Franchising is based on a marketing concept which can be adopted by an organization as a strategy for business expansion. Where implemented, a franchisor licenses its know-how, procedures, intellectual property, use of its business model, brand, and rights to sell its branded products and services to a franchisee. In return the franchisee pays certain fees and agrees to comply with certain obligations, typically set out in a Franchise Agreement.
The word "franchise" is of Anglo-French derivation—from franc, meaning free—and is used both as a noun and as a (transitive) verb.
For the franchisor, use of a franchise system is an alternative business growth strategy, compared to expansion through corporate owned outlets or "chain stores". Adopting a franchise system business growth strategy for the sale and distribution of goods and services minimizes the franchisor's capital investment and liability risk.
Franchising is not an equal partnership, especially due to the legal advantages the franchisor has over the franchisee. But under specific circumstances like transparency, favourable legal conditions, financial means and proper market research, franchising can be a vehicle of success for both franchisor and franchisee.
Thirty-six countries have laws that explicitly regulate franchising, with the majority of all other countries having laws which have a direct or indirect effect on franchising.
Franchising is also used as a foreign market entry mode.
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