Looking to get into franchising and be your own boss? Good choice. Franchising is incredibly well supported, and if you’re exploring the prospect of attending a franchise show, you probably already know that. Each year, the UK sees many different exhibitions from numerous different organisers. Each show typically sports a generous number of exhibition stands from franchisors to sector suppliers and show partners. But what are the top franchise exhibitions in the UK? And what are the top franchise exhibitions to attend in 2023? Which should make your list?
Firstly, if you’re considering franchising, it is worth knowing that you’ll probably want to attend several franchise exhibitions. Because the different shows are organised by different companies, they each work with different partners, sponsors and brands. Reaching different people, different businesses, different shows will offer different range of opportunities. Some will have more stands than others. Some shows might be small, only having less than 50 stands, but what they lack in stand numbers they usually make up for in workshops, seminars and the support available through these exhibitors. On the contrary, shows with larger numbers of exhibitors, visitors can immediately feel overwhelmed when arriving, not fully taking in the opportunities available, and as a result, can leave many franchisors feeling they haven’t really generated any leads.
So with that in mind, you should consider attending not one, but maybe two or three. Regardless of how many you choose to attend, it’s a good idea to make a list of the brands you want to see, the questions you want to ask, and what you want to take away from the show (other than the free pen).
Whilst the same shows generally make an appearance at least once a year, differing with exhibitors each, there are some shows that generally have a hiatus of several years in between. Without bias, we’ll take a look at some of the best franchise shows that are happening in 2023.
So here are the top five franchise exhibitions that are happening in 2023. Not all of these will be listed on our events page, when details are scarce.
1. The Franchise Show
Operated by ComeXposium, The International Franchise Show, is the UK’s largest franchise exhibition. Often with over 100 exhibiting franchisors, this is the show you’ll probably want to attend if you’re looking to get information from as many brands as possible, or discover and speak to as many possible businesses.
The 2023 show is reported to have over 250 exhibitors, with at least 100 franchisors from both the UK and internationally, looking to enter the UK market. The International Franchise Show happens in April 2023, around a similar time each year.
Tickets are free and as usual, the venue is within easy reach from public transport. The April show sports a wealth of knowledge, including seminars from McDonalds and insights on creating an effective business plan, franchise funding made easy, plus seminars about mistakes to avoid and so much more. Definitely consider attending this show.
2. The BFA Franchise Exhibitions
The British and International Franchise Exhibition and the National Franchise Exhibition, each generally occur once a year. Both shows are British Franchise Association supported, and most -if not all- exhibitors are BFA members. The British and International show typically takes place around June, whilst the National show around October.
Usually somewhat smaller than the Franchise Show over recent years, but still top on our list of shows to attend. Because many of the attendees are BFA members, and the team from the BFA often being in attendance too, this is one of the best shows you can attend in the UK. Not only are there many franchise opportunities to explore, you’ll also be able to garner insightful knowledge from partners. That includes the BFA team.
This 2023, the British and International Franchise Exhibition takes place on 9th & 10th June 2023, whilst the National Franchise Exhibition takes place 6th & 7th October 2023 as outlined on our events page via the footer of this website.
3. The Great British Business Show
Whilst many of the exhibitors at The Business Show are businesses looking to promote their services to SMEs and business decision makers who are visiting, many people that attend are also looking for a business opportunity. As a result, many franchise brands choose to attend this show. Not only to promote their franchise opportunity but to also raise awareness of franchising.
Some top franchise brands who are exhibiting at this 2023 Business Show include:
- ComputerXplorers – Previously part of The Bardon Group of businesses, and now owned by previous franchisee Stuart Harley, ComputerXplorers is a childrens computer coding club franchise. Encouraging children to get involved with computer science, ComputerXplorers make learning fun.
- DNS Accountants – With a track record of successful franchising expanding nearly two decades, DNS are a leading UK based accounting and bookkeeping franchise.
