Franchise Forecast for 2021

Posted by Tom Scarda, Certified Franchise Executive on Apr 19, 2021 8:00:00 AM

In franchise consultant, life decisions

Have you ever ridden the waves at the beach? Did you have the experience, as you’re stand, waiting for the swell of water to pick you up, first there is an undertow, and you feel like you might be dragged out to your demise? Suddenly, the rush of water in the opposite direction engulfs you, and you start moving toward the beach. Before you know it, you’re riding the crest of a wave. The wave comes in, and you are magically transported to a haven on the sand. That’s what is happening now. The undertow is the pandemic. The swell of water is pent-up consumer demand. 


Here is why you should be thinking about jumping in the water right now:

A leading franchise online portal,, posted information about the International Franchise Association’s Economic Outlook for Franchising in 2021. The report is based on information curated by leading franchise data expert, Darrell Johnson who owns FranData


Mr. Johnson presented a webinar about the current and future economy and what it holds for small businesses. Here are the significant highlights from Mr. Johnson’s presentation:


1) Big picture outlook

  • A near-term GDP boom followed by a return to slow growth
  • Labor: a quick recovery with unemployment rates under 5% by year-end
  • The economy returning to its pre-pandemic payroll level well before year-end 2022
  • A rising inflation rate in a year or two will allow some pricing flexibility for the first time in years.
  • A low-interest-rate environment for the foreseeable future

2) 2021 franchise business growth

  • By year-end, franchising will have recovered to nearly 2019 levels in most metrics: business growth, employment, economic outlook, and contribution to GDP
  • The total number of franchised establishments is expected to grow at a rate of 3.5%, a net gain of 26,000 businesses with a total of 780,188 franchise establishments in 2021, 6,585 units higher than 2019’s pre-Covid level.
  • Franchise employment is forecasted to add approximately 800,000 jobs in the U.S. with the hiring of 8.3 million workers by the end of 2021. Much of this new employment will be in the retail, food, and services industries and for lower-skilled workers.
  • Franchising sales are expected to experience their highest upswing since the last recession.

3) Growth sectors

  • Commercial & residential services
  • Real estate
  • Retail food, products & services
  • Business services

4) Recovering sectors

  • Lodging
  • Personal services (beauty salons, massage & spa studios, gyms, recreational facilities, child-related services, etc.)
  • Quick Service Restaurants and table/full-service restaurants

Here is an article from the New York Post that I was quoted in on April 4th, 2021 about this same topic titled, Believe it or not, this could be the perfect time to start a business in NYC by Virginia Backaitis:


Learn more about the IFA Economic Outlook and download the full IFA report here:


If you want to chat about how to catch your wave to sandy beaches in your future, let’s have a conversation. No obligation. No sales. No kidding. 


You can book time on my calendar:


As the author, Alysha Speer, said, “You never really know what’s coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it instead of drowning in its monstrosity.”


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