2023 - 2024 Guide to Franchise Exhibitions

Ultimate guide to the UK's top franchise shows and exhibitions, happening in 2023 and 2024

Franchise Events

Upcoming Franchising Events

List of 2023 and 2024 franchise and business exhibitions. Event not listed? Get in touch with our team to advertise your franchise or business show for free.

What Are Franchising Events?

Franchise exhibitions
Franchise exhibitions give you the opportunity to speak to franchisors and franchisees

Franchising events are an opportunity for you to learn more about franchising. If you’re unaware of what franchising is, franchising offers a means for you to be your own boss and run your own business, whilst trading under the name of an established brand. Some well-known franchises include Costa, McDonald’s and Oven Clean.

Franchise events enable you to find out more about franchising, by speaking to the franchisor (the owner of the business intellectual property), and sometimes some franchisees as well (those that have invested in the franchise, and are trading in their area).

Franchising events are a great way to learn more about different businesses, and there are two main types of franchising events which allow you to do just that. These are franchise exhibitions and franchise discovery days. By attending these franchising events as part of your due diligence, they can help build an understanding of what each business offers, and whether it’s right for you.

In most cases, franchising events will be free to attend. They’ll be well supported by sponsors and franchisors, so costs are usually covered by the exhibitors. You can expect to receive show information on the day, such as a map of exhibitors, but it is always a good idea to plan in advance which franchise businesses you want to see. Planning your interests in advance helps structure your day and get the most out of the exhibition.

What are Franchise Exhibitions?

Franchise exhibitions are held several times a year in the UK, and are similar to trade shows. There will be lots of stands where franchises will be answering questions by visitors. You’ll often be handed an information pack which answers some frequently asked questions, and includes more information about the nature of the business and what franchisees can expect. Franchisor exhibitors will have spent considerable sums of money on their stand, leaflets and attending, so they will want to talk to you.

Seminars will usually take place at franchise exhibitions, held by brands, franchise consultants and other franchising industry professionals, discussing a variety of topics. Plan ahead and drop in to any seminars which you feel will be insightful.

It’s important to emphasise that it costs nothing to enquire, and you won’t be expected to buy a franchise there and then! Exhibitions are a two-way street. You’ll be looking for the right franchise, and the right business to run and be your own boss. The franchisor will also be looking, for the right fit for their franchise network. Franchise networks are built by likeminded franchisees who share the same passions of the franchisor – running their own business with a mutual goal of upholding the values of the franchise business model. You’ll want the right franchise for you, but the franchisor will also want the right franchise that fits their network. If you’re passionate about some of the brands you meet, then the next step would be to request an information pack, or attendance to a franchise discovery day.

What are Franchise Discovery Days?

Many franchises offer a hands-on experience for those looking to invest in a franchise. For example, if you’re attending a windscreen repair or dent removal franchise day, the franchisor might give you a hands on experience.

Unlike franchise exhibitions, franchise discovery days are usually run in smaller groups, if not one-to-one. Discovery days will usually take place at the franchisor’s head office, or maybe at a community hall or hotel function room.

At a franchise discovery day, you may be asked to sign an NDA. This will be a measure of security for the franchisor, so that competitors don’t attempt to set up their own business copying the franchisor’s proven model.

Whilst at exhibitions the franchisor may be struggling for time, juggling questions from multiple attendees which may or may not progress on to the next stage of discovery, discovery days offer the opportunity to answer more in depth questions.

There may even be existing franchisees there for you to ask questions of. Buying a franchise is a big decision, so attending whatever franchising events you can, is always a big plus. As we said before, it costs nothing to enquire, and by building up even more knowledge of franchising, you’re more likely to hit the ground running.

Questions to Ask at a Franchise Exhibition

First and foremost, ask yourself a question – what do you want to get out of the franchise exhibition?

