Canadian Franchise Association CEO Sherry McNeil
January/February 2021Publisher's Message

Publisher’s Message: The Resilient Franchise Industry Will Remain Strong in 2021

As a year comes to an end, it’s always exciting to look ahead to the next year and what it will bring. As we close out a very challenging 2020, Canadians will be especially happy to embrace 2021 in the hopes that it will provide more stability during this difficult time. While much uncertainty remains amid a second round of business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of franchising still looks bright for 2021 and beyond.

There’s no question that many Canadian businesses have struggled in the past year, but there are also many stories of franchises that have risen to the challenges and adapted to continue meeting the needs of their customers. While some businesses have faltered, some have come out even stronger, experiencing growth in this tumultuous time.

This resiliency and growth are a testament to the strength of the franchise business model. In our trends cover story report, we take a different approach to what lies ahead for franchising in 2021, highlighting the security franchising brings during these turbulent times. In the Resilience of Franchising article, we focus on the benefits of franchising, especially the additional support and resources it offers to franchisees. We share the general outlook for franchising in 2021, along with advice for those who are considering taking control of their employment futures through small business ownership.

This trends report will also showcase the consumer trends that have emerged throughout 2020 and will continue into 2021, along with the latest economic outlook from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) about what Canadians can expect as the economy looks to rebound in 2021.

Certain industries have faced greater challenges than others, and those that were deemed essential services during the pandemic have been in the fortunate position of staying open for Canadians. We spotlight five franchise brands that provide essential services to customers. They share how they have used this opportunity to improve the lives of Canadians, while adapting to meet high health and safety standards to keep their communities safe.

While businesses providing essential services have remained open, many food franchises have been closed for in-person dining for extended periods throughout the pandemic. This has taken a major toll on restaurant franchises throughout the country, but shifting to safer models, including takeout, delivery, online ordering, and drive-thru, has allowed many food service franchises to continue feeding their communities. We feature franchises in the quick service, casual dining, and full service dining categories who share how they have worked together with their franchisees, customers, and communities to make it through this challenging time.

Franchisee success stories are a great way to learn about the challenges that are faced in franchising, along with the unique ways they can be overcome. This issue features inspiring stories from franchisees who have found ways to continue connecting with their customers. Driverseat franchisee Adam McKeachnie shares how he’s putting his Owen Sound community first by helping the region’s most vulnerable members through the COVID-19 crisis. We also take you through a day in the life of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic franchisee Kent Howie, who has increased his focus on member engagement, including through online platforms, during the recent months of the pandemic. And we introduce you to millennial GeintheLoop franchisees Dustin and Marianne Woodbeck, who while juggling new franchise ownership, parenthood, and COVID-19, are still increasing community connections.

As you consider franchising as the path to business ownership, it’s important to consider how you will embrace the leadership role that comes with owning a franchise business. We’ve compiled advice from franchise experts to help you lead your team through this challenging time.

There’s no question that 2020 brought many in the franchising industry their toughest challenges yet, but as the stories throughout this Franchising Trends issue have showcased, Canadian franchising is strong and resilient. While uncertainty will continue into 2021, with the right franchise behind you, the time is right to take control of your business future through franchising in the coming year. Happy New Year, and stay safe!