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5 Things Millennials and Gen Z Look for in a Franchise

As the younger generations begin approaching franchising more frequently, it’s clear they’re looking for passion, flexibility and innovation.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 11:11AM 08/01/22

62% of Gen Z indicate that they have either already started or plan to start their own business, and FranchiseWire says, "These young entrepreneurs are poised to make a significant mark on franchising.” A 2021 study indicated that millennials are in a similar spot, making up over 24% of total franchise inquiries.

Adam Wasch, a franchise attorney with Greenspoon Marder LLP who does a substantial amount of work with younger generations, notes that the interest is certainly there, and much of the demand is directed toward franchising opportunities that provide a bit more freedom and flexibility than a standard corporate job would.

Unique Concepts

Though there is something to be said for business opportunities with multiple revenue streams, boutique opportunities can provide a lower barrier to entry.

“The boutique concepts are very attractive to franchisees because, generally, you’re at a lower price point,” Wasch explained. “You’re able to have a small footprint, focus — or hyperfocus — on a specific two or three core revenue streams, and you don’t have a giant building with a lot of expenses and employees.”

And, as younger business owners begin to prioritize passion, boutique concepts provide a model that allows someone to invest in something very specific that they are passionate about, making the business both more accessible and more exciting.

Healthy Work-Life Balance

“They’re looking for somewhat of a work-life balance, if you will,” he said. “That’s something that I’ve dealt with in my employing the younger professionals as well, but with respect to franchising, there are a lot of different opportunities that are not as restrictive.”

Articles about millennials’ stance on a nine-to-five job model go back to 2013. It has been clear for a while that the younger generations are becoming less and less interested in an all-day desk job as they become more aware of the freedoms and benefits they can reap in other career models.

Lower Initial Investment and Overhead Costs

Though some franchisees have come into a large sum of money, many young entrepreneurs aren’t working with millions.

“I’m finding they’re mostly looking at the service-based businesses that aren’t necessarily brick-and-mortar,” Wasch added. “Once you’re talking about renting space, you’re looking at most likely needing some form of loan to cover the costs of build-out and the first few months of rent. Younger folks are looking at the opportunities where they can do most of the work themselves.”

Initial investments for franchise opportunities sit, on average, between $50,000 and $200,000, with some opportunities reaching into the millions. However, some opportunities allow franchisees to get started for less than $10,000, and options like these with lower initial and ongoing costs are inherently appealing to less financially established individuals.

Mobility and Flexibility

“There are a lot of service-based opportunities that my clients are gravitating towards. They’re lower investment, and they also give some sense of flexibility. As hard as you work is generally going to be the success that you’re going to have,” he said.

Businesses like these are great for folks who want the flexibility to take off of work for a month to travel. As long as they are okay with forfeiting the profit that would have been made during that month, there is no retail space to keep open or perishable materials to watch over. 

Or, on a less extreme note, mobile service businesses allow their franchisees to build the business to the point where they can take every Thursday off or finish every work day at three rather than five, for example.

Mission Focused

“One of the other drivers that I’ve seen from my clients and from the industry as a whole is that people are looking to find brands with a purpose,” Wasch said. “A sort of socially conscious brand that has somehow teamed up with local organizations or done a nice job of sharing revenues.”

There are many benefits for companies who give back or center aspirations beyond economic gain in their work. Having a larger purpose and a commitment to doing good is both good for the company’s reputation in the community and fosters a feeling of respect and connection among employees.

For younger entrepreneurs interested in doing meaningful work, a franchise with a mission is a great vehicle to tap into their passions while gaining more control over their work-life balance, schedule and career as a whole.