How to manage the challenges of a booming franchise sector

As a particular franchise sector grows, so do the responsibilities of the brands within that sphere to maintain their industry-leading service.

How to manage the challenges of a booming franchise sector

As a particular franchise sector grows, so do the responsibilities of the brands within that sphere to maintain their industry-leading service. Increased demand in a franchise sector is a wonderful opportunity – it offers a chance for increased growth and profitability for all. However, as an industry grows, it’s imperative that the rate at which your franchise grows mirrors the apparent demand. Kevin Thackrah, Director of Petpals, has plenty of experience in this area, having witnessed the pet-care industry explode in the last 18 months. Here, he shares his advice on how to handle the challenges that arise when your franchise sector grows at an unprecedented rate.

In my experience, growth in a sector is not something to be alarmed by but celebrated. With 3.2 million* households acquiring a family pet since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen an extraordinary rise in business. But without the proper preparation, your chances of capitalising on the growth will be significantly reduced. Take time to evaluate what services may be impacted if demand suddenly surges. Otherwise, you will be left behind by the competitors that have implemented strategies that you haven’t. At Petpals, we partnered with business coaching franchise, ActionCOACH, to help give us a different outlook on the strengths and weaknesses of our business model – particularly in the current climate. 

Recruitment is now a major issue for many service-based businesses. However, recruiting the right people is at the heart of keeping your franchise as an industry leader. Stick to your critical parameters of what makes a great staff member – we like to look at our current stars in our network to craft our recruitment checklist. If you drop your standards your brand will lose out on both customers and you risk damaging the culture you have built. This can be difficult when you’re quickly trying to match the surging growth of your industry. A healthy culture not only attracts prospective staff members, but it also retains the skilled staff that are the pillars of your franchise network. Collaboration, communication and praise all make a significant difference when you are trying to instil a more robust culture in your business. 

With large growth, new challenges will always arise. A franchise business becomes special when a group of people strive for the same goal. Therefore, as more demand is placed on your business, more network-wide troubleshooting is required to keep your service special. Is there a common problem occurring in your network? Communicating with your franchisees and staff to see if anyone has come up with a solution to a common issue is a brilliant way of preserving the quality of your offering. Encouraging this culture of contribution is pivotal to maintaining your business excellence while your franchise is in a period of unprecedented demand. At Petpals, we’re even happy to collaborate with other pet-care brands as we know this will benefit the pets at the centre of our business. It’s good for animal welfare and ultimately business.

Unprecedented growth will equal a hectic period for your franchisees and staff in your network. Having the systems in place to cope with this surge in demand will make a huge difference in these busy periods. Franchise-wide strategies such as admin support systems free up time for your locations to cope with surges in demand. As a franchisor, offering ongoing support to your network will go a long way in building lasting trust. Being proactive and reachable demonstrates your commitment to the franchise and highlights how you care beyond the parameters of your job role. At Petpals, for instance, in addition to our Annual Conference, our focus group and network forum maintain communication and camaraderie within our network. 

When you hit a sudden period of growth there will be many successes and challenges in your business. Make sure you learn from both outcomes as, quite simply, they are a valuable commodity for you as a franchisor. 

Kevin Thackrah is Director of Petpals, the UK’s largest multi-service pet-care franchise. Petpals offers much more than a home boarding or dog walking service; it is a professional, tried and tested, successful business format which is fully supported by the Petpals team and nationwide network of franchisees. For more information, visit

* Pet Food Manufacturers Association’s Pet Population report 2021

Kevin Thackrah
Kevin Thackrah