History of Franchising in the UK

Franchise History

It is distinctly difficult to actually pinpoint how and when franchising actually came about.

When considering other forms of franchises, such as the product distribution franchise which we have already mentioned, it could be said that franchising has existed for hundreds of years.

Although fundamentally different to that which we know in modern times it could be true to say that franchising commenced in England during the Middle Ages when the Monarch granted a license to his Barons, Knights and Lords to exploit the land under their control, Churches of the same period also operated a similar system.

Back to more present, and relative days the first business format franchise was probably seen during the time of the American Civil War. The Singer Sewing Machine company were likely to be the first company by today's definition to release a franchise opportunity. Strange to think that they are still to this date a well known and recognised brand across the World.

From this point it appears that the franchise history continued to grow in the United States , with a noticeable growth during the 1960's and the 1970's. A growth that meant in the modern age in the United States a least one third of retail sales carried out were by a franchising method and at the same time nearly two thousand companies were offering a franchise opportunity.

Franchising in the UK

The outstanding growth potential of the franchise method and its benefits to the buyer and seller were truly realised in the United States by the 1960's and it is around this time the International Community also embraced the true potential of business format franchising.

Although the deepest history of franchises in its differing formats originated in England , the business format franchise probably arrived with the introduction of the Wimpy Hamburger chain in the early 1950's opening the door for other well known chains such as McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises.

Other franchise companies soon joined the trend, such as Dyno-Rod and as with Wimpy these companies and their brands are still going strong in today's market place, here are some other well known brands that you might just recognise:

Budget Rent a Car ( UK )

Ltd Holiday Inn ( UK )

Prontaprint Ltd

Amtrax Express Parcels Ltd

Cash Converters

Cash Generators

Clarkes Shoes

Domino's Pizza

Initial City Link

Vision Express

KallKwik Printing ( UK ) Ltd

Legal & General Franchising Ltd

Post Office (Ltd)

Saks Hair (Holdings) Ltd

Subway Sandwiches and Salads

The Body Shop International Plc

Toni & Guy

Unigate Dairies Ltd


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