The Effect of Franchising on Establishment Performance in the U.S. Restaurant Industry
Cornell Hospitality Quarterly (Forthcoming)
24 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2016 Last revised: 19 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 15, 2017
A central theme in much of the franchising literature is that franchising mitigates the principle-agent problems between the owner of the franchise company and the operator of the local establishment by making the operator the owner-franchisee of the establishment. Despite the centrality of that assumption in the literature, there is little empirical evidence to support it. We use Census of Retail Trade data for essentially all full- and limited-service restaurants in the US to test whether franchisee ownership affects performance at the establishment level. We find a strong and robust franchise effect for full-service restaurants, but little effect among limited-service restaurants. We argue this difference is consistent with agency costs given differences in work processes and the important of managerial discretion.
Keywords: Franchising, restaurants, data envelopment analysis, eﬃciency
JEL Classification: D23, D24, L83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation