5 franchise predictions for 2024: Subway boss

franchise predictions Subway boss
Subway ANZ chief Shane Bracken looks to the future. (Source: Supplied)

What can we expect to see in the franchise sector this year? Shane Bracken heads up Subway Australia and New Zealand, and shares his forecast for the year ahead.

1. More growth from within franchise businesses

In 2024, we can expect to see businesses putting a greater focus on maintaining, building and growing the engaged franchise network they have and less on franchisee acquisition. Fostering a franchisee network that is engaged and inspired by the business direction ensures a unified brand experience for customers. It is also more encouraging for franchisees to want to invest in growing their existing franchise or expanding within the same brand.

This same thinking goes for the team members employed by franchisees. Focusing on developing team members and creating a positive environment within the business creates brand advocates that could grow and step into being a franchisee of their own.

2. Larger focus on franchisee engagement and empowerment 

Running one or more franchise businesses is hard work. You’re both in the detail but also need to see the bigger brand picture to drive the business forward. In 2024, I hope to see more brands and franchisees recognising the challenges each face and meeting each other halfway.

One change we’ve made within the Subway network is reviewing our internal comms framework and how we communicate to our franchisees. This process took lots of consultation and is still being finessed to ensure we’re getting the information franchisees need to run their business, out in the most effective and timely way.

3. Upskilling in the digital space 

Franchisees are resilient, adaptable and growth minded. They have had to keep up with an ever-changing digital space to ensure they are where their customers need them to be. In 2024, training and upskilling will continue to be important so that businesses like Subway, that operate in both a bricks and mortar and digital capacity, can offer a seamless experience no matter how and where consumers want to shop.

4. Enhancing customer experience 

Consumers are spoilt for choice but as a result, they can also experience decision fatigue. When they do make a decision on engaging with a business or brand, they’ve decided that it’s worth it – worth the price, worth it in the value it will provide, worth it because of the good it does or gives back to the community etc.

Not only is it important the product or service lives up to the expectations of consumers but that it creates an experience worth coming back for. This experience doesn’t necessarily mean large or expensive changes. Focusing on customer service, seamless ordering and payment processes and surprise and delight moments whether that’s a feel-good message on an order, an offer or reward – these can all create a positive interaction and lasting impact on a guest, that is highly likely to drive repeat visitation.

5. Franchisee profitability 

Franchisee profitability will always remain a priority for the franchise sector. If franchisees are not making money, this makes it difficult for them to invest back into their business and the brand. Ensuring franchisees have the tools, resources and processes to set them up for success and profitability is crucial to the longevity of any franchise business.