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Wave of new franchises unveiled at Sydney expo

Tuesday, 5 April 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
A host of Australian and US franchises were recently unveiled at a Sydney franchising expo, suggesting the sector is still ripe with opportunity for prospective franchisees.


The Sydney Franchising and Business Opportunities Expo, held last weekend, attracted a wave of new Australian franchises including mobile catering business Pizza Event and Sergio's Cake Shop.


Other new franchise brands included The Music Bus, a mobile studio that visits schools, and kids' educational program Eureka Multimedia.


Established in 1999, Eureka Multimedia is the brainchild of managing director Tony Alevras, and now has more than 100 software titles across a range of categories including mathematics, literacy and games.


Alevras says the software has been sold through major retailers, but adopting a territory-based franchising model means a new face-to-face selling approach will allow for more informed purchasing.


He says while franchisees must be motivated, he also highlights the benefits of the work-as-you-please model, stating: "This would suit mums at home wanting flexible hours."


Other new franchising opportunities were presented at the expo in the form of party plan and online wine cellar The Butcher's Table, and window coverings showroom business Luxaflex.


Fitness franchise Muscle Beach, which supplies sports and nutritional supplements, is also new to franchising after 18 years of trading in the Australian market.


Muscle Beach founder and chief executive Michael Clunne says Australia's booming health and fitness industry is worth around $100 million a year in turnover.


"Our franchisees will not only enjoy an opportunity for high financial success but also enjoy a healthy work/life balance," Clunne says.


Clunne says prospective franchisees must be passionate and energetic, with a genuine interest in the industry.


Several US brands were also launched at the expo, including Mr Sandless, a mobile floor service that uses a sand-free method to treat and seal floorboards, engineered wood, ceramic tiles and laminates.


Another new US franchise was Kooler Ice, a large-scale vending machine that serves up takeaway bags of ice.


Meanwhile, iconic Australian brand Clark Rubber used the expo as an opportunity to promote its expansion plans, launching its new look and targeting the NSW market.


Other established brands exhibiting at the event included Bakers Delight, Coffee Guru, Eagle Boys Pizza, Grill'd, Healthy Habits, Outback Jack's Bar & Grill, The Cheesecake Shop, Brian Tracy International, Cartridge World, Changing Places Real Estate Consultants, Fastway Couriers, the Jim's Group, Minuteman Press, Poolwerx and United Petroleum.


Steve Wright, executive director of the Franchise Council of Australia, says prospective franchisees should not enter into a decision lightly, encouraging them to shop around.


"You need to compare what the different businesses are offering; it's the only way you're going to reassure yourself that what you're being offered appears to be what the market is offering," he says.


Meanwhile, the FCA is at loggerheads with fast food king Jack Cowin over proposed franchise laws in WA.


Cowin, who runs Competitive Foods, which owns Hungry Jack's, told a WA Parliamentary inquiry yesterday that strengthening WA's franchising laws in favour of individual business owners will set a welcome national precedent.


The inquiry is examining proposed laws introduced as a private member's bill last year by Liberal MP Peter Abetz in a bid to protect franchisees from "rogue" franchisors.


The FCA has slammed the bill, arguing the laws will undermine franchisors' ability to get rid of bad operators.