Set up over 40 years ago, the British Franchise Association (bfa) is the original and largest not-for-profit trade association for franchising in the UK. We are proud to be the only association to work in partnership with the European Franchise Federation (EFF) and World Franchise Council (WFC), influencing standards and legislation across Europe.
As the trusted partner in franchising, our core aim is to support and influence high quality ethical business format franchising in accordance with the European Code of Ethics. The bfa proactively collaborates with government, academia, the media, other trade associations and the UK public on what constitutes franchising best practice. We seek to educate, influence and provide advice and guidance about what franchising is and the fantastic opportunities available via this business model.
The bfa has a range of different membership levels to identify businesses at different stages of their franchising journey. All members must undergo a thorough and rigorous process before becoming accredited with the association.
This is the entry point for emerging franchisors, who have run a pilot operation in the same size and scale as the model they will be offering to prospective franchisees. This is either done through a company owned outlet, or through a pilot franchisee. The franchisor will not have had a franchisee who has been trading for 12 months.
The next level of membership is for franchisors who have recruited a franchisee that has now been trading for over 12 months. The franchisor will be able to demonstrate that their business model works through the success of the franchisee against their financial projections.
To achieve Full membership status with the bfa, the franchisor must be at ‘critical mass’. This is where the cost of running the franchise operation is fully covered by the income the franchisor receives through its royalties from the franchisee network.
Our affiliate membership consists of professional advisors to the franchise industry, that can use their experience and expertise within a specific sector to influence stakeholders on best practice.
As with any business dispute, staying on good terms with the other party is crucial for your ongoing partnership, and the bfa recommends working towards an amicable resolution without third-party intervention wherever possible. In cases where internal efforts have been exhausted and the resolution is unclear, it may be time to look for outside help to resolve a disagreement. The bfa has several options which are detailed below.
The bfa’s free informal conciliation process is available to franchisees and franchisors of member brands. It allows both parties to represent their case and work towards a solution. It is not legally binding, as it’s purely designed to aid in communication between franchisor and franchisee. For more information around informal conciliations, please click here.
Mediation is a structured negotiation between the involved parties. It’s a relatively cheap, quick and confidential process. the mediator is an independent third party who facilitates the negotiations but does not give an award or make a decision, simply bring the parties together to find a commercial solution. Either party has the freedom to walk away from negotiations at any stage of the process. All negotiations take place on a without-prejudice basis and parties are not forced to settle their dispute during this process. For more information around mediations, please click here.
An arbitrator is also an independent third party. The difference is that arbitrators make a decision after hearing both sides. The arbitrator’s decision is final, binding and enforceable. The arbitrator will charge fees for undertaking the arbitration and costs can be awarded against the parties as determined by the arbitrator. The arbitration process can take longer and as such will likely incur higher costs than the mediation process. For more information around arbitrations, please click here.
The benefit of choosing mediation or arbitration over litigation is that litigation can be an expensive, uncertain, and stressful process which parties often look to avoid. That being said, the obvious first step in any conflict should be to talk and hopefully save your relationship.
The bfa always recommends that you seek independent legal advice from an experienced franchise lawyer. The bfa has several affiliated solicitors in membership who specialise in franchising. Their contact details can be found on our affiliate directory. These solicitors have been accredited by the British Franchise Association to affirm that they have experience in franchising.
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:
• Promote franchising in Europe
• Protect the franchise industry by promoting the European Code of Ethics
• Influence and encourage the development of franchising in Europe
• Represent the interests of the franchise industry to international organisations such as the European Commission, the European Parliament etc.
• Promote and represent the European franchise industry and its members world-wide
• Exchange information and documentation between national associations or federations in Europe and in the world
• Serve the member associations
For further information on the European Franchise Federation and its Member Associations click here.
The World Franchise Council (WFC) is the global organisation of franchise associations from all continents – except Antarctica. Currently, 45 members support the development and protection of franchising and promote a collective understanding of best practices in fair and ethical franchising worldwide.
The WFC’s vision is:
To be the leading source of credible information for and about the global franchise community, as well as being the pre-eminent forum for promoting collaboration and cooperation between national franchise associations.
WFC members meet twice a year with a national association volunteering to act as host. It is at these meetings where much of the work – and the invaluable exchange of information between associations – takes place. Associations find that hosting up to 50 of the leading figures in franchising from around the world has a very beneficial and positive impact on franchising in their country – at both a governmental and business levels.
All associations provide up-to-date information on the profile of franchising in their country, against economic and legislative developments. This is particularly valuable because it helps WFC national associations’ members – i.e. franchising companies and their representatives – who are seeking to export. The fraternal relationships between member associations can also play an important role by providing personal introductions to the key people in those countries. Click here if you would like to learn more about the World Franchise Council.