Supporting Franchising Through Uncertain Times

Mary Aldred | Franchise Council of Australia

COVID-19 has had a crippling impact on many businesses, particularly in Victoria where a state of disaster has just been declared, with stringent curfew rules in place until September.

 

The FCA stands ready to support our member businesses across Australia through uncertainty and hardship.

 

A big part of this means that getting reliable, fact-based information in a timely manner has never been more critical for franchises and small business, so they understand the regulatory environment they’re operating under, and the government support available to them.

 

Throughout the pandemic, the Franchise Council of Australia has been focussed on ensuring members have access to the best and most up-to-date information to enable informed decision-making and planning across their franchise networks.

 

It’s no secret that many franchise businesses right now are doing it tough. Indeed, a recent national survey of franchise businesses demonstrated the depth of impact of COVID-19 on business revenue during the June quarter.

 

According to the survey, undertaken by FRANdata* for the FCA, 46 per cent of respondents reported revenue was less than 50 per cent compared to the June 2019 quarter, with cafes, restaurants, fitness clubs, accommodation and child-related services being the hardest hit.

 

On the other hand, 35 per cent of respondents recorded an increase in June revenues, with takeaway food, maintenance, health, freight and baked goods related franchises reporting improved trading conditions.

 

The survey also found the greatest challenges in the June 2020 quarter were landlord issues (54 per cent), the “wellness” of franchisees and support staff (54 per cent), and franchisee financial performance (52 per cent).

 

In addition, the survey found the FCA was the most helpful source for franchisees during the June 2022 quarter. Pleasingly for the FCA, it’s a sentiment that has been evident in this year’s membership renewal rate and the take-up of new memberships.

 

At a time when many businesses are looking to reduce discretionary spending, the decision to retain FCA membership as an essential resource speaks volumes.

 

We are proud not only to continue to deliver value for members during this time but to have proven an essential source of information amidst the disruption caused by the pandemic.

 

Regular FCA communication has been vital to our members, whether through email updates, virtual catch-ups and briefings with leadership and special interest groups, or topical webinars.

 

While the FCA’s pre-COVID calendar of physical events has been in hiatus, our series of member webinars that kicked off in March has proven to be a great success, regularly attracting triple-figure audiences.

 

The webinars have been tailored to provide legal guidance, ER advice, information on commercial leasing, best practice tips from franchisors, and insights from government.

Through these webinars, members have had unprecedented access to franchise leaders, national and state politicians and industry experts, all of whom have been generous with their time and expertise, and openness to answer questions from attendees.

 

We have all learned that engagement through technology can be just as strong and meaningful, and so much can be accomplished, even from a distance.

 

That includes the FCA’s engagement with Federal and State Governments to ensure members’ voices are heard by the decision-makers who are shaping the rapidly evolving operating environment as we move through the pandemic.

 

As a sector, franchising is well placed to innovate and adapt and emerge stronger despite the uncertainty ahead. The FCA is committed to providing the best resources and support to members to enable them to do so.

 

Mary Aldred is the CEO of the Franchise Council of Australia, the peak body for
the nation’s $184 billion franchise sector. Mary commenced in the role in April 2018, bringing with her extensive experience across government, industry and the corporate sectors. As CEO, Mary has led the FCA in developing and delivering strategic priorities to strengthen the

FCA’s role as an effective peak business organisation and advocate for a compliant, sustainable and profitable franchise sector.

Franchise Council of Australia Phone: 03 9508 0888
Email: info@franchise.org.au Web: www.franchise.org.au