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When did franchising come to the UK?
It can be argued, as Dr Martin Mendelsohn does in his Guide To Franchising, that franchising models were originally found in the UK as far back as the twelfth century, when the various guilds were created in the City of London and were granted rights by the Crown to carry out certain trades, provided that participants were properly trained and met certain standards. However, the kind of franchising we’re concerned with in this magazine, ie business format franchising, is generally accepted to have been developed in the USA by The Singer Sewing Machine Company in the mid-1850s, but it didn’t really start to make ground until the early twentieth century. One of the early franchises in the UK would have been DynoRod, created by an American, Jim Zockoll, who recognised the opportunity for building his drain clearing business in this way. Franchising as we know it was certainly taking hold in the UK in the early 1970s, as businesses learned from the techniques brought here from America by the likes of Servicemaster, Budget Rent-A-Car, Holiday Inn and Coca-Cola and copied them to fund the growth of local businesses through the franchising method. The early pioneers got together to form the British Franchise Association in 1977 in order to share techniques and adopt a code of practice.
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