How to Be a Multi-Unit Megastar

03/04/2018 17:15 | Start a business

Multi unit franchisee

The popularity of multi-unit franchising is on the rise. According to the British Franchise Association / NatWest Franchise Survey 2015, 29% of franchisees are running multiple units in the UK which has increased by 14% since 2013. And with one in five single unit franchisees having plans in place to purchase another franchise at some point in the future, the best franchises to invest in may be the ones that encourage multi-unit ownership.

What is a multi-unit franchisee?

A multi-unit franchisee will have been granted the right to operate more than one franchise unit within a defined territory by the franchisor. It's an excellent way for ambitious franchisees to grow their business beyond their current operation by acquiring additional outlets of the original concept.

There are many similarities between a multi-unit franchisee and an area developer, but there is one distinct difference. When an area developer signs a franchise agreement, they agree to open a set amount of franchise units within a specified time frame. Whereas a multi-unit franchisee will have expanded their business at their own pace with no expectations of numbers and time limits being expressed by the franchisor.

This makes the concept of multi-unit franchising very appealing and if managed successfully can lead to multiple profitable franchises being run by capable and experienced franchisees.

What are the benefits of being a multi-unit franchisee?

When it comes to running any business, cash is king. The best business opportunities enable you to manage cash flow sufficiently, and multi-unit franchising allows you to do this. This can be achieved by being able to spread some overhead costs across a number your franchise units.


When you start to make plans for an additional franchise unit, its sensible to turn your attention to which members of staff can be trained to deputise in your absence. Profitable franchises prioritise the training and support that employees receive. This is even more important in a multi-unit model. By investing time and effort into bringing an existing employee up to speed with managerial duties, youll save money on having to hire an additional member of staff to cover the new unit. Between you, youll be able to manage both sites and a member of your team will have progressed through your business. Its a win-win situation.


If your franchise units are in a relatively small geographical area, the increased volume will help to raise awareness and credibility of your business. Youll also be able to save on the cost of marketing activity as local promotions will have a higher return on investment.

Franchise fee

For a franchisor, selling a franchise to an existing franchisee makes perfect business sense. You already know how the business works and have proven that you can run a successful franchise which makes things much more straightforward for the franchisor. To reflect the fact that you already have the relevant know-how, the franchisor may offer a discounted franchise fee. After all, you wont need the initial training that a new franchisee would require and so you should be compensated for the fact that youre saving the franchisor money.

What does it take to be a successful multi-unit franchisee?

Multi-unit franchising is on the rise, but it doesnt offer the best business opportunities for everyone. It takes a particular type of franchisee with specific skills and attributes to run multiple profitable franchises.

So, do you have what it takes to rock the title of multi-unit franchisee? Here are some of the attributes which will help you be the best:

  • Having strong management and leadership skills which may have been gained through working for large corporate companies, or as a previous business owner is extremely valuable. As you expand your franchise operations, there will be a need to recruit more employees. As the number of your franchise units increase, the less time you'll be able to spend in each location. Being a leader that isn't always present takes an exceptional set of skills. If you can bring these talents to the role, then you've already got a head start.
  • When you become a franchisee, its easy for your new business to become all-encompassing. It takes hard work and dedication to run a successful franchise, but this may not be enough to guarantee that youll make it as a multi-unit franchisee. To effectively manage a larger franchise portfolio, you need to be able to look up from the detail and see the bigger picture. This is likely to be demonstrated during the recruitment process as the best franchises to invest in for prospective franchisees with a vision are ones that support multi-unit ownership.
  • The reality is that if you want to own multiple units, youll also need access to higher than normal investment levels. However, even if you dont have the necessary resources to invest, most banks will be willing to fund the additional capital required to buy more franchises. This is because they can recognise the reduced risk that comes with opening further franchises when you have already proven to be a successful franchisee.
  • And just because the number of units you run increases, it doesnt mean that the need to follow the franchise system rigidly decreases. In fact, the rules need to be followed even more closely when you acquire additional units. Consistency is key to success in franchising and to replicate the success you experienced in your first franchise you need to continue to adhere to the franchise business model.

If you possess these skills and attributes, then multi-unit franchise ownership could offer you the best franchise opportunities. So, could you expand your franchise portfolio and become a multi-unit megastar? If you think that this is the right decision for you make sure you do your research, just as you would if you were looking for the best franchises to invest in for the very first time. This includes speaking to several existing multi-unit franchisees to make sure that this is the right route for you.

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