Opening a franchise in Belgium: which networks to join?

franchising in belgium which networks to join

Less widespread than in France, franchising is nevertheless well established in Belgium. The country has 362 networks and 9,460 franchised outlets. All you need to do is shop around and find the right “sign” for you.

Belgium offers a favorable climate for launching a franchise. Several brands and activities are enjoying growing success here. “In the top 5 growth sectors, we have food, catering, DIY/home improvement, ready-to-wear and personal services,” says Carine Janssens, head of network recruitment at the Belgian Franchise Federation. We take a look at a number of brands that are expanding and recruiting in the “flat country”.

In the food sector, Delitraiteur, a specialist in fresh takeaways, has around forty outlets. The network, created in 1990 and a subsidiary of the Louis Delhaize group, offers 9-year contracts for sales areas of less than 250 m2. Léonidas, with 380 stores in Belgium, is a historic heavyweight in the sector, and continues to expand. The brand is building a new production plant in Nivelles, with the aim of increasing its production capacity and expanding its product range. In the food service sector, many concepts are also recruiting. These include Belchicken, a fast-growing chicken specialist since 1996, which is aiming for 300 restaurants by 2026. But also Point Chaud (artisanal bakery and pastry-making) and Lunch Garden, one of Belgium’s leading restaurant chains with 62 outlets.

Younger networks are also emerging in niche segments. Frit’house’L (fresh French fries cooked in beef fat) opened for franchising in 2023, and currently has three franchisees. Dream Donuts, set up in Charleroi in 2020, has enjoyed dazzling growth in Belgium, before recently taking on the French, Italian and Spanish markets. “With an average investment of 80,000 euros, our brand is open to all profiles. Our ambition is to open 80 sales outlets by 2025”, says Ilyass Aoussar, founder of the concept, whom we met at the last Franchise Show. The brand operates mainly in shopping areas, with sales per store ranging from 350,000 euros to over one million euros.

In the specialized trade, it’s impossible not to mention Tom & Com, founded in 1991 in Jette, near Brussels. The pet shop network now boasts 200 stores, including 132 in Belgium, 2 in Luxembourg and 70 in France. Although it has a strong presence in Belgium, it still opens an average of 5 stores a year (450,000 euros investment, 450/600 m2 surface area, in retail parks or commercial zones). For its part, kitchen specialist Vanden Borre Kitchen has launched around twenty outlets since its creation in 2016. The latest opened in February in Auderghem, near Brussels. The company requires a personal contribution of 100,000 euros, and sales of 1.4 million euros at cruising speed. Last but not least, Auto 5, a Mobivia Group brand, is the only Belgian network to offer an auto center formula combining store and workshop. The network has 53 outlets, 15 of which are operated as franchises.

Candidates wishing to open in Belgium can also turn to the many French networks that are expanding there. Monoprix opened its first outlet in Waterloo at the end of March. Kiabi, well established in Brussels and Wallonia, plans to open 8 stores this year in the other Belgian regions. Last year, Alain Afflelou took the plunge with the opening of its hearing centers. The chain now has around fifteen. Black and White Burgers, which opened in Brussels in 2017, is aiming for 20 restaurants by 2027. “We currently have 12 franchised outlets, but we’re looking to expand, particularly in Flanders and Antwerp. We’re looking for both operational and financial profiles,” says Youssef Saadaoui, co-founder of the brand and responsible for franchising the concept in Belgium. Still in the restaurant business, but on a more modest scale, Bagel Corner has set up shop in Brussels, followed by Waterloo in December 2023. New projects are reportedly underway. To discover other well-established networks in Belgium, a detour to the website of the Belgian Franchise Federation may be useful. The Federation counts some fifty member companies.

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