What Today’s Top Franchise Brands Are Doing Right (and Wrong)

In the dynamic world of franchising, success often hinges on the delicate balance of strategies employed by franchise brands. At Bailey Brown The Franchise Agency, we’ve observed the industry’s evolving landscape and have pinpointed key practices that today’s top franchises are getting right, as well as areas where even the giants stumble. Here’s a closer look:


✅ 3 Brands Who Got It Right



Self-serve kiosks at McDonalds


Embracing Technological Innovations: McDonald’s


In the franchising world, technology plays a pivotal role in shaping business efficiency and customer satisfaction. The integration of technology streamlines operations, enhances the customer experience, and provides valuable data insights. It’s a powerful tool for maintaining consistency across multiple locations, a hallmark of successful franchising.

McDonald’s exemplifies this with their effective use of technology. Self-service kiosks at McDonald’s have transformed the ordering process, providing a personalized, efficient experience and reducing wait times. Digital menu boards allow for real-time menu updates, reflecting their agility in responding to customer preferences. 

Additionally, their McDelivery service and mobile app cater to the convenience consumers now expect, streamlining ordering and payment while also offering valuable marketing insights.

Overall, McDonald’s comprehensive adoption of technology has not only improved their operations but also reinforced their leadership in the fast-food franchise industry, setting a benchmark for others to follow.


The Starbucks logo made out of plants


Commitment to Sustainability: Starbucks


In the current business landscape, sustainability is not just an ethical choice; it’s a strategic imperative, particularly in franchising. Adopting eco-friendly practices aligns with the growing consumer trend towards environmental consciousness.

Starbucks stands out as a franchise that effectively embraces this sustainability trend. Their initiative to eliminate plastic straws is a notable example. This move, which involves the introduction of strawless lids and alternative-material straws, is a response to the increasing public concern over plastic pollution. 

They’ve also implemented programs to promote responsible sourcing of their coffee, ensuring that their products are ethically produced and environmentally friendly. Additionally, Starbucks has been working on reducing its carbon footprint through energy-efficient store designs and operations, showcasing their holistic approach to sustainability.

These sustainable practices not only contribute to environmental protection but also enhance Starbucks’ brand image. In a world where consumers are increasingly making choices based on a company’s environmental impact, Starbucks’ commitment to sustainability positions them as a forward-thinking and responsible brand. 


The outside view of a Hilton Hotel


Consistency in Quality and Experience: Hilton Hotels


Consistency is crucial in the franchising industry, serving as a foundation for building customer trust and loyalty. A franchise’s ability to deliver a uniform quality and experience across all locations is a key determinant of its success and longevity.

Hilton has mastered the art of delivering a uniform experience to guests, regardless of where they are in the world. This consistency is evident in their high standards of accommodation, customer service, and amenities. Whether a guest stays at a Hilton in New York, Paris, or Tokyo, they can expect the same level of comfort, cleanliness, and hospitality.

Hilton maintains these standards through meticulous room design, reflecting both local culture and the brand’s signature style, and through rigorous quality control measures like regular inspections and guest feedback. The Hilton Honors loyalty program further cements guest loyalty by offering reliable benefits. 

This unwavering commitment to consistency has established Hilton Hotels as a trusted name in the hospitality industry. It exemplifies how maintaining high and uniform standards across all locations is crucial for building a strong, reliable brand.


❌ 3 Brands Who Missed The Mark



A Subway store


The Risks Of Over-expansion: Subway


In the franchising industry, expansion is often seen as a sign of success. However, there’s a delicate balance to be struck. Over-expansion is a significant pitfall that even top franchises can fall into, leading to various negative consequences.

The case of Subway is a telling example. In recent years, Subway experienced a significant number of outlet closures, a situation largely attributed to their rapid and unchecked expansion. While expanding aggressively, Subway opened many stores in close proximity to each other. This strategy initially seemed successful, but it eventually led to market saturation. As a result, individual store revenues began to decline due to internal competition, an issue exacerbated in areas with limited customer bases.

Subway’s experience illustrates the importance of strategic, sustainable growth in franchising. Expansion should be carefully planned, considering market demand, location viability, and the ability to maintain operational standards. Growing too quickly can strain resources and dilute the brand, leading to long-term negative impacts on the franchise’s reputation and profitability.


2 students learning Kumon


Losing Focus on Core Offerings: Kumon


Maintaining a sharp focus on the foundational offerings that propelled a brand to success is a critical aspect of franchising. When a franchise deviates significantly from its core services or products, it risks alienating its loyal customer base and diluting its distinct market appeal.

Kumon, widely recognized for its focused after-school math and reading programs, serves as a prime example in this context. This specialized focus was not only a key differentiator but also central to its identity and reputation among parents seeking to enhance their children’s skills in these fundamental subjects.

However, challenges arose when Kumon attempted to broaden its curriculum beyond its renowned math and reading focus. This expansion into a wider range of educational services, while potentially a growth strategy, began to blur the brand’s image as a specialized educational provider. The inclusion of subjects beyond their established domain was met with mixed responses, as it contrasted with the focused approach that had earned Kumon the trust of parents and students alike.

For many in its customer base, the appeal of Kumon was its expertise and proven results in math and reading. The venture into broader educational offerings introduced an element of ambiguity about the brand’s core strengths and expertise.

Kumon’s journey highlights the delicate balance franchises must strike between growth and maintaining their core identity. Evolution and adaptation are vital, but not at the expense of the unique qualities that originally define a franchise’s success and appeal.



Underestimating Local Market Dynamics: Domino’s Pizza


A critical factor for success in international franchising is the ability to understand and adapt to local market dynamics. Failing to appreciate local preferences, cultural nuances, and consumer behaviors can lead to significant setbacks, as illustrated by Domino’s Pizza’s experience in Italy.

Domino’s Pizza, a giant in the global pizza market, faced a unique challenge when it entered Italy, the birthplace of pizza. The brand’s American-style pizza, which had found success in various international markets, encountered a different landscape in Italy. Italian consumers have a deep-rooted tradition and preference for their local, authentic pizza styles, which differ significantly from the Americanized versions offered by Domino’s.

The company’s attempt to introduce its standard menu and pizza style in Italy was met with resistance from local consumers who prized the authenticity and traditional craftsmanship of Italian pizzerias. The distinct tastes and expectations of Italian pizza lovers proved to be a significant barrier for Domino’s. 

Domino’s experience in Italy serves as a valuable lesson for franchises expanding internationally. It emphasizes the importance of thorough market research, cultural sensitivity, and the need for adaptation in foreign markets. Simply transplanting a successful business model from one country to another without considering local tastes and preferences can lead to challenges, as evident in this case. 


The franchising world is rich with opportunities but also fraught with challenges. At Bailey Brown The Franchise Agency, we guide our clients through these complexities. By learning from the successes and missteps of top franchises, aspiring franchise owners can navigate this landscape more effectively. 

If you’re ready to start your franchising journey, click here to book a free consultation with our team.

And let us know in the comments below, what’s your favorite franchise brand?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *