New World Order: The Millennial Cohort is Looking to Franchising Opportunities

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Back in the New Frontier days of the 1960s, the Baby Boomers moved into the world of business and politics with an eye to effect change and leave a generational mark. They were successful to a degree and helped drive the technological revolution that actually did change the world. Now their children and grandchildren are following the same path — and they may be more successful than the previous generation.

In today’s market, traditional job searching methods are difficult and there are large numbers of educated unemployed. Rather than being swallowed up by large business concerns, today’s young and well-educated millennials prefer to exhibit their independence and entrepreneurial spirit with well-researched and well-planned investments in franchising. This route provides a viable option for gaining employment and management experience.

Millennials are willing to enter the industry at a lower level and work their way up — as long as they’re allowed to chart their own progress. They want to be their own bosses and plot their own courses. This group is also more likely to rent or lease, and far less likely to purchase, according to studies. In response, many franchisors are offering “rent-to-own” and “operator” programs. For example, the Pizza Pizza Associate Program (PPAP) provides a “test drive” type of business atmosphere in hopes of injecting new blood into the corporation.

Smaller franchise opportunities requiring lower down payments are also attractive to millennial operators. Some franchisors even offer in-house financing to appeal to potential franchisees who don’t have access to significant amounts of cash.

But are millennials so different? Is being born in the 1980s and beyond so special? The simplest answer is the most obvious — they are the first generation to grow up in the digital age. They were weaned on mobile platforms and social media; they eschew television and traditional media and live in, and on, their smartphones. They are desperate for an opportunity to prove their worth and to show and implement new ideas.

For nearly a decade, the older generation saw millennials as apathetic and reluctant to enter the traditional business world. And then something happened: millennials began investing in business — especially in franchising — wherever they could. They gravitated to franchises with five or fewer employees, those where they could be hands-on in all aspects of the entreprise. As a result, the millennial cohort is changing public perception of their generation.

A report by Sweden-based employer-branding experts Universum stated: “Millennials want to truly understand a company’s purpose, align with it and work with others to propel the organization’s performance. Millennials are highly attracted to entrepreneurial energy in the workplace.”

They can find those opportunities in the world of franchising, where benefits such as being your own boss and investing in your future are key selling-points.

While most franchisors identify and grow with one brand, millennials are investing in several different types of franchises — leading to a new generation of multi-brand franchisors rapidly building business empires. Millennials entering the franchising industry are bringing new ideas to the table and changing the way franchisees invest in businesses and use technology. As recently as a decade ago, it would have been impossible to find anyone in franchising who thought people in their 20s or early 30s represented the “great new thing” for their business. Today, millennials bring an independent and entrepreneurial spirit, energy and a new way of seeing the business world. They are the transfusion of new blood the corporate world needs. Sebastian Fuschini is VP of Franchising for Pizza Pizza Ltd.

Volume 49, Number 7 
Written By: Sebastian Fuschini

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