Now More Than Ever, Franchises Offer a World of Opportunities for Today’s Vets
For years, franchising has been known as a fulfilling post-service career option for military veterans. The numbers back it up too.
One out of every seven franchise businesses in America is owned and operated by veterans of the U.S. military, according to a recent study conducted for the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation, and based on U.S. Census data. More than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the U.S. provide jobs for 815,000 Americans, generating more than $41 billion.
At Edible Arrangements, some 600 veterans are employed in our locally-owned stores and we have a goal to ensure that we create at least 1000 jobs within the next year. We currently have dozens of franchisees who are veterans and we plan to boost this number with our Hero’s Welcome program which offers a reduced franchise fee for U.S. military veterans.
It is estimated that one million vets will be returning home over the next five years. Opportunities to transition from the military to the civilian job market are critical, to prevent returning vets from having higher-than-average unemployment rates. Franchising can play a major role in this transition. There are number of reasons that the franchise business model has always been – and will continue to be – a perfect fit for America’s veterans.
Franchise operations mimic military ones
Strict protocols and chain of command are a way of life in the military, and also in franchise operations. While vision and drive are critical, it’s also important that franchisees have an ability to work within prescribed guidelines that have proven the test of time.
Most franchises offer veterans reduced-fee loans and subsidies
Some franchise companies provide a discounted franchising fee to veterans. We do this at Edible Arrangements and it’s just a small way to thank veterans for their courageous service. Additionally, loans in excess of $1billion are available to returning service men and women through special veterans’ programs administered by the government.
Veterans’ ability to handle risk, adapt to change and continue to persist, make them more suited, in many cases, to handle everything that business ownership may throw their way. Lenders know this and that is why franchises remain one of the nation’s most stable and healthy investments.
Franchises provide training
From the day they enter boot camp, veterans know that ongoing training is a part of military life. An ability to stay abreast of the latest techniques and technologies can mean the difference between success or failure and, in some cases, life or death.
As a result, I have found veterans some of the best students when it comes to our training programs at Edible Arrangements. I have found that veterans are always on the look-out for a competitive advantage and they are among the first to ask to be a part of testing new programs and initiatives.
Franchises need leadership and decision making ability
Leadership and an ability to make decisions are two characteristics I have found in every veteran who has become a franchisee at Edible Arrangements. Through training and experience, they have honed these skills to where they have become second nature.
Business owners are faced with circumstances that are constantly changing, sometimes without warning, and snap decisions must be made. Last year’s severe winter caused some of our franchisees to make unique, in-the-moment choices that enabled them to weather the storms and provide 100 percent satisfaction for our customers, safely and without incident!
Franchises thrive on commitment
Even with proven systems and processes in place, running a franchise business is hard work, sometimes requiring long hours. Of course, that is nothing new to someone who has spent any time in the military.
In fact, this is often when veterans are at their best – riding the adrenaline rush that comes by pushing yourself more than you ever thought possible, seeing a situation through to success.
Franchises inspire and encourage philanthropy
According to FranchiseHelp, whether it’s on a national level or in an individual franchisee’s neighborhood, the world’s best franchises not only generate profits but contribute meaningfully in their communities.
Veterans know about sacrifice and service. I have found that our military veterans appreciate everything they have and the opportunities our country has given them. As a result, they have a burning desire to continue to serve and help others.
In short, U.S. military veterans have the qualities that every franchisor is looking for and have a huge potential to become the standard-bearers for their brands. If, over the next few years, franchisors make a concerted effort to reach out to U.S. military veterans, not only will their companies benefit, but we might begin to close the unemployment gap faced by those who have given so much to our country.
Tariq Farid is the Founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements. The company began in 1999 with one small store in East Haven, Connecticut. Through franchising, the company has grown to 1,200 stores in 14 countries and territories in just 15 years. Farid is a champion of the franchising model as a great way to grow a large business, but also firmly believes becoming a franchisee is the pathway for successful small business ownership.
For information on Edible Arrangements’ franchise opportunities for Veterans:
For information on International Franchise Association’s VetFran Program: