Opportunities Available for Women in Franchising

It may come as a surprise to some, but entrepreneurship is experiencing growth after the pandemic as many people have decided that they want to work for themselves. A great way to become your own boss is to start a franchise. However, the rate of women who own franchises is falling behind their male counterparts. According to Entrepreneur, women account for approximately 31 percent of all small businesses and franchise owners in the U.S.

On this episode of The Main Course, host, Barbara Castiglia speaks with Carly Habein, Vice President of Franchise Operations at Noodles & Company, about encouraging more women to consider this path. Franchise Insights reported that women are outnumbering men in franchise inquiries. Though inquiries slowed in 2020, the numbers quickly rebounded in 2021. “We really need to capitalize on our own internal team to get that moving forward with most companies,” said Habein. She has seen colleagues start a franchise after working on the corporate franchise side.

One gap that is closing among franchisees is the gender pay gap. In franchising, females earn about 90 percent of what their male counterparts make, according to Entrepreneur. Habein looks for franchise partners who live and believe in the Noodles & Company values and have good business acumen.

“Yes, you pay franchise fees, but it truly is your business to grow. You are the owner—an owner with a great support network,” said Habein. Women are a good fit for franchising because of their natural abilities. Females are typically good at organizing. They understand prioritizing and tend to be detail oriented. Women adapt to changes quickly and communicate with ease.

Habein and Castiglia Discuss…

● There are fewer female franchise owners than males

● There are more franchise inquiries from women

● Women have often possessed personality characteristics that allow them to succeed with franchising

Habein is motivated by the entrepreneurs she works with. Why? “Their passion and their drive for making their business work,” said Habein. Since Noodles & Company isn’t huge, she’s been able to build intimate relationships with franchisees.

A little more insight on the Noodles restaurant for those unfamiliar, Noodles & Company offers a wide variety of noodle entrees, from mac and cheese to Italian favorites and Japanese pan
noodles. The company was quick to adapt during COVID-19 and takeaway orders surged. Now, the company prioritizes end-cap locations with pick-up windows.

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