What is an example of a franchise relationship?

What is an example of a franchise relationship?

Franchising is a business model that has gained significant popularity in recent years. But what exactly is a franchise relationship? Simply put, it’s a legal and commercial relationship between the owner of a trademark, service mark, trade name, or advertising symbol and an individual or group seeking the right to use that identification in a business. To make this concept easier to understand, let’s delve into a detailed example.

The McDonald’s Franchise: A Classic Example

When we talk about franchises, one of the first names that comes to mind is McDonald’s. The fast-food giant is one of the most successful franchises in the world, and its franchise relationship is a textbook example of how the system works.

McDonald’s Corporation, the franchisor, grants individual operators, known as franchisees, the right to operate a McDonald’s restaurant. The franchisee pays an initial fee and ongoing royalties to the franchisor. In return, the franchisee gets the right to use the McDonald’s brand name, its operating system, and ongoing support from the corporation.

The Initial Agreement

The franchise relationship begins with an initial agreement. In the case of McDonald’s, the franchisee signs a 20-year contract, agreeing to operate the restaurant according to the standards set by the corporation. This includes everything from the menu items to the layout of the restaurant.

The franchisee also agrees to participate in national promotions and to use approved suppliers. This ensures consistency across all McDonald’s restaurants, which is a key factor in the brand’s success.

Financial Commitments

Franchising is not a one-way street. While the franchisor provides the brand and the business model, the franchisee must make significant financial commitments. For McDonald’s, the initial franchise fee is $45,000. On top of that, the franchisee must have a minimum of $500,000 in non-borrowed personal resources.

Once the restaurant is operational, the franchisee pays a monthly service fee equal to 4% of gross sales, as well as rent, which can range from 8.5% to 15% of sales. These ongoing payments are the lifeblood of the franchisor’s business model.

Benefits of the Franchise Relationship

The franchise relationship offers benefits to both the franchisor and the franchisee. For the franchisor, it’s a way to expand the business without the need for significant capital investment. On the other hand, the franchisee gets to start a business with a proven model and a well-known brand.

McDonald’s franchisees also benefit from the corporation’s extensive training programs. Before opening a restaurant, all new franchisees must complete a comprehensive, nine-month training program. This program covers all aspects of running a McDonald’s restaurant, from food safety to customer service.

Support and Guidance

One of the key benefits of the franchise relationship is the ongoing support and guidance provided by the franchisor. McDonald’s provides a range of resources to its franchisees, including operations manuals, training programs, and marketing support.

Franchisees also have access to a network of fellow operators who can provide advice and share best practices. This support network can be invaluable, especially for new franchisees.

Risks and Challenges

While the franchise relationship offers many benefits, it comes with risks and challenges. Franchisees must adhere to the franchisor’s strict standards and procedures, which can limit creativity and innovation. There’s also the risk of the franchisor making decisions that negatively impact the franchisee’s business.

Despite these challenges, many entrepreneurs find that the benefits of franchising outweigh the risks. The success of McDonald’s and its franchisees is a testament to the power of the franchise relationship.


The franchise relationship is a unique business model that offers opportunities for both franchisors and franchisees. By understanding how this relationship works, entrepreneurs can decide whether franchising is the right path for them.

As the example of McDonald’s shows, a successful franchise relationship can lead to significant business growth and profitability. However, it’s also a relationship that requires commitment, financial investment, and a willingness to follow the franchisor’s proven system.

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