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Irish Franchise Industry Outlook for 2018

The Irish franchise industry has continued to grow from strength to strength, and the outlook for the industry in 2018 is a positive one. The Irish economy experienced rapid growth in 2017, despite the uncertainty associated with external factors such as Brexit. Ireland’s GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 4.8%, and is expected to continue to expand at an average rate of 4% in 2018, according to the European Economic Commission. Employee pay is on the rise across the economy as a whole, with increases of 2% expected this year.

2018 Irish Franchise Industry Outlook

Franchising continues to be an important contributor to the Irish economy. The Irish Franchise Association is happy to report that the Irish franchising sector is worth an estimated €2.5 billion, and employs approximately 43,000 people in full time jobs; many more work in the sector part time. In post-recession Ireland, where increasing unemployment levels were a constant fear, this is an optimistic and positive note to begin 2018 on. There are currently over 4,000 active franchise units operating in Ireland.

The Franchise Business Model

Franchising has proven itself to be a robust and resilient business model, even during periods of recession and economic downturn throughout the last decade. Franchising offers you the chance to invest in a proven business with a readymade support network and established target market. This is an attractive prospect for those who are fearful of the risks associated with opening your own business. Franchisees benefit from the proven methods of an established brand, and a track record of success. Over 50% of Irish franchises provide up to two weeks of training for their franchisees. This is important in allowing franchisees to familiarise themselves with the business and operations, and begin their own franchising journey with confidence and the tools needed to succeed. The average initial franchise fee in Ireland as reported by the Irish Franchise Association is €24,000, which is relatively low cost. Many franchises also offer financial support directly, or through a third party.

2018 Irish Franchise Industry Outlook 2

Franchise Options

The franchise industry in Ireland has grown to accommodate a variety of interests and lifestyles. Food, drink and catering franchises continue to be the most popular in Ireland, and brands such as Salad Box, Saburritos, Insomnia and Jon Smith Subs are set to continue to expand in 2018. Health, diet and fitness franchises are also extremely popular, as are business consulting franchises. Niche franchise opportunities, such as home improvement, education and pet franchises, have also become prevalent in Ireland over the last number of years as the demand for these industries has increased, and they can expect continued success in 2018. Home-based franchises are growing increasingly popular in Ireland, as is the ease associated with van-based franchises. The variety of opportunities available within the industry means that there is bound to be a franchise to suit all levels of expertise, abilities and interests.

International Franchises

International franchises such as Bebe de Paris, Fit4Less and Husse have recognised that Ireland is a viable and growing market, and one that is ripe for development. British franchises account for one third of the sector, followed by the United States, and franchises from regions such as Australia, Spain and the Far East have recently entered the market. Domestic franchises have also been successful, and one in five franchises in Ireland are home-grown.

Interviews With Franchisees

Our franchisees have been similarly positive about the future of the franchise industry in Ireland. Matt Goddard, Marketing Executive for Fit4Less feels that there is "a great opportunity" for expansion within Ireland, particularly in the health and fitness sector. Karl Fitzpatrick, the Master Franchisee for Bricks4Kidz in Ireland, had some strong opinions about the Irish franchise industry. When asked about the development of the franchise sector, Karl spoke candidly from his perspective as a Master Franchisee:

"I think [the Irish franchising sector] hasn’t developed enough. The government has not given franchising as a sector the support that it requires. This may be down to the fact that when franchises are sold, they feel that money is leaving the country and going elsewhere. This is a [misguided] assumption, because often there is a Master Franchise network in Ireland which is pretty well developed, meaning that the money and the jobs are staying here. . . The success rates of franchise businesses are far higher than in general with startups – you have a proven model that is tested, with a lot of experience behind it. Starting a business today can be a lonely venture, and the support network with a franchise is readymade. In a lot of cases the franchisor will have seen it all before and will have come up with solutions. I would like to see the government doing more to support the whole concept of franchising and I think that that is probably the one thing that is holding the franchising sector in Ireland back. If the government gave it more support this would create more awareness about franchising, the media would give it more coverage, which is well-deserved. This would culminate in a situation where, when people are thinking of starting a business that franchising would be in their mind, and they would search 'franchise opportunities' on Franchise Direct to see exactly what’s on offer."

The Annual Franchise Show Ireland

The Franchise Show has been one of the highlights of the franchise industry’s calendar since its inception in 2016, and the 2017 exhibition proved to be very popular among franchisors and franchisees alike. The 2017 show featured over sixty-five exhibitors, and the 2018 Franchise Show is expected to be even larger. The Franchise Show 2018 will take place September 7th and 8th in Dublin’s RDS, and free tickets are already available for reservation – whether you are an experienced franchisor or completely new to the world of franchising this is an event not to be missed.


Franchise Direct found 2017 to be a great year for franchising, and so far 2018 is proving to be similarly positive. We have seen a 16% rise in applications to open new franchises in January 2018, compared with the same period in 2017.

The franchise industry in Ireland is poised for great success in 2018. Begin your new year with a new career and find the perfect franchise for you today.

Some information and statistics courtesy of The Irish Franchise Association, The European Economic Commission, The Irish Independent and The Sunday Business Post.

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