5 min read
I’m troubled by the staggering number of business closures and job losses brought on by COVID-19, but as a franchise industry consultant with 35 years in the franchise business, I’m also optimistic about the year ahead. Historic access to labor, real estate, and capital has created an environment extremely favorable to franchise growth, and shifting social and cultural norms will create opportunities for new concepts to expand quickly in the months to come.
All factors considered, I’m predicting 2021 to be the best year of franchise growth in at least a decade. Let’s take each market force in turn. At the end of November 2020, the unemployment rate was at 6.7 percent. That’s a slight improvement over the worst of the pandemic, but it’s still high. And when large numbers of people are looking for work, franchises have an easier time building a strong workforce. But what’s unique to this specific downturn is that in addition to low-cost laborers, it also freed up many seasoned career professionals.
Many of the people currently looking for work have management experience and technology skills, and they’re accustomed to life at the top end of the