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Is Your Franchise Fit for Ireland?

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This article originally appeared on our Ireland site. The original article can be seen here.

Is Your Franchise Fit for Ireland?
Evening panorama of the River Liffey with some of Dublin's tallest structures (Ulster Bank Towers, Liberty Hall and Dublin Spire) on view.
honster/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Along with its neighbor in the UK, the Irish franchise market is probably one of the most active and developed in Europe. It continues to be an important contributor to the Irish economy. According to the Irish Franchise Association, the franchise sector in Ireland is worth an estimated €2.5 billion, and employs approximately 43,000 people in full-time jobs with an estimated 5,000 working in the sector on a part-time basis.

The success of the franchise industry in Ireland has led many prospective investors to seek out opportunities in the country. However, many franchisees and franchisors alike have come to realize that some franchises tend to fair better than others and that Irish people seem to favor particular franchise industries based on cultural and personal tastes.

Here are things to consider if you're wondering if your franchise is a good fit for Ireland.

Language

One of the primary things to know is that English is the most common language spoken in Ireland with 99% speaking it. French, German and Spanish are also popular languages spoken in the country. If you are setting up your franchise near a Gaeltacht/Irish speaking area then you might want to invest in duel-language signs and advertisements.

The Popularity of Food Franchises

Food franchises are some of the most popular franchise industries in the Irish market. Ireland is a large consumer of food and there is also a demand for variety from the Irish people when it comes to eating options. Ireland also happens to be quite multicultural and therefore a variety of cuisine tends to be a much more popular option.

Is Your Franchise Fit for Ireland?

However, as Bill Holohan of Irish based Holohan Solicitors warns, “make haste slowly […] there are some things that will sell in Ireland, and some things that don’t, for example, we [the Irish people] are one of the biggest consumers of ice cream per capita, yet frozen yogurt doesn’t do it for us”. Entering any foreign market cannot be done successfully without first carrying out a significant amount of research on the economy, market and society.

Legal Matters

Franchising is not specifically regulated by law in Ireland. There are no laws or regulations that specifically encourage franchising in Ireland, nor are there any laws regulating the offer and sale of franchises.

Franchisees are not protected by any other laws or regulations, such as those protecting local agents or distributors. There are no restrictions imposed on foreign franchisers in Ireland, and no approvals are required when a franchise is entering the Irish market.

There are no laws that require franchise agreements prepared under the laws of a foreign jurisdiction, or certain provisions in them (for example, exclusion clauses and the provision of local guarantees), to be adapted to be enforceable locally. However, franchise agreements are usually amended to refer to local legislation, even when they include foreign governing law and jurisdiction clauses.

Any franchise that can be construed as a pyramid selling scheme is prohibited under the Pyramid Selling Act 1980. Franchises that involve business in regulated industries (for example, the sale of investment products or the provision of healthcare services) must comply with applicable regulatory requirements, regardless of the governing law and jurisdiction of the franchise agreement.

Local Knowledge Needed

One of the biggest problems for outside brands looking to invest in Ireland is a lack of local knowledge. This can include the correct placement of advertising in order to generate the target number of inquiries at an acceptable cost per lead.

One of the most important aspects of franchise recruitment in Ireland when being handled by foreign brands, is to either work closely with an experienced franchise recruitment consultant, who can handle and qualify the inquiries and deal with them on a day to day basis, or to directly employ an Irish based franchise consultant who understands the culture and decision making process of Irish Nationals.

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