Brisbane franchising expo shows sector on the rebuild

The franchising sector has once again been put under the microscope by prospective franchisees and franchisors at the Brisbane Franchising and Business Opportunities Expo.

The event, held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre saw over 80 exhibitors from across the country and overseas showcase their business model’s success and systems.

With the current parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Conduct causing major disruption in the sector, particularly in Brisbane, where many franchisor head offices are located, attendance levels were clearly down.

Tim Collett, Director of the Exhibition said that despite the reduced numbers, the current franchising environment presented a decisive opportunity for franchisors to connect with the community.

“The elephant in the room is the bad press; this relentless criticism of franchising; it’s made it harder,” Collett said.

“But we’ve seen more exhibitors than ever and the show is looking spectacular. With the number of exhibitors, the investment they’re making, the new brands, the old brands coming back, the shows have never been more popular from an exhibitor perspective.”

With media focused firmly on the sector’s downfalls, Collett believes that franchisors now have to not only promote their business, but the sector as a whole.

“Franchisors know that they need to be out there speaking to people,” Collett said.

“They need to answer the hard questions, they need to sell the opportunity, and they need to sell again, the concept of franchising. That’s why the show is exciting for me, numbers are down, but the engagement, the conversations are really good quality. There’s never been a more important time for franchisors to be out there, telling people why the system works.”

The expo also saw a number of international franchise brands promote their models to the Australian public, including the Tony Robbins backed OsteoStrong.

Mary Aldred, CEO of the Franchising Council of Australia said the influx of international franchises looking to launch in Australia was a strong indication the sector was performing well.

“It is a significant economic sector in Australia, it contributes over $146 billion to the Australian economy with about half a million Australians getting their livelihood from franchising,” Aldred said.

Aldred also acknowledged the influence of the parliamentary inquiry suggesting that there are certainly issues that need to be addressed however, events like the Brisbane Expo give the FCA a chance to demonstrate its commitment to sector development.

“I’m the first to put my hand up and say there are some issues that need to be addressed in the sector,” Aldred said.

“Franchising is a high profile sector at the moment and not for all the reasons that we would be hoping for. But there’s not one person in franchising that wants to see someone go through a tough time or have a business fail. The FCA is certainly not prepared to excuse or defend the behaviour or standards in the sector and we’re actively working to address examples of those.”

The next Franchising and Business Opportunities Expo will be held in Melbourne, from August 25-26 at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Wharf.