The Characteristics of Multi-Unit Ownership in Franchising: Evidence from Fast-Food Restaurants in Texas
One empirical phenomenon that has received little attention in the franchising literature is the tendency for individual franchisees to own not just one but several units of a given franchised chain. Most current theories of franchising, based on incentives, information asymmetries, and strategic arguments, have little capacity to explain this phenomenon. In fact, several of them imply that all units should be independently owned and operated. However, given the existence of multi-unit owners, most of the theories have implications for the extent to which units owned by a single owner should be 1) geographically near each other, 2) located in areas where populations display similar demographic characteristics, and 3) contiguous to each other, that is, should share a market boundary. This paper provides empirical evidence that restaurants of individual owners in the six largest fast-food chains in Texas are geographically close to each other, that they are located in areas with similar demographic characteristics, and that they are contiguous. This evidence suggests among other things that franchising is not a strategic delegation device, and that the location of units is not determined by the franchisee's desire to diversify away risk. Instead, the minimization of monitoring or free-riding costs, and the franchisor's reliance on the franchisee's local market expertise, appear to be central concerns in the allocation of units across franchisees.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Francine Lafontaine, 1995. "Pricing Decisions in Franchised Chains: A Look at the Restaurant and Fast-Food Industry," NBER Working Papers 5247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret E, 1997.
"Retail Contracting: Theory and Practice,"
Journal of Industrial Economics,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 1-25, March.
- Michael L. Katz, 1991.
"Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
- Michael L. Katz., 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," Economics Working Papers 91-172, University of California at Berkeley.
- Katz, Michael L., 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt79b870w0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Lafontaine, Francine & Bhattacharyya, Sugato, 1995. "The role of risk in franchising," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(1-2), pages 39-74, October.
- Lutz, Nancy A., 1995. "Ownership rights and incentives in franchising," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(1-2), pages 103-131, October.
- Vickers, John, 1985. "Delegation and the Theory of the Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 138-47, Supplemen.
- Bonanno, Giacomo & Vickers, John, 1988. "Vertical Separation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 257-65, March.
- Mathewson, G Frank & Winter, Ralph A, 1985. "The Economics of Franchise Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 503-26, October.
- Kenneth L. Judd, 1985.
"Credible Spatial Preemption,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 153-166, Summer.
- Baye, Michael R & Crocker, Keith J & Ju, Jiandong, 1996. "Divisionalization, Franchising, and Divestiture Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 223-36, March.
- Francine Lafontaine, 1992. "Agency Theory and Franchising: Some Empirical Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 263-283, Summer.
- Klein, Benjamin, 1980. "Transaction Cost Determinants of "Unfair" Contractual Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 356-62, May.
- Andrea Shepard, 1993. "Contractual Form, Retail Price, and Asset Characteristics in Gasoline Retailing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 58-77, Spring.
- Sugato Bhattacharyya & Francine Lafontaine, 1995. "Double-Sided Moral Hazard and the Nature of Share Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 761-781, Winter.
- Norton, Seth W, 1988. "An Empirical Look at Franchising as an Organizational Form," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 197-218, April.
- Levy, David T & Reitzes, James D, 1992. "Anticompetitive Effects of Mergers in Markets with Localized Competition," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 427-40, April.
- Devon Garvie & Roger Ware, 1996. "Public Firms as Regulatory Instruments with Cost Uncertainty," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(2), pages 357-78, May.
- Brickley, J.A. & Dark, F.H. & Weisbach, M.S., 1988.
"The Economic Effects Of Franchise Termination Laws,"
88-11, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
- Brickley, James A & Dark, Frederick H & Weisbach, Michael S, 1991. "The Economic Effects of Franchise Termination Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 101-32, April.
- James A. Brickley & Frederick H. Dark & Michael S. Weisbach, 1991. "An Agency Perspective on Franchising," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 20(1), Spring.
- Eaton, B Curtis & Lipsey, Richard G, 1979. "The Theory of Market Pre-emption: The Persistence of Excess Capacity and Monopoly in Growing Spatial Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(182), pages 149-58, May.
- Minkler, Alanson P., 1990. "An empirical analysis of a firm's decision to franchise," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 77-82, September.
- Kaufmann, Patrick J. & Dant, Rajiv P., 1996. "Multi-unit franchising: Growth and management issues," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 11(5), pages 343-358, September.
- Eric D. Darr & Linda Argote & Dennis Epple, 1995. "The Acquisition, Transfer, and Depreciation of Knowledge in Service Organizations: Productivity in Franchises," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(11), pages 1750-1762, November.
- Kaufmann, Patrick J & Lafontaine, Francine, 1994. "Costs of Control: The," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 417-53, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5859. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.