The British Franchise Association

The information provided here is intended to provide insight into the British Franchise Association (bfa)Organisation, to help in explaining who the bfa is, what they do, and why.  Many franchisors who have information published on this site, refer to the British Franchise Association, and their membership status.  Therefore, this article is provided to help you understand the role that the bfa plays in UK franchising.  For full details, visit the British Franchise Association website

BFA History and Role in Franchising

British Franchise AssociationThe British Franchise Association (bfa) evolved from the franchise industry itself in 1977, as the only voluntary accreditation body for franchising in the UK. Its remit was and is to develop and continuously improve the standards of good practice in franchising and to accredit franchisors who meet these standards. Many organisations say that they are 'franchisors' - not all are, and not all are accredited by the bfa.

One of the bfa's main jobs is to help potential franchisees recognise the good, the bad, and the ugly for what they are. Another is to help businesses involved in franchising to secure their own position amongst the "good" operators.  The ability of franchisors to attract potential franchisees to invest in their systems depends crucially on their own reputation, and on the reputation of franchising in general.

It was for these reasons that in 1977 the major franchising companies in the UK decided to set up their own association, the British Franchise Association (bfa), to act in the interests of the industry as a whole in assessing and accrediting franchising companies as those which meet its criteria for the structure of the business, the terms of the contract between franchisor and franchisee, the testing of the system and its success as a franchise.

The bfa accredits franchise companies for membership on the basis of an established standard structure. These standards are based on the company's financial position, its day-to-day business activity, the disclosures made to prospective franchisees and the terms of the franchise agreement.

These standards are based on the European Code of Ethics for franchising - agreed by the member associations of the European Franchise Federation in 1990 and recognised by the European Commission. Companies are re-accredited for bfa membership on a regular basis.

BFA in the Franchise Industry

Franchise SeminarsThe British Franchise Association are active in all areas of the franchise industry and have an inolvement in events, exhibitions and seminars.

Attending a one-day bfa franchisee workshop is an ideal way to learn more about the industry and hear from franchisees, franchisors, banking and legal professionals all brought together in one location for a real induction into franchising. Whether you are looking at investing in a franchise or growing your existing business, attending a workshop will help you to structure your research and identify the important strands which should make up the due diligence process. For information on bfa workshops, click here

BFA Membership

In joining the British Franchise Association,  Members, Associate and Full, commit themselves to comply with the terms of the following, policies and procedures as published by the Association:

  • The Code of Ethical Conduct
  • The Disciplinary Procedure
  • The Complaints Procedure
  • The Appeals Procedure

Members agree to comply with the Code of Advertising Practice as published by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Associate bfa Membership

With these checks in place on viability, franchisability, ethical and disclosed conduct, franchisors can be admitted to associate membership of the association, providing also that they commit themselves to abide by the Advertising Standards Authority's code of practice and also to the association's own complaints and disciplinary, appeals and re-accreditation rules.

BFA Full Member LogoFull bfa Membership

To become full British Franchise Association members, franchisors must meet one more objective. A proven trading and franchising record: The length of time a franchised business has been in operation, and the changes in business and financial circumstances it must have survived before it can be said to be "established" will vary from sector to sector. The record of bfa full members on openings, withdrawals, and failures (if any), as well as their trading and financial performance, is subject to an initial assessment and periodic checks.

New entrants and Provisional bfa Listing

BFA Provisional Listing is available to businesses with a track record of at least one year, but which are new to or in the process of developing a franchised business. They will have their documentation, including the franchise agreement (which meets the European Code of Ethics), already prepared, and will be taking appropriate professional advice in the development of the franchise. Provisionally Listed companies commit to complying with the conditions of bfa membership and to work to achieving the standards for Associate Membership.

Natwest / BFA Franchise Survey

Each year, the British Franchise Association and NatWest Bank conduct the annual NatWest / bfa franchise survey that monitors the performance, attitudes and opinions of the franchise sector and builds up a larger picture of the contribution of franchising to the British economy.

A summary of the results of the 2008 Natwest / bfa franchise survey, click here

BFA Contact Details

British Franchise Association:

A2 Danebrook Court,
Oxford Office Village,
Langford Lane,

Tel: 01865 379892
Fax: 01865 379 946



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