Challenges faced by franchise entrepreneurs operating in a volatile business environment: a case of the fast food industry in Harare, Zimbabwe

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Franchising plays a pivotal role in sustainable economic development through employment creation, improving the standards of living and increasing the growth of entrepreneurship worldwide. However, the volatile business environment in Zimbabwe has a negative impact on the growth of franchising in the fast food industry. The aim of the study was to uncover the challenges of franchising in a volatile business environment in Zimbabwe. The study focused on an under studied area of franchising in the fast food industry of Zimbabwe. The study is important, as franchising can be used as a tool for economic growth and the study breaks a new ground, as no similar studies have been conducted to identify the challenges faced by franchise entrepreneurs in a volatile business environment. Ten qualitative interviews were successfully conducted with franchise entrepreneurs using face to face semi structured interviews as data collection method and thematic coding was used to analyze the collected data. The findings of the study indicate that franchise entrepreneurs face difficulties in obtaining operating licences from the Harare’s City Municipal Authorities and registering their businesses. Electricity power cuts severely affect the operations of fast food businesses. The majority of the entrepreneurs do not have adequate capital to expand and grow their businesses and they fail to meet lending requirements from the financial institutions, top-most among them being the provision of collateral security accompanied by rigid application procedures for funding. Recommendations made include that the government must play an active role in promoting franchising by setting up a vibrant franchise board and speeding up the business registration process.

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