While franchising can be a great way to generate income, these brands are also prioritising the betterment of their customer base
While the globe-spanning operations that are synonymous with franchising are often affiliated with hard facts like profits, revenue and scale, the majority of franchise brands allow entrepreneurs a great route to owning small businesses. Profits and making money are a huge part of owning a business, but many relish the opportunity to become an active, upstanding asset to their local community.
For these business owners, it’s about more than business. However, if you think that money talks, then keep reading. A 2021 report by the Co-op (more on them later) found that the ethical consumer industry is worth £122bn compared to £11.2bn in 1999. Who says nice guys finish last?
More than just shipping
Operating in the UK since 1999, InXpress has global partners who can offer small and medium businesses shipping rates usually reserved for the largest orders.
Outside of the bottom line, InXpress is also a market leader when it comes to its charitable efforts. In addition to its penny-per-shipment campaign throughout November, franchisees are given the chance to suggest causes close to their hearts and make a difference year-round via the ‘InXpress Gives Back’ programme.
Melanie Spencer, global head of marketing for InXpress, says it best: “Giving back is one of InXpress’ core values, and we love finding ways to make a genuine difference in the lives of people we know, as well as those in other countries.”
The perfect example of this was when franchisees from Manchester South started taking their amazing therapy greyhound Ellie to a local school to help children with special needs read. After notifying their franchisor, InXpress was quick in supporting the cause, making a sizeable donation to Pets As Therapy.
The upper crust of ethical business
The Bristol-based Pieminister has been delivering industry-leading pastries since 2003. Always one to do things the right way, its products are known to be ethically sourced and its methods responsible. Its franchises range from kiosks to large 2,000 square-foot restaurants, but they all have a part to play.
In 2020, Pieminister set itself nine goals to accomplish by 2025 covering its pies, its impact on the planet, and the way it treats people. As well as committing to being carbon neutral and using 100 per cent slow-grown chicken, this year will see all of its managers complete diversity training, ensuring they represent everyone in their communities.
Its ‘Little acts of pieness’ scheme has been running for several years and saw over 90,000 pies donated to local causes and charities in 2019-20 alone.
“It’s great to be able to give back to our community in this way,” says the head of marketing for restaurants and franchises, Ginny Payne.
The brand is always looking to launch schemes designed to champion worthy causes. She explains: “Pieminister employees also now benefit from a new volunteering policy, where we’re given one day per year to volunteer for a registered charity of our choice.”
3. Co-op Food
A pillar of almost every local community
The Co-op is perhaps the most famous community champion in business. The whole ethos of the company is built on supporting local projects, with some 25,000 local causes supported this year through its Local Community Fund. These beneficiaries are chosen by its group of members in each community. Over its lifetime, more than £100m has been raised and donated to good causes by the Co-op.
One of its recently supported programmes includes the #iWill scheme. In 2021, the Co-op supported 55 different local youth social action projects under this initiative which sees 10- to 20-year-olds work to improve their own communities.
Co-op Food franchisees will need a pre-existing grocery store and to invest between £250,000 to £300,000, but financial support is available with the strength of the Co-op name enough to reassure most banks.
Co-ops are often considered the hubs of their communities, and with ethically traded goods and a proven model that sees everyone win, it’s not hard to see why.
4. Right at Home
Caring for those who need it most
For this home care franchise, looking after the community is the whole business model. “Right at Home has a mantra of ‘making a difference every day’ and this ethic applies to everything we do and everyone we deal with,” explains Right at Home franchisee Janet Bennett. “There is a very clear and common purpose right across the whole company.”
Going around an area and caring for those who cannot look after themselves is something that requires a great deal of empathy and compassion. Janet herself embodies this, saying that she hopes her own work makes “a lasting difference to my community”.
It is not just Jane who possesses such community spirit. Franchise recruitment manager, Kate Dilworth, explains: “When franchise owners join Right at Home, they understand that our services are not just aimed at helping people at home. We want our clients to lead active, fulfilled lives; to have fun and to do the things they enjoy – and if those activities and avenues of support are not readily available in their local area, then we will look to create them.”
Right at Home is the highest rated home care provider on the leading review site in the UK, homecare.co.uk. This is testament to the willingness of its staff to go above and beyond across its services including elderly care, dementia care, live-in care, and companionship programmes. Kate explains: “We have franchisees running lunch clubs for older people, friendship groups for anyone who’s been experiencing social isolation, family carer support groups, local business networks, exercise classes, gardening and bowls clubs – the list is endless!”
As if the staff of Right at Home haven’t already done enough, 2021 saw the launch of the ‘tin full of wishes’ campaign that sees clients who are particularly deserving given once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
5. The Little Foxes Club
Bringing children together through sport
Team sports are a great way to not only help children get fit but also to bring them out of their shells. The Little Foxes Club offers grassroots coaching across a number of sports for all ability and accessibility levels with a name that parents know and trust.
Following the business model, you will see yourself become a large part of the local community as your business blossoms into after-school clubs, parties and even leading PE lessons – plenty of business opportunities for a minimum investment of £14,950.
Hiring other coaches means you can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you like and work hours best suited to you. These extra coaches can focus on other sports, providing opportunities for children to broaden their horizons or expanding your franchise’s area of operation.
The Little Foxes Club knows how important sport can be to help young people grow and destress; it is important that no one who wants to join in has to miss out. Regular partnerships with charities, councils and not-for-profits help deliver its services to underprivileged groups.
This is a franchise opportunity with very high job satisfaction as seeing children grow and develop their own interests is one of the most rewarding ways to work, especially for sports lovers. Team sports such as football are famous for the sense of community they develop and this is a proven way to unite people in your area.
Andrew Sansom is a content writer for What Franchise.