Understanding Franchising: 

A Comprehensive Guide for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Open a Franchise

1. Introduction

Passionate about the bar and restaurant sector but wary of its demanding hours? Perhaps it's time to explore the enticing realm of franchising. 

Owning a franchise in the hospitality industry marries the allure of the sector with the promise of a more balanced lifestyle. Many have discovered that this route not only keeps them tethered to an industry they adore, but offers an escape from the common downsides of traditional hospitality roles.

Contrary to the uphill battle of starting an independent business – laden with risks and hefty investments – the franchise model offers a smoother ascent. 

Hospitality franchising offers an alternative pathway to being your own boss. It offers the chance to helm a business tailored to your investment capabilities, backed by an established brand reputation, expansive marketing clout, and a support system of seasoned professionals eager to guide you.

So, if the vision of charting your own course, breaking free from the 9-5 grind, and immersing yourself in an industry that you're passionate about resonates with you, you're in the right place. Dive in as we unravel the intricacies of launching a franchise in the hospitality sector and help you assess its alignment with your aspirations.

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2. What is Franchising?

Franchising is a business model that allows an individual or group (the franchisee) to operate a business using the branding, products, services, and operating system of an established company (the franchisor). 

This arrangement provides the franchisee the rights to sell a product or service, and in return, the franchisee pays the franchisor a fee, which can be a one-time initial fee, ongoing royalties, or a combination of both.

Key components of franchising include:


The franchisee gains the advantage of an established brand's reputation, logo, and trademark. This means quicker market penetration and recognition without the efforts required to build a brand from scratch.

Training and Support

The franchisor typically offers training programs for the franchisee and their staff, ensuring consistency in operations, customer service, and overall experience across all franchise locations.

Operating System

Franchisees receive a proven business model, including the day-to-day operational processes, marketing strategies, and sometimes even supplier connections, which can reduce the time and risk involved in starting a business from the ground up.

Royalty Payments

In exchange for the benefits received, franchisees pay the franchisor royalties, which are usually a percentage of the gross sales. This is how the franchisor generates revenue from the franchise agreement.

Territorial Rights

A franchise agreement usually specifies a particular geographic area in which the franchisee can operate, ensuring they don't face direct competition from another franchisee of the same brand within that designated area.

3. Interesting Franchise Statistics

The franchise sector is a diverse and interesting space, particularly for those looking to enter it for the first time. With that in mind, we’ve listed a few interesting statistics related to the industry to give you an idea of current trends:

  • There are over 712,274 franchise owners currently employed in the United States (Zippia).
  • 91.2% of franchises were still in business after two years, and 85% remained open after five years (FranNet).
  • Franchises represent 11.4% of all businesses in the industries covered, employing 9.6 million of the 63.3 million workers in these industries (United States Census Bureau).
  • Franchises account for about 3% of national GDP in the US (International Franchise Association).
  • McDonald’s is the largest franchise in the world, with more than $23 billion in annual revenue in 2021 (New York Times).

4. The Pros of Financing

Navigating the diverse landscape of restaurants and bars is a venture rich with possibilities. 

Whether you're contemplating starting a direct restaurant or bar franchise or considering a business that aids such establishments in enhancing their profitability, the franchising avenue provides a trove of advantages.

Here are some of the benefits of entrepreneurs can realize when opening a franchise:

  1. Established Brand Recognition: Allying with a recognized name can usher in instant trust from potential clients or customers. This trust is invaluable, whether you're opening a dining establishment or offering a solution to enhance restaurant and bar operations.
  2. A Proven Business Framework: The franchise model offers a systematic blueprint that has been vetted in real-world scenarios. This operational clarity can fast-track success, whether you're serving meals or serving the businesses that do.
  3. Supporting and Training: Beyond the initial setup, franchisors provide ongoing training and operational support. This ensures that you're equipped to handle evolving challenges and market shifts.
  4. Access to a Strong Peer Network: Franchising introduces you to a community of entrepreneurs in similar ventures. This collective wisdom can be tapped into for insights, best practices, and mutual growth opportunities.
  5. Innovative Solutions: Franchisors typically invest in research and development (R&D) to keep pace with market trends. Whether it's a new menu item or a cutting-edge software solution for restaurateurs, you gain the advantage of fresh offerings without the individual R&D overheads.
  6. Centralized Marketing Efforts: Since the franchisor will be performing their own brand marketing efforts, the marketing costs of owning a franchise compared to your own business can be substantially lower - and far more effective. 
  7. Increased Success Likelihood: The combined strength of brand trust and a tested operational model often resolts in a higher success rate compared to standalone startups, irrespective of the exact nature of the venture within the industry.

