A Salute to the Success of Franchising


As we celebrate FASA’s 40th Anniversary this year, it is appropriate to reflect on the phenomenal success of franchising as a business model since its inception – both in its country of origin, the USA and to those who helped build franchising into the powerful force that it is today in South Africa. Over the coming weeks we will run a decade-by-decade overview of the success of franchising in South Africa in the FASA newsflashes to whet your appetite on this incredible business system.

Mass Production Spawns franchising (1850 – 1900s)

According to www.franchisorcreator.com, whose history of franchising info-graphics tracks the early origins of the business method of franchising, credits another revolution – the industrial revolution of the 1850’s to 1900’s – as the catalyst for the emergence of franchising as we know it today. It created a new supply-and-demand model, offering business opportunities in manufacturing, mass produced goods and chemicals – and more importantly a business format for wider distribution, duplication and service excellence.

1851 – Singer Sewing Machine Company, founded by Isaac Merritt Singer, offered localized company control to owner/operators in exchange for a share of profits. It also provided manufacturing equipment and support services to his franchisee’s factories, in effect laying the foundation for turn-key franchising.

1851 Isaac Singer’s first patent model sewing machine

1888 – Martha Matilda Harper, with her Harper Hair Salons, is credited as the first woman to franchise hair salons and inventing the reclining shampoo chair. She opened her first salon in Rochester and at her peak had more than 500 stores across America.

Martha Matilda Harper, with her Harper Hair Salons

1898 – General Motors sold their first auto manufacturing franchise in Detroit, Michigan. This also sparked the proliferation of gas stations to service those cars.

The Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid was the first gasoline-electric hybrid automobile.
picture of company “Jacob Lohner & Co”

1901 – Coca Cola was the first soft drink brand born from mass manufacturing, with the first Coca Cola bottling plant franchised in 1901.

Coca-Cola, plant, truck, 1920. Asheville, NC

The full historical overview and other interesting articles will be published in a high-quality FASA Directory due out in February which also lists FASA’s members and is a guide for anyone wanting to invest in a franchise or is interested in this successful business system.



Follow us

FASA Franchise Association South Africa

To protect, lobby, promote and develop ethical franchising across all sectors in South Africa with specific focus on transformation.
FASA Franchise Association South Africa
Follow us
Join our newsletterReceive weekly news, updates and events taking place in the franchise industry