re-open social distancing

Has COVID Completely Changed the Franchise Game in 2020?

It’s the burning question that we all want to know the answer to – has the coronavirus permanently changed the way franchises run? The problem, of course, is that we won’t or don’t know this answer until well into the future. Until things have progressed far enough forward that we can look back and see if there was a turning point in the economy … and if so, how big that point might have been.

In the status quo, however, we can look at how things have changed thus far. We can certainly make an educated guess at how much – or where – franchises will be re-focused on the other side of the pandemic.

By looking at these smaller, or more timely changes, you can also help to better plan your franchise business and help it fare through whatever the pandemic may bring.

Ways the Pandemic Has Already Changed the Franchise Industry


To-date, there have been a number of changes that have taken place at the federal and state level. For franchises in all industries, businesses have been forced to implement social distancing standards. With signage that requires folks to stay six feet apart, a limit on how many patrons are allowed inside a store, and a glow up for hand washing like the world has never seen, sanitation rules have been adjusted for franchises. Brands must also clean their products and surfaces at a regular interval. This, of course, requires more man-hours before/after open working hours. 

Food franchising industries are wearing gloves, they’re using windows to separate workers from consumers, and everyone – everyone – is wearing a mask.

Hours of operations:

As mentioned above, franchise locations have adjusted their hours in order to account for extra cleaning time, setting up additional protocol, such as masks or taking temperatures, or distancing their guests.

Going mobile or selling online:

Many franchise locations, and those in all industries, have made arrangements for their shoppers to purchase or book online. With either delivery or pick up options, brands are able to serve the needs of their customer base, but without in-person interaction.

A sense of insecurity:

Even thriving industries have taken a step back from their once comfortable seats. Not in the sense that businesses won’t be profitable, but that what they once knew as normal is no longer true. Franchise owners have had to adjust their routines to meet new guidelines and to reassure their customers. This is an adjustment from everyone’s previous comfortable days of predictability.

Now, things are changing frequently, and no one knows what will change or when that will take place. 

Positive Changes for Franchises with the Pandemic

It can also be argued that the pandemic has brought on several positive changes in light of COVID-19. With unrest comes ingenuity. Creative ideas and passion have come to light in franchising. Business owners are drawing up their best ideas and putting them to work. They’re on top of the game. With constant changes comes the need to stay involved and incoming with ways to meet unique needs and reassure the public.

Meanwhile, business owners are getting in touch with their customers like we haven’t seen in decades. Business owners and managers are getting personally involved, learning what their target market needs and how they can help. This is an incredible way to show vulnerability and to better provide to your customers’ needs.

Many businesses have been able to promote themselves with funds made available by the federal government, grant funds, or tax credits.

And last but not least, businesses are learning a new definition of “running lean.” Whether it’s because they want to or have to, franchises are operating with minimal overhead and drawing in higher profits because of it.

Franchise Changes Remain Ahead

Gong forward, it’s not a question as to whether or not the franchise industry will be changed, but by how much. How much will your company be affected by the pandemic? And what new protocol will be put into place because of it?

Industry standards will get overhauled, allowing for the betterment of your franchise location and its future. For now, however, we wait and continue to weather the storm of changing laws and updating industry protocol.

The question of the hour – has COVID completely changed the franchise industry for 2020? Of course it has! What portion of business has not been changed in the status quo? Franchisees have seen many changes in the last few months. However, it’s been a learning path for all, wherein franchise owners can learn to thrive, adjust for the times, and put in better business practices for years to come.

By Bethaney Wallace | Jul 17, 2020 | General Franchise Information