2021 Franchising Year in Review

There’s only one full week of 2021 left to go, so it must be time for a look back at the year that was for the franchising industry. Below is a collection of the three most important stories that played a factor in making this a successful year. At the top of the list? The Great Resignation…


The Great Resignation

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the sheer amount of workers who resigned in 2021, at least the first 10 months of the year, that is. 39 million! It’s the highest number since the U.S. Department of Labor began tracking these statistics. A large portion of the American workforce decided that whatever it was they were doing, it was no longer something they wanted to keep doing. The reasons, of course, were quite plentiful. Some want a better home-life balance. Others followed through on a threat to quit over salary and benefits. Some were no longer interested in commuting to the office, especially now that the remote work experiment proved to be so successful. The pandemic served as a catalyst for those with plenty of time on their hands and a reevaluation of life on their minds. Whatever the reasons, the Great Resignation ended up being a boon for the franchising industry. Because hundreds of thousands of those who turned in a pink slip of their own accord made good on their desire to investigate ownership of a business of their own. While there are many angles that were favorable to franchising in 2021, none topped the list like the Great Resignation.

Vaccination Nation

When 2021 dawned, the vaccines were close to completing their initial clinical trials. The previous administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” lived up to its name, with three new vaccine regimens designed to protect the population from the ravages of the pandemic. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson researchers gave us the first round of medicine to combat Covid and allowed us a means to protect ourselves. While there have continued to be peaks and valleys in the number of infected individuals in the U.S., we are clearly far safer for having begun our inoculation program in earnest. Currently, a new variant known as the Omicron variety is making its rounds through the world. By all accounts, it does seem to be much milder than the previous Delta version, and it may also have a quicker lifecycle than the others. While infections are way up as we close out 2021, we need to give ourselves credit for just how far we’ve come in the last calendar year. Vaccinations, and hopefully the last gasp of the virus’ mutation, will probably be the keys to ending this pandemic once and for all. Then and only then can we fully open up our society and unleash the full power of the small businesses that make this country the economic envy of the world.

U.S. Economy

In many ways, the U.S. economy has had a banner year, but the rate and rise of inflation has kept most of the celebratory revelry in check. According to the Commerce Department, the economy grew at a 2.3% rate in the third quarter, better than predicted. This follows an increase of 6.3% in the first quarter and 6.7% in the second. In anything other than a pandemic year, those would be categorized as explosive numbers, but inflation rates were also explosive—reaching the highest levels in four decades. If the country (along with the rest of the world) can outlast the effects of the Omicron variant, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of our economy in 2022.

It seems as if all news must be processed through the lens of the pandemic, which is understandable given its far-reaching effects on every aspect of our lives. But there are more than a few prognosticators—from viewpoints both medical and economic—that believe we have turned a corner and that the worst is behind us. A recent Forbes article, “The Year In Franchising: Reflecting On 2021, And Anticipating 2022” perhaps said it best:

“2022 will probably be a tremendous year for the franchise industry as a whole, with a majority of individual brands set to prosper both in terms of systemwide sales and franchise development. Many franchisors have been reporting increased sales in 2021, and there is no reason to believe that trend is going to change in 2022. Additionally, the International Franchise Association predicts franchise development is also on the rise with 26,000 franchised locations expected to be added in 2021 and franchise employment projected to grow by more than 10% to nearly 8.3 million workers.”

Now that’s a statement we can get behind. If you’re in agreement, maybe it’s time to consider embarking upon your own personal entrepreneurial journey. Getting started is easier than you think, and you can begin today by making an appointment with one of our qualified FranNet consultants.

Jan 4, 2022