A Guide to the European Franchise Federation

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European Franchise Federation Paris

Originally posted on 23/10/2017. Updated on 17/05/2019.

The European Franchise Federation (EFF) is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels that promotes, defends and acts as the voice of the European franchise industry. It is considered to be the single authority for franchising in Europe and was founded to define the core elements that represent fair and ethical franchising. Lets ask some key questions:

Who?

The EFF was originally formed by the French Franchise Federation (FFF), the Italian Franchise Association (Assofranchising/AIF), the Belgian Franchise Federation (FBF-BFF) and the Netherlands Franchise Association (NFV), all of whom cared about the preservation of ethical values in the franchising industry.

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Why?

Back in 1972, the franchise associations of France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands came together and acknowledged the need for an official code of ethics and governing system for the franchising industry. Their beliefs were based on the idea that by ensuring that franchising operational strategies were fair and efficient, franchisors and franchisees would have more incentive to get involved and the franchising sector would flourish. As a result, the European franchise associations founded the European Franchise Federation and set about creating a set of principles that franchisors and franchisees could abide by. This became the European Code of Ethics for Franchising. And the EFF has grown significantly since it was founded to take on even more members; today, it comprises 19 national franchise associations from across Europe.

What?

So, what does the EFF actually do? Well, in simple terms, it promotes the European Code of Ethics for Franchising and accredits members that adhere to it. As a rule, every national franchise association that is a member of the EFF must comply with the European Code of Ethics for Franchising in order to maintain its alliance with the organisation. They should publicly endorse the Code, and are responsible for promoting and implementing it in their own country. They must also ensure that the Code is publicly available for anyone interested in it. By doing this, they demonstrate that they practise fair franchising behaviour in their country.

The official objectives of the EFF are as follows:

  • To promote franchising in Europe.
  • To protect the franchise industry by upholding the European Code of Ethics.
  • To influence and inspire the development of franchising in Europe.
  • To stand for the interests of the franchise industry to international organisations.
  • To promote and represent the European franchise industry and its members worldwide.
  • To exchange information between national associations or federations, both within Europe and all over the world.
  • To serve its members.

The European Code of Ethics for Franchising

Some elements of the code have been altered several times over the years in response to changes in the industry and ensure that those involved in franchising have the most accurate information possible. Unlike a confusing legal document, the European Code of Ethics for Franchising is written in clear and unambiguous language. It corresponds to all the various laws and fundamental rights currently in place across Europe.

Readers can expect to find information on the history of the EFF, as well as franchise guiding principles, recruitment standards and master franchise systems, for example. It also provides guidance on the rules and regulations that should be included in any franchise agreement and gives the definition of specific franchising terms. The most recent version The European Code of Ethics for Franchising & its National Extensions & Interpretations is 33 pages long and can be found on the EFF website. It includes a list of all the EFF member associations and translated passages in French, German and Italian for international readers.

The Code should play a major part in any franchising journey, particularly for franchisors or franchisees who are unfamiliar with the world of franchising. It provides key insight on all the stages of setting up a franchise, from the signing of the franchise agreement, to the contract period and after the agreement has been terminated.

The Influence of the European Franchise Federation

Through its membership scheme, the EFF has been able to create a network of franchisors, franchisees, franchise employees and franchising experts who cover sectors such as law, finance and marketing. The EFF acts as a link between these member associations so that information can be shared. It also demonstrates the values of the European franchise industry for international organisations further afield.

As well as promoting good practice within the franchise industry, the EFF also endeavours to publicise information outside of the franchising sector. By working with government bodies, international bodies, the press, businesses and the public, the EFF is showcasing the franchise industry to a wider audience.

The European Franchise Federation & the World Franchise Council

One of the ways in which the EFF promotes the European franchise sector to international audiences is by being involved in the World Franchise Council (WFC). The EFF was one of 26 associations to found the WFC in 1994. It is an international franchise association that provides a connection between members and other franchising associations around the world. It keeps member countries up to date on franchising developments in bi-annual meetings, each of which takes place in a different host country. Today, 43 national franchise associations represent the franchising community through the WFC. The EFF is one of these, and plays an active role, working to emphasise the importance of franchising beyond European boundaries.

Check out our guide to the World Franchise Council for more information.

Conclusion

The European Franchise Federation and the European Code of Ethics for Franchising play a vital role in the franchising industry across Europe today. In short, it promotes the fair behaviour of franchisors and franchisees who establish business partnerships and helps to ensure that both parties are content and feel fulfilled, which serves to establish the franchising relationship as mutually beneficial and the industry itself as fair and profitable.

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