Franchises advised to keep up or risk being left behind

Morne Cronje
Lessons from 2016 FNB Franchising Leadership Summit

Unless franchise business owners start thinking out of the box and embrace the disruptive forces of innovation, creativity and technology, they risk losing market share and ultimately their existence.

Themed “Disrupting the future of franchising”, the summit focused on how the concept of disruption is changing the business landscape, not only in South Africa, but across the globe.

While disruption aims to break traditional stereotypes in the business world it also presents opportunities in tough economic times when consumers struggle to make ends meet and are constantly looking for value for money.

Morne Cronje, Head of Franchising at FNB says as a thought leader and advocate of innovation in South African business, we successfully hosted the 2016 FNB Franchise Leadership Summit. Franchise owners were challenged to find niches within their own industries and further enlightened on how embracing disruption could possibly be the key to unlocking the growth and sustainability of their businesses.

“Key insights shared by Alon Lits, MD of Uber and Carlo Gonzaga, CEO of Taste Holdings, amongst other thought leaders, on how their individual brands had been able to succeed in the South African franchise market, clearly demonstrated that ‘Disruption’ is no longer just a buzz word, but can be quite instrumental in helping franchise businesses to grow,” says Cronje.  

Lits shed light on how Uber had actively come into the South African market and leveraged technology and innovation to disrupt a well established and competitive meter taxi franchise industry. The business has now taken a further step, and is planning to launch a new service known as “Uber Eats”, where a variety of food offerings from different restaurants would be offered to consumers through their app.  

A brilliant example of how innovation and strategy can best work together was demonstrated by Gonzaga, as he unpacked how the group had overcome a number of challenges to eventually launch two esteemed international franchise brands in the country, within a period of two years, Dominos and Starbucks. Taste Holdings successfully entered into a partnership with Starbucks to open stores across South Africa, placing significant pressure on the local coffee market to innovate and review their offerings. The winners at the end of the day are customers, who are getting great value for their money.

A key take out from the summit was the importance of technology as a driver of innovation and disruption, through its ability to influence how consumers view and interact with brands. Disruptive innovations are increasingly being driven through technology i.e. online banking, social media, apps, online ordering, and cloud computing.

“The future certainly looks bright for franchise business owners that openly embrace the disruptive forces of innovation and technology in order to keep up with competitors and constantly remain relevant to customers,” concludes Cronje.