2024 Will Offer Franchisees Challenges and Opportunities
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2024 Will Offer Franchisees Challenges and Opportunities

2024 Will Offer Franchisees Challenges and Opportunities

On the cusp of 2024, a number of multi-unit franchisees are optimistic about the coming year. They don’t deny that high interest rates and inflation will likely continue, but they believe the perseverance and adaptability of franchisees will prevail.

Teaming up with the right partners, embracing innovation, managing the financials, and diversifying their businesses will be key to navigating the changing economic environment.

For part five of our series, two more members of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference’s Board of Directors have stepped up to tell us how they plan to approach business in 2024. John Hotchkiss operates 46 Little Caesars and three Firehouse Subs, and he is involved in real estate development in Texas and Louisiana. Paul Booth is the president of Concentric Brands, which owns and operates Ace Hardware locations.

Here’s what Hotchkiss and Booth see in the year ahead.

What is your vision for the economy, the franchise marketplace, and your own business in 2024? 

Hotchkiss: I think there is good news for all of them in 2024.  And I think good news can mean not much damage to the economy, and as always, franchisees will find a way to at least stay even or increase. We opened a store today and had record sales, and all our sales are up a lot while food costs remain pretty good.

Booth: I think the economy will still be evolving from high interest rates, inflation, and student loan payments resuming. We should prepare for a mild slowdown. However, I remain cautiously optimistic. One of the things I am doing to pivot my business and to diversity income streams is to expand my B2B customer base. I want to continue to scale with the right brands and with the right capital partners.

In what ways do you think this will impact multi-unit franchisees and their business operations in the coming year? 

Hotchkiss: I think, mostly, all the good brands will do better, and the bad do worse.

Booth: I think the numerous dynamics in the economy will affect various businesses differently. In some industries, we have already seen a cooling of record pandemic levels. In a dynamic and ever-changing environment, franchisees will have to find new and creative ways to drive top sales through diversification and new lines of businesses as well as finding ways to directly connect with the consumer.

How can multi-unit franchisees prepare their businesses for 2024? 

Hotchkiss: We use mostly cash to grow and stay away from the 8% loan rates. We’re glad we did. It’s also a good opportunity to buy some assets like real estate and be sure to have the best culture for your team. Be grateful and share the wealth with the most important people around you.

Booth: I would say multi-unit franchisees can prepare their business by evaluating their people plan, assessing financials and additional capital needs, and understanding their brand and their customers.

Published: December 30th, 2023

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