A Useful Franchise News Roundup For April 19

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This collection of franchise news comes to us via BizEngine. Enjoy!

Counting Calories, Counting On Change

Fast food franchises and chain restaurants the nation over are preparing for life after a new federal law that forces them to disclose calories, fat and sodium in all their menu items. Many franchises have already taken significant steps in that direction—you’ll quickly learn that a TenderGrill Chicken Sandwich from Burger King has approximately 700 less calories than a Triple Whopper—but it’s not universal.

There’s not a lot of evidence that these calorie counts are going to make people order healthier items, but the federal government is rolling out the menu guidelines as it attempts to combat widespread obesity in America:

The move is driven by the nation’s growing weight problems. Thirty percent of Americans are classified as being obese, and that number is growing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Arizona, one in four residents is obese.

Government experts say including nutritional facts can help decrease those rates. Others say it won’t work because only those who already take responsibility for their diet will care.

Most major chains are backing this move because most of them have already complied. Even if it does not end up making a major difference in the eating habits of consumers, it’s good to have a little daylight on the calorie counts.

Franchise Financing Fickle

The franchise industry desperately wants to grow, as we’ve noted many times here at BizEngine, and the U.S. is eager to see it grow and help with the burgeoning economic recovery. The major roadblock has long been securing the capital needed to do so.

According to Small Business Trends, the availability of franchise funding really depends on who you ask. Ask the vaunted International Franchise Association and you’ll hear that “39 percent of franchisors report that more than half of their franchisees and franchise prospects are unable to obtain needed financing.” Ask Chase Bank and they’ll tell you their funding is up 30% over 2009. So there’s definitely mixed messaging.

Either way, it’s clear there’s still work to do. The Small Business Administration is trying to step into the void, but more will be needed in the months ahead. Let’s hope franchise funders put their money where their mouths are.

Foreign Franchises

We’ve covered the rise of franchises like McDonald’s and Starbucks in markets abroad, particularly China. Now it appears everyone wants a piece of the pie.

According to NASDAQ, McDonald’s has taken off in China, Russia and India in recent years, giving similar franchises hope that they can do the same. Direct and indirect competitors are muscling in as a result, with Denny’s announcing plans to launch 50 locations in India in the near future.

With the U.S. market well-saturated for your bigger franchises, going abroad is the prudent move. In the next few years, you should hear a lot more about these kinds of moves.

Any interesting franchise news you’d like to share? Hit the comments!


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