The bfa is a well regarded national Franchise Association and holds positions which include; Managing the World Franchise Council financial affairs which also means we form part of a task force group dealing with global franchising matters of significance. As well as being one of the founding members of the EFF, the bfa is unique in that we hold both a franchisee and franchisor board member position.
Our influence on both global and european levels are critical to protecting the franchising industry in the UK and strengthening standards to prevent costly legislation for out members. The prevention of government legislation is something which enables many franchisors who otherwise wouldn’t have the funds to operate a franchised business to do so.
Franchising contributes 2.7% to global GDP. It also enables 19,000,000 people to work in an industry, with an average of 42,533 franchise units per country. Furthermore, there are 2,000,000 franchise businesses globally, with each country having an average of 1,035 franchise brands present.
So, as well as facilitating hundreds of thousands of franchisees across the world to thrive through franchising and allow small business to succeed, the statistics show that franchising, collectively, really is big business.
The bfa has ran a series of articles and videos with association and industry leaders in order to promote and understand franchising on a global scale. The bfa is both a member to the European Franchise Federation, and the World Franchise Council, bodies dedicated to ensuring the ethical growth of franchising.
Read and listen to these leaders and understand why franchising is such a fantastic route into business. On the side you will see both videos and articles from association leaders. These include representatives from the World Franchise Council, the European Franchise Federation, and association leaders from the Netherlands, Russia, Argentina, Poland and more.
Simon Bartholomew, bfa Board member for International, explains why convening with 46 other associations in World Franchise Council (WFC) membership is essential for the global landscape of franchising. He reflects here at the end of a meeting held in Abu Dhabi in October 2019.
Does the bfa have much scope to influence decisions at World Franchise Council meetings?
“When you meet with the WFC, it is very interesting to see with how much esteem the association is held. The WFC was largely founded by the bfa and the French Franchise Association, so people tend to look to us.
We are recognised as a truly standards-based association so people will talk to us about the standards we have implemented.
As one of the older associations, smaller, newer associations tend to look to us on how to grow, but this can work both ways, as some of the smaller associations can also teach us about what they are doing. This shared experience and best practice can work for all of us. And our experience enables us to influence the way the WFC looks to influence governments, and consider legislations and regulations on a global level.”
How has being a member of the WFC helped your franchise, Oscar Pet Foods?
“Certainly my involvement with the bfa, and more recently the European Franchise Federation (EFF) and the WFC, has helped raise the profile of Oscar Pet Foods. Oscar will one day aim to go international. That’s not quite on our radar at the moment but it will be moving forward, and it helps us build relationships with associations on an international level for when we do look at this.”
And what else do you learn at these meetings?
“I also learn a lot about franchising outside of the UK, in particular the legal issues we talk about at the WFC, particularly the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and Holland, where they have had some rather draconian measures being brought in. For the bfa, to have that sort of knowledge of what is being discussed at government level gives us an opportunity to think about how we can stave off similar issues with our own regulations and code of practices in our country.”
When you reflect on the standards implemented by the bfa, how advanced is this in comparison to the rest of the world?
“The bfa is considered exceptionally standards-based. A lot of other associations are quite envious of that. With this, we also have a considerable membership. Some of the newer, smaller associations do struggle to get more members, so they do worry about making standards so high that it would put off prospective members. However, we can help explain how being a standards-based concept is actually appealing to franchisors coming into membership.
The more associations that do become standards-based, the more can come into WFC membership and that helps the industry globally. This also helps when UK franchisors look at international expansion, knowing they are on a level playing field.”
What were the key themes discussed at the WFC meeting in Abu Dhabi in October?
“The first day always revolves around legal and global issues with presentations on this, with the second day consisting mainly of round table discussions, with subjects to discuss to share best practice. A lot of the rest of the time is networking and meetings with other associations to learn about certain issues in their country that are of interest to us.
This time in Abu Dhabi, the legal issues concentrated mainly on joint employer, where the USA is having particular problems and Australia has had problems in the past. This is where the franchisor is held responsible for the rights of employees of franchisees, which has in other countries been an issue.
I am not convinced that it will be a subject for the UK parliament to look at, but it certainly doesn’t do any harm to understand how that has been handled in other countries so we can be armed against it ever being discussed in the UK. Joint employer would, if it came into the UK, largely negate the benefits of being a franchisor as opposed to company-owned operations.
After that we talked a lot about digital communications. We asked about the WFC and its purpose, as well as budgets to maintain a website fit for purpose. The French did a presentation about social responsibility and how franchising can be at the forefront of this. It was interesting and the FFF have been asked to put a paper together to share with everyone in more detail.”
Can you also tell us more about the round table discussions?
“There are three tables discussing various topics, and you are able to move around. It gives you the opportunity to share best practice on numerous things, such as how the associations work, how they take on sponsorship, and discuss the issues they are having. We had a table talk about digital marketing channels and how associations use different methods for digitally marketing their association. Since then, I believe we have come back and thought about using other channels that different associations are using. We also had another table talking about the make up of association boards, including how many have elected members, and how many have franchisors, affiliates and franchisees. For some associations in the Far East, government appoints board members. Government appointed boards do have advantages. Franchisors tend to have to be members by law, but the trade off of this is that the government has a lot of say.
Fundamentally, these discussions revolve around shared experience, which in turn allow for the implementation of best practice of franchising around the world.”
The European Franchise Federation (EFF) is an international non-profit association constituted in 1972. Its members are national franchise associations or federations established in Europe. The EFF also accepts associate members who are non-European franchise associations or federations.
The aims of the EFF are to:
For further information on the European Franchise Federation and its Member Associations.