New Report Looks at Franchisee Satisfaction at Food Brands

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Franchise Business Review Surveys 4,000 Franchisees, Names Top Brands

“The food business isn’t easy. It’s even more important that prospective franchisees know what they’re getting into before signing on the dotted line."

A report out today from Franchise Business Review takes an in-depth look at food franchise opportunities and ranks companies based on the satisfaction of franchisees.

Based on a survey of more than 4,000 franchisees from 84 brands in the food sector, Franchise Business Review’s study looks at an array of franchise concepts to assess the investment opportunity and success attributes of franchisees, as well as the outlook for food franchising in 2013. The report also lists the top food franchises based on franchisee satisfaction—a list that includes Firehouse Subs, Culver’s, Auntie Anne’s, Checker’s, Rally’s, East Coast Wings & Grill, Simple Beef O’Brady’s, and Hardee’s.

“As in past years, franchise concepts offering quick, inexpensive foods dominate our list. Pizza, subs, wings, frozen yogurt, and burgers remain the hottest foods in franchising,” writes Franchise Business Review.

The food industry has seen a marked improvement in franchisee satisfaction over the past couple of years, and 74% of franchisees surveyed said they would likely recommend their brand to others. That said, the food business remains fiercely competitive, often requiring long days, nights, and weekends, especially in the first years of business.

“The food business isn’t easy. It’s even more important that prospective franchisees know what they’re getting into before signing on the dotted line,” said Franchise Business Review president Michelle Rowan.

Food is typically one of the more expensive sectors for franchise ownership (the median investment range for a food franchise is $250,000 - $540,000), reports Franchise Business Review, so it is critical that franchisees be well-funded not just for start-up but for the first several months of business.

“We never take someone in who is undercapitalized,” said Sam Ballas, president and CEO of East Coast Wings & Grill. “Franchisees can have an off weekend, but the bills still keep coming … We make it as tough as we can for franchisees, and the ones who get through do very, very well.”

Franchise Business Review’s report also provides a look at what the typical food franchisee looks like:

  •     58% have owned their franchise(s) for 5 years or less
  •     58% are single-unit owners; 11% own 5 or more units
  •     43% operate in small or very small markets (compared to 29% of all franchising segments)
  •     68% work 40 or more hours per week
  •     59% work evenings at least a couple times per week
  •     47% “almost always” work weekends (compared to 35% of overall benchmark)
  •     67% consider their schedules flexible or very flexible
  •     62% are between the ages of 35 and 54
  •     62% have at least a bachelor’s degree level education
  •     27% have an income over $100K (compared to 20% of overall benchmark)
  •     10% are veterans

About Franchise Business Review

Headquartered in Portsmouth, NH, Franchise Business Review is a national franchise market research firm that performs independent surveys of franchisee satisfaction and franchise buyer experiences. The firm’s services include commissioned franchise research projects, as well as industry-wide studies of franchisee satisfaction.

To research a franchise company, FBR contacts every franchisee via phone or email and invites them to take part in an independent survey. Survey participation averages well over 50%, and in many cases, participation will be as high as 70, 80, or even 90%. Franchisees answer 37 benchmark questions ranking their franchise system in the areas of financial opportunity, training and support, leadership, operations and product development, core values (e.g., honesty and integrity of franchisor), general satisfaction, and the franchisee community. An additional 16 questions ask franchisees about the franchisee’s market area, demographics, business lifestyle, overall enjoyment running the franchise, and role in the franchisee community.

Franchise Business Review does not charge a fee for our base survey or awards. Any franchise company with at least 10 operating franchisees can participate in our research at no cost, and the companies listed in FBR’s reports are based solely on franchisee satisfaction ratings.

Visit or call (603) 433-2270 for more information.

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Molly Rowe
Franchise Business Review
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