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Exhibition attracts thousands of budding franchise owners

More than 120 businesses showcased their franchise opportunities at The British & International Franchise Exhibition at Olympia, London, which also hosted seminars and advice clinics on every aspect of franchising.

Many visitors spent the two days meeting franchise companies ranging from home improvement to financial services, food and drink to travel, in order to discuss opportunities.

The free conference was a key element of the exhibition and its seminars proved extremely popular, with theatres full and the packed audiences spilling into the aisles. The presentations covered useful subjects such as Hands-on Franchising, Families In Franchising, Franchise Resales, Executives In Franchising, Franchising Your Business and Growing Your Own Business.

Among the keynote speakers were Richard Forte, Chief Operations Officer at McDonald’s UK, whose talk was entitled Why Franchise Owners Are Well-Placed To Weather The Economic Storm. Forte, who is responsible for managing the day-to-day running of all 1,200 UK restaurants, explained the importance of remaining close to customers in order to be able to spot trends, build loyalty and deliver what the customers wants.

The show also had a dedicated International Zone, supported by the UK Trade & Investment, enabling visitors to find out what franchise opportunities are available overseas. The highlight was the International Franchise Conference consisting of experts, panel sessions and case studies.

Among those franchisors exhibiting and speaking was Professor Roy Seaman CFE, Managing Director of Franchise Development Services, who said: “We were pleased to see an ever-increasing number of young people, many of who were with their parents, giving serious consideration to starting their careers by investing in a franchise.”

The chance to meet business owners was of particular interest to many visitors. Paul Georgiou, a catering consultant from North London, recapped, saying: “I am an experienced franchise owner looking for further ideas. Face-to-face meetings at an event like this are vital for both franchisors and franchise owners to test and build relationships. If I was a franchisor, I would be exhibiting here and I also strongly recommend prospective franchise owners to come along to future exhibitions.”

Adrian Goodsell, Franchise Exhibitions Manager at Venture Marketing Group, organisers of The British & International Franchise Exhibition, said: “This year’s exhibition had a real buzz to it and the conference seminars were packed.

“We hope visitors have taken away with them all the knowledge and advice they need to develop a career in this exciting sector.”

Reported by Fraser McKay