Retail Food Group sees 120% post-Christmas spike in franchise enquiries

Retail Food Group says it received more than double the number of enquiries this January compared to January 2012, as enquiries throughout franchising experience an upward trend.


With more than 1,400 stores across eight countries, RFG is Australia’s largest multi-food franchise operator.


It owns Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery, Michel’s Patisserie, bb’s café, Esquires Coffee Houses, The Coffee Guy, Pizza Capers Gourmet Kitchen and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar.


The Coffee Guy, Pizza Capers and Crust were all acquired in 2012.


According to new figures, RFG has experienced a 120% spike in people interested in owning their own franchise in 2013.


Between January 1 and January 30, RFG says it received more than double the number of enquiries received at the same time last year.


The strongest levels of interest came from people in NSW, with Donut King and Michel’s Patisserie brands proving especially popular.


Faith Manning, RFG national sales and leasing coordination manager, said while enquiries from potential franchisees often spike towards the end of the year, there was a significant surge towards the end of 2012.


“Cutbacks in the private and public sector have caused redundancies and considerable career uncertainty heading into 2013,” Manning said in a statement.


“We’ve seen a spike in people looking to take control of their destiny this year by owning and operating their own small business.”


According to Stephen Giles, deputy chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia, RFG isn’t the only franchisor seeing a surge in enquiries.


“I think that most franchisors are reporting an increase in enquiries. I think that that’s not uncommon after Christmas, when people are thinking about their lives,” he told StartupSmart.


“There are no hard and fast figures but anecdotally we’re getting feedback that there has been an increase [overall]. I think there is more of a positive attitude towards business now.”


Jason Gehrke, director of the Franchise Advisory Centre, says enquiries do tend to lift in January simply because many people are on holiday.


“They have time to consider what their future may hold and what direction it may take. They’re not at work so they have the opportunity to do some research and look on the internet before making an enquiry.


“If they’re working, it’s very difficult to do that kind of research.


“January is the time where people start putting into place their New Year’s resolutions, and it may be the resolution plan for many people to consider what their future job prospects may be.


“It doesn’t surprise me that any franchisor at all sees a spike in enquiries [during that time].”


While Gehrke believes the franchise enquiry surge seen by RFG can be partially attributed to the current state of the economy, he doesn’t believe it’s the only factor.


“Coming from NSW, that’s a state that has undergone a significant loss of jobs in the last 12 months,” he says.


“Where there have been significant job losses in certain parts of the city, it usually follows that franchise enquiries increase.


“I think another significant factor in the spike in enquiries is RFG has acquired additional brands.”


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