Concepts that are leading the expansion pack
by Mark Henricks
To get a lead on the kind of franchise concepts that are
experiencing the most rapid growth, start by looking at what
kind of consumer they serve. “The ones that seem to be
leaping off the plate right now haven’t changed much,”
according to Michael Seid, managing director of franchise
consulting firm MSA Worldwide in Hartford, Connecticut.
“They’re really centered around women.”
“People are living longer,” Seid says. “They need extra care.”
In addition to the consumer demand for these child- and
senior-service businesses catering to women’s needs,
franchisees find them attractive. They tend to be less
expensive to get into than restaurants and other real estate-
Combining the duties of caring for children and parents and
working for a living places extra demands on women, Seid
theorizes. Franchise concepts that supply services and
products that help to ease that burden, he says, are those
that are exhibiting the speediest advances. Thus, he says,
childcare, senior care, and similar businesses are hot.
Finally, Seid says, consumers, franchisees -- and lenders
-- are drawn to recognizable names. Bankable brands
encourage customers to patronize them. Franchisees get
the benefit of a strong marketing presence. And bankers find
it easier to provide financing. “Those are the ones that are
going to be growing the quickest,” Seid concludes.
Demographics is another factor driving rapid franchising
expansion. The main element here is an aging population.
At School of Rock, an international music education chain
based in Chicago, the last year has been one of exceptional
expansion. “We opened about 30 schools last year and will