Find Out What it Takes to Own and Operate a Sculpture Hospitality Franchise

"The best thing I get out of being a Sculpture Hospitality franchise is when an owner comes to me and says I am the best money he has ever spent. I enjoy helping bar owners become more profitable and of course they are grateful and very happy to see me walk through those doors.”

Greg Clark, Sculpture Hospitality Franchise Owner

Is owning a franchise business worth it? For many people, it absolutely is. That’s because owning a hospitality franchise business keeps you in the industry you love, but allows you to escape some of the challenges that come with the hospitality sector.

Do you want to learn what it takes to own and operate a Sculpture Hospitality franchise? Download your free copy of Owning a Sculpture Franchise - The Quick Start Guide.

5. The Cons of Franchising

While the benefits of franchising in the hospitality sector are many, it's vital to approach the opportunity with a full spectrum of understanding. Delving into franchising is a substantial commitment, and being aware of the potential challenges can help you make an informed decision on whether it’s right for you.

With that in mind, here are some of the drawbacks of starting a franchise business:


  1. Initial and Ongoing Fees: Franchising comes with a cost. There's typically an upfront fee to purchase the franchise rights, followed by ongoing royalty fees. These recurring fees can sometimes feel burdensome, especially if the business faces lean periods. We’ll touch on the cost of franchising in more details below.
  2. Limited Autonomy: Being associated with an established brand means adhering to set standards and guidelines. This might curtail creative freedom, be it in terms of menu offerings, interior decor, or the specific services that your business can provide.
  3. Contractual Obligations: Franchise agreements often come with binding terms. Exiting these contracts prematurely or changing business directions can be complicated and potentially expensive.
  4. Shared Reputation: While benefiting from brand recognition is a pro, it also means that negative events associated with other franchisees or the parent brand can indirectly affect your venture.
  5. Operational Restrictions: Franchisors often dictate specific operational procedures, vendors, or software solutions. This can limit your flexibility in optimizing operations based on local needs or personal preferences.
  6. Territorial Limitations: Franchise agreements might restrict your business operations to a specific territory or location, potentially limiting expansion opportunities within close proximities.
  7. Renewal Agreements: Franchise agreements aren't forever. Once the contract term expires, there's no guaranteed renewal. The franchisor might impose new terms, higher fees, or even opt not to renew.

6. Is Franchising Right For You?

Venturing into the franchising world, especially in the hospitality industry, can be a difficult decision. It presents both opportunities and challenges, and your decision should be driven by a combination of personal aspirations and pragmatic considerations. 

So, how do you know if you’re ready to own and operate a franchise?

Start by assessing your financial readiness. Beyond the upfront investment, there are ongoing costs, and having a financial buffer can be crucial, especially during the initial phase when returns might be unpredictable.

It's also vital to reflect on the brand's values and ethos. Does what they stand for resonate with your beliefs and vision? Finding harmony in values can make the journey smoother and more aligned with your personal and business aspirations.

When comparing franchise opportunities to starting your own business, ask yourself how comfortable you are with following established blueprints versus pioneering your own path.

To find out if you have what’s required to start a franchise business, both financially and personally, check out our checklist in the resource section below.

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7. How to Choose the Right Franchise?

When embarking on a franchising journey, choosing the right partner is a pivotal step for entrepreneurs who want to own a franchise. The process is more than just a business decision; it's about finding the right fit for your passion, skills, and financial capability. 

A carefully chosen franchise not only holds the promise of financial returns but also ensures a fulfilling entrepreneurial journey. As you sift through potential opportunities, consider both the tangible and intangible aspects that resonate with your vision and values.

With that in mind, here are some key things to keep in mind.

Skills and Passion Alignment

Ensure that the franchise aligns with your personal strengths and areas of interest.

