Thinking of franchising? Well, the market looks a lot different today than it did just a few years ago. Franchising has evolved, and 2018 is ushering in new trends that franchisors need to consider. It’s more important than ever for franchisors to be nimble and have an acute understanding of what trends are driving success in a competitive market.

Here are the top food franchise trends that can’t go ignored by franchisors:

Build-Your-Own

Take a look at Chipotle’s come back. From harrowing scandals and health scares in 2015 to 2017, where they opened more stores than ever and recorded their highest gross sales. A huge part of their success is thanks to their personalized ordering approach, where diners can customize their meal down to the ingredient, and even watch the cooks prepare their order.

Success in the build your own model is not limited to one cuisine; fast-casual pizzerias have also seen huge success. With industry leaders like MOD Pizza, who was just awarded the fastest growing chain restaurant in the US, has a totally customizable approach to how their customers can enjoy their pizzas.  

food franchises

The Millennial Influence

While this point is trite, it’s still very important to consider. Millennials hold a growing amount of today’s economic power, and they are dining far differently than their parents did. Millennials grew up with trendy fast-casual options that promised convenience and quality at an affordable price. Designed specifically for Millennials in mind, food franchises like BurgerFi  and Zoup! are seeing explosive growth and garnering a cult-like following,

Not only are their tastes and demands echoed in up and coming franchises, they are getting in the game themselves. More and more, Millennials are investing in franchises and seeking out various franchise opportunities. Being a franchisor lends well to their lifestyle, it gives them the flexibility to be their own boss and scale their franchise as they best see fit. Also, with companies like ApplePie Capital, Millennials can easily borrow money for initial costs.

Focused Brands

The popularity of single food franchises is on the rise. Take, for example, Revel customer, Popeye’s, is one of the largest QSR chicken restaurants in the world. A huge part of their success is their paired down menu and focus on chicken, which builds a strong brand identity. Other examples include Extreme Pita, Halal Guys, and In N’ Out – whose limited offerings and focused brand have propelled them to success.

food franchise

A Little Personality

Food franchises aren’t just fueling our country, but they are creating experiences. And as this idea of experiential restaurants continues to grow – franchisors are turning to branding to boost their image. Take for example Taco Bell and Wendy’s; Taco Bell uses digital marketing to convey its fun personality and relatability to Millennials (their core audience). And Wendy’s social media’s irreverent and sarcastic personality are the elements that led to Wendy’s virality, ultimately boosting sales.

Poised for a big year, quick service franchises are expected to grow over 6% in sales. This leaves ample room for opportunity, and as the next generation becomes a growing force within the franchise community – we will likely see more fast-casual concepts that practice brand authenticity.

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