It’s a good idea to make a plan of which franchises you want to visit at the show. If you’re interested in food and beverage franchises, make a list of attendees you want to visit. If there’s a F&B related seminar, drop in to that as well. There’s no limit to the amount of knowledge you can take away from a franchise exhibition. Make a list of the brands you want to see, and come up with some questions you want to ask. These questions should answer whether or not it would be a good idea to even continue considering the prospect of becoming a franchisee with these brands. Some good questions are:

  • How many franchisees do you have? How many are trading?
  • What are the reasons some of your franchisees have failed in the past?
  • If these are down to the franchisor, ask what measures have been put in place so that these reasons don’t affect future franchisees.
  • Ask the franchisor for information on how to contact their franchisees. Can they meet them at a discovery day?
  • Ask whether your local area is already covered by an existing franchisee.
  • Ask for an information pack, so you can read more later.

The franchisor will likely have some questions for you as well. They might ask you where you want to be in five years time. Why are you considering franchising? What draws you to their franchise?

Questions to Ask at a Franchise Discovery Day

Franchise discovery days are a great opportunity for you to learn more about the franchisor’s business. They’ll usually cover many of your existing questions through a talk or presentation. Most of these questions should be answered in the discovery day, but listen out for:

  • How big your territory size will be, how many potential customers are in your territory?
  • What is the time to break even? Once you’ve invested, how long will it take for you to start profiting?
  • Ask franchisees if their franchise is meeting their expectations. Are they earning what the franchisor said they would?
  • However many years on, are they still enjoying running the business?
  • What training and support will you receive? Can you ask for further support if you need it?
  • Get an understanding of the profits and losses of the business. Understand in detail, where costs and overheads arise, and what elements of the business make money.

Even if you fail to ask a specific question that you wanted, or didn’t feel you got exactly what you wanted from an exhibition or discovery day, don’t forget, you’re not expected to buy a franchise there and then!

Hopefully whichever franchising event you visit, you’ll be able to take some knowledge and understanding away. Let it sink in, and go through the information you’ve taken, written down, and then consider the next steps. Book a one to one meeting with the franchisees or franchisor to ask any other queries you might have.

Franchising Events in Summary

Buying a franchise is a big step. Selling a franchise is also a big step for the franchisor. Both parties will be investing both time and money into their future, and both parties will be looking for the right fit. The franchisor will be looking to grow their brand, by taking on like minded and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to run their own business. People like you will be looking for a sustainable, established business which enables you to be your own boss. Definitely take the time to visit franchise events. There’s nothing like meeting with a franchisor face to face and learning about their franchise.

Looking to plan a discovery day? Read our guide to planning a franchise discovery day.

Franchise Events & Exhibitions FAQ

Should you attend a franchise exhibition?

If you’re looking to find more about franchising, or looking to discover what sorts of opportunities are available, attending a franchise exhibition is a great opportunity for you to do so. Reading about a franchise opportunity online isn’t always as appealing as speaking to a representative or an existing franchisee at the show. Attending a franchise exhibition forms part of your due diligence and there are plenty of stands able to help with answer any queries you may have.

What is the best franchise exhibition to attend?

The best franchise show in the UK will depend on what you’re looking to get from an exhibition. Some trade shows are smaller, having less than 60 stands, but all the while make up for the fewer numbers by having more insightful seminars, workshops and partners. The National Franchise Exhibition is backed by the British Franchise Association and is generally smaller than other shows like The Franchise Show, but makes up in a wealth of resources from Pip and the team. If you’re looking for information, any show would be a good opportunity and you should attend as many as possible.

Are franchise exhibitions free?

It is usually free to attend a franchise exhibition. Franchisors paying for stands are eager to meet as many people as possible, paying upwards of several thousand pounds for a stand, these costs mean that there is little barrier to entry for visitors.

How much does it cost to exhibit at a franchise exhibition?

Stand costs for most UK franchise exhibitions and shows range from between £1,500 to £5,000. Add on the cost of accommodation for you and your team plus marketing materials and this can easily reach in excess of £7,500. But for many franchisors, shows are a good investment. Some get better results than others, and for many franchisors it’s simply a case of trying and testing to see whether exhibitions are a viable investment for recruitment.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Receive the latest franchise opportunities straight to your inbox. By signing up below we'll send you occasional newsletters and emails on behalf of franchises advertised on this website.

By signing up to our newsletter you agree to our privacy policy.

Subscribed by mistake? Don't worry - this is double opt-in, so you'll receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. You can unsubscribe from our franchise newsletter at the bottom of every email as well.