Financial Preparedness

Understand both the initial and recurring costs. This includes franchise fees, royalties, and other potential expenditures.

Industry Trends

Stay updated on evolving market trends, particularly those relevant to the restaurant and bar sector.

Reputation Check

Research the brand's standing, customer feedback, and reviews from existing franchisees.

Support & Training

Assess the depth of training provided and the ongoing support you can expect in areas like marketing and operations.

Legal Aspects

Always scrutinize the franchise agreement, understanding your rights, obligations, and any territorial restrictions.

Hands-on Research

If possible, visit existing franchise locations to get a tangible sense of the business operation and atmosphere.

Trust Your Instinct

Beyond all research, your personal comfort and gut feeling about the franchise and its leaders are paramount.

Choosing a franchise is a significant decision that combines both objective analysis and subjective feelings. Approach it with meticulousness, patience, and confidence

Learn more...

8. The Costs of Franchising

The allure of franchising in the restaurant and bar industry often comes with the promise of a proven business model and brand recognition. However, it's essential to understand the associated costs to ensure financial viability.

There are three main fees associated with running a franchise.

  1. Initial fee: Most franchisors charge an initial fee for the right to operate a franchise as an upfront fee. This fee usually ranges somewhere between $10,000 and $100,000 (or more depending on the franchise business).
  2. Royalty fees: Once the investor has paid the initial fee and started their franchise, they then have to pay royalties. The structure of these royalties will change from one business to the next, but most are a percentage of revenue ranging from 5 to 50%.
  3. Marketing fees: Many franchisees must spend a specified amount on marketing each year. This helps ensure you are properly promoting your business in the local market. These fees are usually between 1 and 4% of revenue. 

In addition to these fees, you will have normal operating expenses just like any business. This includes inventory, equipment, wages, licenses, etc. 

Here at Sculpture Hospitality we have a range of dynamic, interesting and rewarding franchise opportunities. Become part of a global network of hospitality consultants with hundreds of offices and thousands of clients throughout the world.

Sculpture Hospitality has a range of territory sizes you can choose from, with lucrative opportunities available across the globe. Find a franchise option that best fits you and your location.

150 Establishments
Starting at $25,000
250 Establishments
Starting at $30,000
500 Establishments
Starting at $40,000

9. 5 Steps to Starting a Franchise

Embarking on a franchising journey in the restaurant and bar industry or its associated sectors can be a rewarding venture. To navigate this pathway with clarity and confidence, here are five foundational steps to guide aspiring franchisees.

  1. Self-Evaluation and Research: Before diving into franchising, take stock of your strengths, weaknesses, and passions. Understand your financial capacity and how much risk you're comfortable taking. Following that, it’s time to research franchise opportunities. Investigate the industry trends, especially within the restaurant and bar domain. Identify niches or gaps in your target market that a franchise might fill.
  2. Selecting the Right Franchise: With countless franchising opportunities available, shortlist those that resonate with your interests and market research. Delve deep into the background, reputation, and financial stability of the franchisors on your list. Consider reaching out to existing franchisees to gain first-hand insights.
  3. Legal and Financial Planning: Once you’ve chosen the franchise that works for you, engage a legal professional to scrutinize the franchise agreement. Understand your rights, obligations, and any potential red flags. Determine how you'll finance the franchise. This might involve personal savings, bank loans, or other financing options. Ensure you account for both initial costs and ongoing operational expenses.
  4. Initial Setup and Training: If your franchise requires a physical space, choose a location aligned with the brand's guidelines and your market research. Meanwhile, participate in the franchisor's training programs. This will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to operate your franchise effectively.
  5. Launch and Continuous Improvement: Plan a launch event or promotional activities to create buzz around your new franchise. For future improvements, make sure to continuously gather feedback from customers and staff. Engage with the franchisor and other franchisees to share experiences and implement best practices that enable you to grow.

Franchise 500 - 2023

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Do you want to run your very own franchise? If you love the bar and restaurant industry, and are ready to work for yourself, then a franchise opportunity might be right for you.

There’s no better way to mix business with pleasure than owning a Sculpture Hospitality franchise. Contact our team today for a free consultation.

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