Franchising Comes Through Again, Making a Positive Difference in a Time of Crisis
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Franchising Comes Through Again, Making a Positive Difference in a Time of Crisis

Franchising Comes Through Again, Making a Positive Difference in a Time of Crisis

Nothing I can recall in my lifetime can even approach what it's been like living through Covid-19 over the past months. The sheer number of people sickened by this scourge is difficult to comprehend, and the deaths heartbreaking. In the U.S. alone, the reported death toll was approaching 100,000 on Memorial Day.

Beyond the enormous human toll of this disease is the gargantuan cost to the world economy. Companies large and small have seen customer numbers dwindle as stay-at-home orders virtually shut down communities, ours included. Many, if not most, had to furlough or lay off employees as they shuttered stores and sought ways to stop the financial hemorrhaging from taking them under.

We know it will take time for most of us to recover, reset, and rebuild. But nowhere has the resolve, determination, and optimism of businesses been more evident than in franchising. Those in franchising are not content just to save their own skins - they look for ways to help those around them in their communities.

For almost four decades I have watched the franchising world step up again and again to provide solutions and aid in times of need. The franchise community always comes through with a spirit of innovation, dedication, and determination. Minor recessions? Franchising was there. 9/11 in 2001? Franchising was there. Hurricane Katrina in 2005? Franchising was there. The Great Recession of 2008? Franchising was there. You never have to look far to see those in the franchising world say, "We can handle this, and somehow we'll get through to the other side."

So it has really been no surprise at all during the Covid-19 outbreak of 2020 to see so many franchisors step in, and quickly, to help their franchisees by reducing and eliminating royalties, fees, and other expenses; franchisors working hard to ensure communication with their franchisees was maintained, if not increased; franchisors helping franchisees access PPP and other funding to help them stay in business; and the IFA working tirelessly to support franchising as a whole through this crisis.

Locally in communities everywhere, franchisees are doing everything they can to keep their doors open, their employees on the payroll, and to continue providing their products and services to customers. The spirit of innovation was thriving as restaurants began offering new or enhanced take-out, drive-thru, and pick-up services.

Perhaps most inspiring was seeing franchisors and franchisees step into the breach to help first responders and healthcare workers. Brands donated money and supplies, and franchisees donated products, services, and their time in their communities. I saw story after story of brands providing financial assistance, food, and other help to those working hard on the front lines of the pandemic. For me this is the true Spirit of Franchising.

As a media company and content provider involved in every category of franchising, we receive hundreds of press releases daily on the business of franchising. It's truly inspiring to see the number of franchisees supporting their local communities, even as they work limited hours with limited revenue. For a list of just some of what franchisees and their brands have been doing, see page 109.

Finally, a word about this special Covid-19 issue. For the past 2 months we have been compiling Q&As with franchise CEOs, CDOs, CMOs, and multi-unit franchisees. For this all-digital issue we have included selected responses from all sectors and sizes of franchising. We've also included some of the best thinking from our Covid-19 Report biweekly newsletter. We hope it's helpful, useful, and sheds some light in a dark time.

I know the human spirit will endure as it always has, and that we will get through this pandemic as humanity has done so many times before. And I'm proud to be a part of the global franchising community, which I know will always be here to do our part.

Published: June 10th, 2020

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