Mon, Nov 26, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Nation's franchisees get younger

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Food and beverage chain stores are appealing to young generations of Taiwanese who wish to open up their own businesses, a chain store fair exhibitor said yesterday.

"Our main franchisees are between the age of 30 and 40. However, we are attracting an increasing number of younger franchisees, who are around 25," said Chung Wan-ping (鐘婉屏), a business planning official at Laguardia (拉亞漢堡), an American-style breakfast restaurant based in Yangmei Township (楊梅), Taoyuan County.

Chung made the remark at the Taiwan International Chain Store Fair yesterday at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I. She said Laguardia's unique foods and its bright and clean store images were the company's main asset.

The four-day fair ends today.

A would-be franchisee surnamed Wang (王), who works in the food service industry, told the Taipei Times yesterday that he was interested in opening his own breakfast restaurant.

He said Laguardia appealed to him because of its unique products. Laguardia's NT$680,000 (US$21,000) investment is higher than other breakfast stores, such as My Warm Day (麥味登), which only needed NT$400,000 to 600,000, the 26-year-old Wang said. Nevertheless, he believed Laguardia's high-priced products would result in a higher rate of return.

Another visitor surnamed Wang said she was interested in joining beverage chain stores, as they required lower franchise fees and are easier to operate.

The 23-year-old nurse said she would quit her current job if she found a franchise that met her expectations.

Investors often choose breakfast restaurants, tea beverage cafes and street vending as their startup options after taking costs and investment risk into consideration, an industry analyst said.

"The low-cost food and beverage industry has been investors' franchises of choice in the past five years, because of low costs, high profits and high rates of return," Beryl Lee (李培芬), secretary-general of the Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion (台灣連鎖加盟促進協會), said in a report posted on the Taipei-based association's Web site.

"Taiwan's beverage chain store density is far higher than that of convenience stores. However, beverage chain store investors can survive in the market with only one-third a convenience store's investment fee," Lee said in the report titled 2007 Chain and Franchise Trend Analysis published in May.

However, every investment has its own risk and not every business is going to become successful.

"The main reasons for failed FamilyMart franchises are long working hours and a lack of employees," said Hsu Shu-ching (徐淑卿), manager of the convenience store chain's franchise department.

"The lack of employees is convenience stores' biggest problem. The young generation is constantly looking for something new so they are mainly looking for short-term jobs," she said on Friday.

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