Five Franchise Trends for 2012: Where to invest and why

These days franchises come in all shapes and sizes. From work at home business opportunities and kids franchises to fast food franchises, those of us looking for franchise investment opportunities really are spoiled for choice. With the economy on shaky ground, though, you want to invest your money in a recession-proof, rather than a fad franchise. So, if you’re looking to make a smart franchise investment this year, here’s a round-up of 2012′s top five franchise trends.

Fast Food Franchises

If you’re looking for a sure thing, nothing beats a good old fashioned fast food franchise! Let’s face it, people love to eat – and there’s almost nothing they prefer more than a juicy burger and fries or cheesy pizza. It’s no coincidence that a list of the world’s top franchises features seven fast food franchises in the top ten. Good bets include burger franchises Steers, Wimpy and MacDonalds, pizza franchises like Scooters Pizza and Debonairs and, of course, South Africa’s favourite fast food franchise, KFC.

Sandwich franchises

Sandwich franchises are growing into a franchise genre all of their own. In 2011, Subway overtook burger franchise MacDonalds as the franchise with the most outlets worldwide – in other words, a sandwich franchise is now the world’s largest franchise chain. There’s a perception amongst consumers that sandwich franchises are healthier than burger franchises and this is partly the reason why they’re on the up and up. Other reasons include lower start-up costs, minimal equipment and space requirements and the fact that no cooking is required to churn out sarmies.

Senior care franchises

With a generation of baby boomers nearing their twilight years – and advances in medical care meaning that they’ll be living considerably longer than previous generations – senior care franchises are becoming a hot franchise trend overseas. Over the course of the next 40 years, the aged population in South Africa looks set to double*; establishing or buying senior care franchises, then, will be a sound investment.

  • Cape Care is a senior care franchise offering frail care at homes and in institutions.

Tutoring franchises

While a recession means tightening the belt, one area where people aren’t willing to cut back spending is on their children’s education. In fact, during times of economic hardship, people tend to invest even more; as parents see a good education as a means of safeguarding their child’s future in an uncertain job market. Right now, tutoring franchises are experiencing a global boom. One of the most profitable tutoring franchises is Kumon – ranked in the world’s top ten franchises.

Green franchises

Green is an increasingly attractive business theme – consumers are choosing to support green businesses over their non-green counterparts, and clever businesses are catering to the needs of this ever-growing market segment. What’s more, the recession seems to have prompted people to re-assess what’s important – a recent Time Magazine poll points out that 60% of Americans purchase organic products and 40% of them make purchasing decisions based on how a producer tackles environmental, political and social issues. Time calls it the Responsibility Revolution. For both ecological and business reasons, then, it makes sense to go green, and franchises are no exception.

  • For more information about green franchises, read What You Need to Know about Buying Green

Looking for more hot franchise trends? For inspiration and ideas, these unique franchise concepts are worth checking out:

  • Men in Kilts – strapping lads squeegee-ing windows and clearing gutters dressed in traditional Scottish kilts?
  • The Phat Pastry Company – Health snacks for hungry workers, and all from a funky retro van.
  • Chocolography – if you’re looking for a recession-proof franchise, personalized chocolate could be it!

*According to Population Ageing and Health Challenges in South Africa by Jané Joubert and Debbie Bradshaw.