OPTIMISM ABOUNDS: A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR FOOD & BEVERAGE FRANCHISING
By Justin Livingston, Ziggi’s Coffee
The food and beverage franchising landscape is not just evolving; it’s thriving with innovative changes. Armed with a plethora of trends pointing toward an upward trajectory, entrepreneurs have every reason to feel optimistic about the future. Understanding the emerging trends and trajectories is crucial for anyone considering a venture into this space.
One of the most pronounced trends in recent years is the swing towards health-conscious and sustainable food options. Consumers are increasingly demanding not just tasty food, but also meals that are good for them and for the planet. This has led to a proliferation of franchises offering organic, vegan and gluten-free options. It’s not just about salads anymore; today’s health-focused franchises are serving up everything from acai bowls to plant-based burgers, indicating that this trend is not a fleeting one. Innovative franchises are broadening the horizon with diverse health-focused options in addition to the tried-andtrue options, even focusing limited time offerings that not only represent but showcase these categories.
The adoption of technology in the F&B industry has skyrocketed, particularly post-pandemic. Contactless payments, online ordering, robust apps and delivery apps have become standard, with consumers expecting seamless digital experiences. But it doesn’t stop there. Innovative franchises are exploring the integration of AI for personalized ordering experiences, and even the potential of robot-assisted kitchens. Those looking to join the franchising world would be wise to ensure their chosen brand is tech-aware if not techforward. Franchises embracing AI, contactless payments, and other tech innovations are poised for substantial growth in this instant-gratification, public driven, digital-first era.
Flavors of the World
Gone are the days when American, Italian, and Chinese were the primary international cuisines available in most areas. As the world becomes more connected, consumers are increasingly interested in diverse global flavors. Franchises that offer unique international dishes — think Korean BBQ, Middle Eastern falafels, or South African peri-peri style chicken — are finding a hungry market eager for new taste experiences and open to new flavors.
It’s not just about what’s on the plate. How a franchise operates behind the scenes is increasingly under scrutiny. Modern consumers want to support brands that align with their values. This means franchises that prioritize sustainable sourcing, minimize food waste and reduce their carbon footprint are in a favorable position. We can expect to see more franchises highlighting their eco-friendly practices as a major selling point in the coming years. Vendors and supply partners are no longer in the background, buyers want to know about the depths of these partnerships and the stories behind sourcing of products and ingredients.
A Glimpse Towards the Future
Given these trends, the future of F&B franchising looks promising despite some of the environmental challenges like labor, costs of building and expensive lending. It is no longer sufficient to offer just good food; the modern franchise needs to cater to a holistic set of consumer desires and values. For those who can pivot and adapt, the rewards are plentiful, and consumers are hungry for your take on today’s paradigm shift.
Justin Livingston is the vice president of franchise development for Ziggi’s Coffee. For more information about IFA franchisor member Ziggi’s Coffee, please visit franchise.org/franchise-opportunities/ziggis-coffeefranchise-llc.