- Zocalo – A unique, new Mexican food franchise with chains already open in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Zocalo are looking for franchisees and a Master Franchisee for the UK.
- Tutor Doctor – A tuition franchise opportunity which franchisees can run from home. As a management franchise, owners will employ a team of tutors whilst not needing to do any tuition themselves. Franchisee’s main roles will be employing and managing the workforce, and marketing and growing the business’ presence in their local area.
4. Virtual Franchise Exhibitions
Over recent years and for obvious reasons, a number of different businesses have established themselves as online virtual franchise exhibitions. When COVID hit, many in-person franchising events were put into doubt and so the rise of digital franchising events came about.
There are at least two virtual franchise shows. The main one being FranchiseShow247.
A Year Round Online Franchise Show
Available 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day, the FranchiseShow247 is the leading virtual franchise show. Populated year round by new “exhibitors”, visitors to the exhibition hall can explore opportunities on a “floorplan” style basis – clicking stands to visit each exhibitor. The setup is clever, and the platform is really well optimised for mobile. While some features don’t work so well, the simplicity of the franchise profiles make the platform easily accessible.
Because the FranchiseShow247 is available year round, it attracts a reasonable audience. As a result, exhibitor numbers are strong with a generous number of industry exhibitors onboard.
An Exhibition Style Look and Feel
Complete Business Opportunities also run the Virtual Franchise and Business Opportunities Show. Similar to FranchiseShow247, the CBO-run Virtual Franchise Exhibition features an online exhibition hall with stands. Unlike FranchiseShow247, this show features chat functions, document uploads and a more exhibition-stand look and feel on a stand basis. This is in contrast to the FranchiseShow247 who’s stands are simply a profile type page. However the Virtual Franchise Exhibition happens infrequently and despite being run for 2-3 days at a time, 24 hours, the show isn’t as prominent. The site claims it will return in 2023, but as of March, there are no details. It would make more sense to have this show run year-round like its competitor for the sake of its exhibitors. Generally you won’t hear much about this show until weeks before it starts.
You can attend both shows in 2023, the FranchiseShow247 is live now, whilst the Virtual Franchise Opportunities show, sponsored by Daltons and Complete Business Opportunities, returns later this year.
5. Franchise Discovery Days!
Okay- whilst not a franchise exhibition, there is one way to find out more about a particular brand you’re interested in! Why wait for them to exhibit at an upcoming show when you can attend a discovery day? Many franchise businesses make an effort to set up discovery days to show interested parties more about the workings of the business. Some recent discovery days below, and how they’ve worked:
- Coffee vending franchise – interested parties were invited to head office to see the machines and understand each of the franchise packages available through a presentation.
- Board game cafe franchise – interested parties were invited to the shop with the opportunity to play a range of board games against likeminded entrepreneurs and later against the public, getting a feel for how a franchisee would operate the business.
- Windscreen repair franchise – interested parties were invited to a hands-on demonstration of high tech windscreen repair equipment, which franchisees would use throughout their territory.
Franchise discovery days, like exhibitions, are free to attend. These might happen on a one to one basis or as a group. Discovery days can often be more insightful than exhibitions, because they offer a hands on approach and they may be in a position to divulge more operational information subject to signing an NDA. If you’re looking to invest in a franchise, discovery days will certainly form part of your interest process, and if you’ve already got some brands on your mind, why not consider attending a discovery day? Contact the franchisor to learn more about their upcoming events.
Discover Franchise Opportunities at Franchise Planet
Franchise Planet is a directory of franchises for sale. Similarly to franchise exhibitions, you can explore many types of franchises for sale in the UK. There are over 1,000 franchise opportunities in the UK. Whilst directories list many of these opportunities, by using both a franchise portal and attending a franchise exhibition, you can learn a lot about the opportunities within franchising. If you’re looking to be your own boss, franchising is a great way to get into business ownership. Thanks to the amount of support available, through consultants, associations like the BFA, and franchisors, and the higher success rate compared to startups, franchising is one of the best ways to get into business.