Women in franchising | Part 1

Cheryl Bass,


Franchising presents the perfect opportunity for women to stop builiding someone else’s business and carve out success for themselves.

There often comes a time in woman’s life when she hits a crossroads. Having spent many years toiling away just to see someone else get rich or supporting someone else’s career, there comes a point when a woman has to decide whether she wants more for herself and decide exactly what she wants to achieve. Franchising is the vessel in which independent women can reach those goals.

The fact is that currently women account for less than a third of self-employed people in the UK. But this is changing. Incredibly, between 2008 and 2011, women accounted for 80 per cent of the newly self-employed according the Office of National statistics 2013.

I am not one for stereotypes, but in my experience, women often already have exactly the qualities needed to become successful franchise owners – often moreso than their male counterparts. Not only are women generally known to take fewer risks than men, women love belonging to communities such as a franchise networks. Furthermore, I have found that women are very visual in nature and often seek to visualise a business opportunity before they can see themselves running it. All of these somewhat innate qualities have lead to the emergence of franchising as a natural home for entrepeneurial women. Many women see franchising as uniquely suited for females, as it provides control and flexibility and an opportunity for them to build a business around their unique lifestyle, while building a rewarding career by investing in themselves and in a business that they own.

I AM WOMAN encourages and helps women into franchising because ownership of a franchise offers women financial security and flexibility, which is something increasingly difficult to attain in the corporate world.

Anne Wainwright,


This year marks 40 years since McDonald’s opened the doors of its first UK restaurant. Today, it operates restaurants in more than 1,200 communities across the UK, employing thousands of people and serving millions of customers each year.

With over 70 per cent of its business now franchised, the McDonald’s franchise owners who operate around the UK play an important role in the communities in which they operate.

One such franchise owner is Anne Wainwright. Anne opened her first McDonald’s in 2007 in Yorkshire and the Humber and now owns three restaurants across the region. Her restaurants contribute £3 million to the area’s local economy annually and, in addition to the 210 people that she directly employs, McDonald’s and its suppliers support a further 280 jobs locally. That equates to 490 jobs, contributing a massive £16 million to the local economy alone.

Here she explains why she chose to become a McDonald’s franchise owner: “Having spent 20 years at a blue-chip IT company as a Sales Director, I felt confident that I had the right skills and mind-set to start my own business. I was used to leading teams, managing budgets and delivering excellent customer service and felt that running my own restaurant would give me the challenge I was looking for.

“I did my research and McDonald’s was the franchising model that stood head and shoulders above other options, largely due to its first class training programme, credible business plan and rigorous selection process; it was clear this was a business that set high standards and expected hard work to ensure success, just like I do. Furthermore, its community-led ethos proved it was a business that would support me as a franchise owner, as well as my employees, suppliers and customers.

“The application process was demanding but varied. I was exposed to every aspect of the McDonald’s business, from food preparation to brand marketing, and in 2007 I was ultimately rewarded with the keys to my first restaurant.

“Over the years I’ve built a dedicated team who continually support the business and I know I have the support from a passionate set of individuals who care about serving great tasting food and making sure customers have a fantastic experience each and every time they visit.”

Ruth Solomons,

Right at Home Harrow
What made you choose Right at Home over other franchise opportunities?

I chose RAH for its high ethical standards and emphasis on high quality care. I also wanted a territory in my home area and ideally a company that was a member of the bfa.

To what extent do you think the franchise industry is easy / difficult for women to access?

In many ways franchising is an excellent model for women, as they often like working within a supportive network and giving and receiving help.

How do you believe that the franchise industry could change, if at all, to encourage and enable even more women to invest in a franchise opportunity such as Right at Home?

Once the number of women who are very successful reach a critical mass, then more women are likely to be attracted into the business. Seeing women who are very successful, who are proud to be carrying out valuable work and who are able to take a strategic view and create time to do other things as well.

Part 2 >>