Franchising de la France

France is the leading market for franchising in Europe, boasting more franchised brands and outlets than even the UK. Given the country's high renown for food & drink, beauty and fashion it is hardly surprising that those concepts dominate the French franchising scene, but are any of these French franchise brands now ready to cross the Channel? So far very few have done so, but here Franchise Consultant Ken Young profiles two brands which may be about to take the plunge

Cavavin has been franchising in France since 1986 and has established an impressive network of 121 local wine stores. The company's success in that country can be attributed to the high quality of wines selected by the franchisor's professional buyers, the wide choice available in every store and the expert advice provided by its well-trained and enthusiastic franchise owners.

With a pilot operation already successfully running in the north of England, Cavavin's International Franchise Director Etienne Boivin is convinced that the time is right to expand further into the UK. Boivin explains: "All our research indicates that UK wine sales will continue increasing over the next five years and our immediate aim is to recruit franchise owners in London, the South East and the South West."

Stores need to be situated in good secondary town locations, each serving a minimum population of 15,000 and with a sales area of at least 70 square metres. Excluding property lease or purchase, the investment requirement for UK franchise owners is around £65,000. Cavavin is committed to a high level of training and ongoing support to help launch and quickly develop the businesses of its future UK partners.

Based in Paris, Physiomins began franchising its slimming centres in 1997 and now has 90 centres in 13 countries throughout the world - as yet excluding Great Britain. However, that situation could well change in 2010 when Physiomins plans to add a further 40 outlets to its worldwide network.

International Franchise Director Edouard Falguieres explains: "The problem of obesity is showing a disturbing increase in the UK just as it is throughout the rest of Europe, with a recent report predicting that one in three adults in the UK will be obese by 2012."

The initial concept of Physiomins as a slimming centre has now been expanded further to include the two important new concepts of 'anti-aging' and 'well-being' treatments. The range of products today includes cosmetics, dietary products and food supplements - all of which provide evidence of the franchisor's ability to stay in tune with marketplace and to react to its needs.

Just as this franchisor has constantly improved and refined its products and services, so it has continually refined and updated its franchise offering. Physiomins now provides a very high level of support to franchise owners at each stage of their development - from initial planning, through the launch and then by assisting with the growth and development stages of the business. Its marketing support is recognised throughout the French franchise industry as being exceptionally good.

The investment required for an individual Physiomins outlet, excluding premises, is currently around £70,000. However for its overseas expansion the company operates a system of Master Franchising whereby the Master Franchise Owner acquires the rights to open an agreed number of centres within a certain country or region.

"In the UK we initially wish to appoint Master Franchise Owners for the London and South-East territories," says Edouard. "We would like to meet people who already have proven experience in sales and management but of course, upon joining Physiomins, they will be provided with full training at our head office in France."

The French franchising consultancy Adventi Franchise is working with FDS Midlands to promote and encourage the exchange of franchise brands between France and the UK. As Franck Berthouloux of Adventi Franchise explains: "Over the years France has developed a great many highly successful franchises, all of which are totally committed to providing a very professional range of support services to their franchise owners. These services include training, marketing, research, logistics, IT and purchasing which can now very easily and quickly be adapted to benefit franchise owners in other countries such as the UK."

French franchisors have tended to look mainly towards Belgium, Italy or Spain for the initial expansion of their networks but they are now turning to the UK as a means of maintaining their targeted rate of growth. In fact our research shows that 29 per cent of French franchisors - among them many of the best and largest brands - are already planning to recruit franchise owners in the UK within the next couple of years. Those concepts perceived by the British as especially French, such as wine, beauty treatments and fashion, should have a particular advantage.