Ilan Alon and Dianne Welsh have compiled a far-reaching 500 page book exploring franchising in 12 West and North European countries. The countries include Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The book contains a wealth of information covering a wide range contextual issues pertaining to franchising. Numerous topics and issues are explored, with examples including franchising history, statistics, legislation, codes of ethics, women in franchising, retailing, hotel franchising, plural form (or dual distribution) strategies and franchising trends. Not all topics are covered for each country.

International Franchising in Industrial Markets is a collection of articles selected and edited by Ilan and Dianne. The articles are written by writers from a range of backgrounds, which includes franchising researchers, lawyers and consultants from throughout Europe. Each typically specialises on their country. The articles vary in style, structure and methodologies. Some utilise quantitative statistical analysis, some employ qualitative techniques (like case study analysis), some are theoretical, and some are based on experience and anecdotal evidence. Some employ a mixture of styles and methodologies.

So, what's in it?
Content is divided into 22 chapters. The first two chapters focus on franchising in Europe generally, and include articles entitled Breaking into the European Union Using Franchising, and Comparative Review of Legal Issues in Europe. Chapter Three explores legal aspects of franchising in Austria, while Chapter Four contains an overview Danish retail franchising. Chapters Five and Six are devoted to Finland, and include franchising statistics and an exploratory study of the Finish Franchisee Training Program.

France is the focus of Chapters Seven through Nine. The chapters include a general franchising overview, a survey of the plural form in French hotel chains, and a survival analysis of hotel franchising. The German legal environment and women in franchising are explored subsequently, in Chapters 10 and 11, while the following chapter provides good background information on Greece.

Chapter 13 and 14 are devoted to Italy, with two good articles exploring franchise trends and developments, and internationalisation of Italian franchise companies. Chapter 15 analyses the potential of franchising in Norway, with particular reference to potential entry by US companies. Chapter 16 looks at standardisation versus adaptation issues for franchisors entering Portugal, and includes an interesting case study involving McDonald's. Chapter 17 looks at the Internationalisation efforts of Spanish companies, and Chapter 18 explores the legal aspects of franchising in Switzerland.

The United Kingdom is the final territory covered. Chapters 19 through 21 provide information on UK franchisor internationalisation, direct sales franchises, and the internationalisation process. The book then concludes with advice for European franchisors considering entry into the US.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Ilan Alon and Dianne Welsh have created a valuable franchising resource focusing on the West and North European market. The books articles/chapters cover a huge range of important franchising issues, and are both interesting and insightful. I was personally interested to learn quite general information about franchising in each market. I particularly enjoyed the article exploring the internationalisation of indigenous Italian franchise systems, like Benetton. I was also greatly interested in the detailed, qualitative account of one unnamed British born franchise system.

I have only two minor gripes. First, some articles are difficult to read due to a legalistic and/or overly academic writing style. In particular, I felt one legal article required more background knowledge than could reasonably be expected from the books readership. And finally, I would have liked more comparative information on key facets (e.g., number of franchise systems, industry prevalence, average age, contribution to GDP, % indigenous systems etc) for all countries.

Who should buy it?
Answer: Anyone with an interest in International Franchising.
Certainly, if you are considering taking a franchise system to Western and Northern Europe then this book provides valuable contextual information to better understand each market. Franchising consultants, attorneys, researchers and students should also find it interesting and helpful, and can also benefit from the numerous references to related publications.

It should be noted that this book is not intended to be a prescriptive guide to International franchising. It does not provide a step-by-step guide to entering each country. Rather, International Franchising in Industrial Markets - Western and Northern Europe is a collection of valuable and insightful articles that relate to each country profiled.

Overall, I think this is a good book. It is crammed with interesting and useful information. It easily justifies the US$60 tag.

This book is available for purchase [here]

Reviewed by Dr Callum Floyd, Editor of

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