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Updated 23 Apr 2018

Why quasi-franchising may be your best growth strategy

Are you looking for small scale franchising opportunities? You’ve probably heard of the concept quasi-franchising, but how can you implement it, and will it work for your business?

Diana Albertyn , 15 July 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Your restaurant business is thriving and you may be considering opening more locations. Maybe you think franchising is the answer, you also know that the generation of consumers you’re targeting is often unsatisfied with franchises and their standardised service. They’re more interested in niche products and personalised service. 

Opening more locations would only make sense for you only if they were run by owners, so quasi-franchising may be your best bet instead of the tradition kind. Why? Because you’ll be ditching the tired old cookie-cutter experience most franchises provide while still expanding your brand with a personal touch from your respective franchisees.

Related: 15 Best pieces of franchising advice from successful franchises


Gen Y and Gen Z will soon constitute the largest markets for franchised businesses as consumers, as well as providing the largest demographic pool of potential franchisees. You want to offer them something worth spending their money on and buying into as an investment.

Here’s what you need to know about applying the concept and how it can work for you:

It’s a win-win arrangement

The usual franchise won’t let a franchisee tailor the business model at all, but quasi-franchisees get a little more freedom to customise what they want according to their own creativity and intended market.

“Entrepreneurs will get to make the business their own, and franchisors still make money from it with loyalties, rent, training methods and other operational costs required,” explains Christo Botes of SME investment company Business Partners Limited.

Your role in this arrangement is the behind-the-scenes aspects such as hiring and training of staff, management style and other corporate and operating duties. The franchise’s name, image, look and feel of the business are up to the franchisee. 

Customers feel more connected to the brand 

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It’s concept designed for niches like your restaurants, allowing franchisees to offer a much more personal feel with customers. 

“Empowering franchisees with the ability to make their own decisions on a local level makes them much more effective in customer relations and internal matters,” says entrepreneur Jonah Engler.

“It also gives owners a chance to be more responsive, because leaving certain matters to be handled on a local level, means decisions and solutions can be implemented much quicker.”

Basically, customers get a mom and pop feel in a store that’s specifically run with them in mind, while you run the backend operations and receive a fee monthly for doing so.

Related: How micro-franchising can kick start your dream business

Quasi-franchising in SA 

“There’s some precedent for this kind of setup,” according to Andrew Terry and Cary Di Lernia of the University of Sydney Business School. “It’s becoming increasingly common for a franchisor to carry multiple brands in its stable.” 

A local example of a successful business that has adopted quasi-franchising is the Thorny Bush Lodge Collection. The luxury game lodge group, located in the Greater Kruger National Park area, has a group of 12 lodges including Monwana Game Lodge, Shumbalala Lodge and Waterbuck Lodge.

So, opening up to multiple quasi-independent operators wouldn’t be that much of a reach if you’re keen on the concept.


Quasi-franchising gives you management authority, but the look and feel as well as the day-to-day operations are up to the franchisee. This concept means you can replicate your business success over several locations without presenting a cookie-cutter version to customers who want personalised eateries.

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About the author

Diana Albertyn

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