A new trade association for franchisors, the Approved Franchise Association (AFA) is being set up and plans to launch its website, www.theAFA.org.uk, later this month on January 23.
The current association, the British Franchise Association (BFA) was formed 35 years ago in 1977 to promote and self-regulate the industry and has been unchallenged, although unsuccessful attempts have been made from time to time to set up national bodies for franchisees. The BFA is currently engaged in an ambitious programme to embrace franchisees and has launched a section of its membership for the franchisees of its franchisors, called In-Franchising, and created three seats on its board for them.
Brian Smart, the BFA director-general, has pointed out to his members that the BFA is recognised by the UK government and the EC as the representative of the industry and for its work in establishing and promoting ethical franchising, and warned them that the arrival of another association would be harmful to the industry.
The AFA has, however, been welcomed by Rik Hellewell (right), the founder and managing director of Ovenu, the global market leader in on-site oven cleaning.
A critic of the BFA’s franchisee engagement programme, Hellewell said that he was supporting the new association and intended to join it.
“The formation of an alternative association, which will be made up of franchisors only, sits well with my philosophy as I feel that the BFA is moving in the wrong direction. I believe this to be driven by the European Franchise Federation, despite rhetoric from the BFA to the contrary.
“There is nothing wrong in my view in having a choice of associations for franchisors to be members of either or both. Two voices are often louder than one and, should franchisors elect to have a foot in both camps, the sector as a whole could benefit enormously.
“An alternative franchise association has been in the minds of many people for a long time, and with the AFA offering membership for a quarter of the cost of that of the BFA, it will attract significant interest.”