multi_unit_franchising_0.jpgMulti-Unit Franchising is a simple concept in which a franchisee owns and operates multiple units within the same area.

Sometimes this process is agreed upon immediately and a slow roll out of each unit is scheduled and organized between the franchisee and franchisor. While other times, a franchisee has already managed a unit and wants to further their profit and responsibility by extending their operations.

Sometimes a franchisee can operated numerous franchises by applying their knowledge and abilities to each unit successfully and establishing a trustworthy management team to run each business.

It’s become a more popular concept over the years; however, it takes a lot of investment and funding. If prepared properly, franchisees can use extra profit from one franchise to invest in another.

Multi-unit franchise corporations usually only align themselves with successful and well-branded franchises, which makes the success rate more guaranteed and the reliability secured. It’s unlikely that a multi-unit investment would be with an unstable company.

When considering a franchise investment, it would be wise to ask if the option of multi-unit is available and what the opportunities are for growth and extension before investing. Once a franchisee has a pretty good handle on a single unit, multiplying their investment may be a simple and easy transition, depending on the franchisor.

One of the downfalls of multi-unit franchising is definitely the small niche of opportunity. You can’t generate multiple businesses in a specific area when the demand is not available. Sometimes the opportunity you’re looking for might not be in the desired location. Early research in your territory, as well as investigation into the type of multi-unit franchise you’re interested in would be the best first step.

Consider whether or not this franchise has performed multi-unit franchises successfully in the past and research how well it performed in comparison to others multi-unit franchises.

New and Fast Moving Brands

A great business opportunity for those interested in multi-unit franchising is a new and upcoming business. A small business that found exceptional growth in the first year and began franchising may be looking for someone to manage the opening of multiple units immediately.

A lot of restaurants and coffee shop start off small and find their product gains momentum through word of mouth. After a few locations are opened there is a large demand to keep the businesses growing in more locations. This start up gig is a great way to begin multi-unit franchising, if that is what the franchisor is considering. The business may need a quick turnover that demands back-to-back openings as well as an outside source to franchise the business.

This type of multi-unit may be spread over many locations, which may mean some of your time would be on the road.

Though most franchises likely have a great work life balance, a new franchise with multi-unit ownership may have higher hands-on expectations. The investment and hard work would be heavy at the beginning, eventually it would have a great pay off.

Taking the time and effort in talent would be extremely helpful. A reliable and experienced staff placed at each unit allows the franchisee to step away and manage all his franchises from a distance.

Same Brand Units

Nearly 88 percent of multi-unit operators are in one brand. In order to expand the units, franchisees most prove that the opening of a new location would not hinder their current business. They must also show that they can operate both locations successfully, possibly in different territories. It’s important to only consider expansion when the first unit is functioning on it’s own and successfully. You must be confident in the employees you have hired before moving forward with more investments.

Usually a franchisee takes their current brand and franchises it at another location. This is the easiest transition for franchisees because they are familiar with the operating system and product at hand, plus it’s likely that the franchisor was planning to extend the business in other locations.

Franchisors also benefit from having the same franchisee further their brand. Once a franchisor has established a reliable source that can extend their profit and guarantee success, it’s an easy investment on their end as well.


Multi-unit owners now control over 75 percent of franchise restaurants, one of the most popular types of business franchises.

Restaurants are one of the easiest franchises to start, though it comes with a hefty investment price tag – it is likely a guaranteed success. Restaurants have figured out operating systems, marketing, locations and all the many means involved in a successful business. It’s one of the first forms of franchise and a lot of restaurants eventually turn franchise depending on demand.

For those interested in multi-unit franchise, it’s easy to invest in numerous restaurants within your own territory, but also running a specific restaurant and later setting it up in another location would be an easy transition. It allows for same brand ownership or different brand ownership.

Franchise restaurants don’t leave a lot of room for creativity; they follow a format no matter where they are located. Menus are the same, greetings have the same script, and even layouts can be similar. Though that consistency can be extremely beneficial to those interested in managing multiple units, it makes for a very easy transition.

Research and conversation has to happen before considering a restaurant franchise. There are so many options that it’s best to take advantage of the wide variety of choice. Some options are extremely successful, while some garner a large profit, while others are easy to run. Develop an understanding of possible choices, while also creating a support group of multi-unit franchisors as a guide.

Restaurants tend to have a high turnover rate, and multi-unit franchisees depend on their staff to mainly run the floor. Be prepared to jump in once and awhile when short staffed or when employees are newly trained.

Multi-Unit franchises are a great way to invest in multiple businesses with ease and support.  The idea has gained more traction over the last century with 53 percent of U.S. franchise units making it a growing trend.

It takes a lot of funding, as well as experience and research before being able to continue the growth into a multi-unit franchise. It’s not going to be much of an option at the beginning of a franchisee’s career but worth consideration at initial investment.

For those comfortable in their franchise success and looking for opportunity to grow, a multi-unit franchise is one of the easiest and most profitable options, allowing for an eventual work-life balance. It’s a growing form of franchise that helps franchisees continue their own entrepreneurial growth as well.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After receiving an English Degree, followed by a Journalism Diploma, Gina Gill became a freelance journalist in 2008. She has worked as a reporter and in communications, focusing on social media. She currently works as a community information officer with Epilepsy Society, while pursuing her writing career at the same time.