurants to the cheapest food franchises to open. At one point in 2020, the National Restaurant Association estimated that the restaurant industry had lost $120B in sales—and that was just for March, April, and May.
The irony is that the recession triggered by the pandemic is actually going to become a huge draw to buy a food franchise as vaccines roll out and the food industry starts its recovery. As one industry expert explained to Restaurant Business Online, “nothing beats a good recession. Every franchise salesperson knows that unemployment is going to drive franchise sales.”
Still skeptical? Let’s dive into the details. Interest in food franchise opportunities is booming, and there are at least three core reasons that 2021 will go down as a golden year for buying a food franchise.
1. Uncommon Abundance of Resources
There will be more top-end food services talent in the market for a job in 2021 than ever before. With millions still unemployed, and a large percentage of them from the food industry, there are tons of potential hires that will be looking for a job at a food-related company in the coming year.
Image Credit: Restaurant Business Online
In addition to the out-of-work managers, line cooks, servers, and other food industry veterans who will be diving back into the economy, there will be plenty of available real estate for you to buy a food franchise in a prime spot. The incredibly high number of permanent restaurant closures from the height of the pandemic (already in the tens of thousands by time of last summer’s infection spike) have left locations vacant in strip malls, office complexes, and stand-alone properties alike. Many more food industry businesses that weren’t permanently shuttered have changed their operating models (ghost kitchens, online ordering, etc.), also leaving previous brick-and-mortar venues up for grabs.
As Franchise Development VP Jackie Lobdell of fast-casual brand Slim Chickens says, “Buyers are seeing this as a huge opportunity. Those who are able are taking advantage of open real estate.” If you’ve been intimidated in the past about the prospect of finding a competitive physical location, now is the time to buy a food franchise and benefit.
2. Business Security and Resilience
The tried-and-true methodology of a successful franchise brand is something to bank on in uncertain times. There are fewer risks than starting a new business from scratch, since you can count on the proven concept and name recognition of the brand. In addition, so much is already built out for you—effective branding, a marketing strategy, a popular menu, training resources, and more. The franchise ownership will also have deep pockets and plenty of resources to support the businesses under their name with legal issues, publicity initiatives, workforce development, and other forms of support. When you buy a food franchise, you’re buying a known winner with a built-in well of resources to help you protect your investment.
3. Access to Financial Aid
With government money flowing into things like the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES act, loans guaranteed by the SBA, and other pandemic relief and recovery packages, there’s a huge opportunity to build your own business and help the economy recover as a new business owner. Interest rates have also hit historic lows, which means that financing is much more affordable and feasible than it has been in a long time.
Don’t Wait Until the Door of Opportunity Closes. Take the Plunge.
The next year to 18 months will be a great time for anyone hoping to buy a food franchise (or buy a franchise in general!), so don’t hesitate. The competitive advantage starts now. If you’ve ever considered trying to buy a restaurant franchise or become your own boss, there’s never been more opportunity than the fertile ground left open by this economic recovery.