Owner of a franchised coffee shop

Franchising has come a long way since Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s in the ‘50s. Just last year, the now mammoth fast food chain’s annual sales topped $24.6 billion at nearly 37,000 branches in over 120 countries.

And nearly 90% of those branches are owned by franchisees.

No doubt, the franchise industry has been growing leaps and bounds over the years. The year 2017 has brought on plenty of business change—particularly with the innovative ideas that are changing the way the world works. In addition, current events and Facebook shares are presenting new business ideas and opportunities.

And that’s only the beginning.

With that said, if you’re planning to dive into franchising, it’s important to keep your eye on the trends in this ever-evolving market:

Recession-Proof Products and Services

More and more investors are playing it safe and looking for business concepts that can withstand economic downturns. No matter the economic condition, there are certain things that we will always need, such as home repair and renovation, childcare, education, and auto repair. People might quickly skip out on fine dining when money gets tight, but they’re not so likely to skip the real necessities.

If consumers do opt for meals out during a recession or economic downturn, they will likely choose a place where they can get gourmet food at a low price, such as the rising quick-service, fast-casual restaurant franchises.

Fast Casual Dining

Restaurant franchises are adapting to the changing customer expectations. The days of flash frozen fries and tasteless hamburgers are quickly fading, as consumers look even more for real, quality food served in a snap.

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While still focused on convenience, fast casual dining offers a restaurant experience for less. It lies between fast food restaurants and casual sit-down restaurants; both have the elements of a fast food outlet, such as the diverse menu and low price, but what makes them different is the transparency in ingredients.

Shifting Demographics

The demographics are also shifting. Baby Boomers are moving towards retirement. Millennials are entering the workforce and starting their own families, and they are coming into their own as a potent economic force. This generation was raised on the Internet as well, and it takes a good digital marketing strategy to reach this age group effectively.

Franchisees must adapt to this changing customer base to find opportunities for growth.

Supremacy of Green Lifestyles

There has been a steady increase in the interest for green business, as well. This trend received a boost in 2009, as the government increased funding for the energy sector.

This is a rising trend as more and more consumers and business owners are realizing the effects of global warning. TREND Transformations, one of the leading franchisers of 2017, for instance, recently made their one millionth green renovation, which used materials that didn’t end up in a landfill.

All business ventures involve risks. But being updated about the current market trends, and where they are likely to go in the future, is a huge step in achieving long-term franchise success.