The Year In Franchising: Reflecting On 2021, And Anticipating 2022

Over the past two years, the world has changed in ways it never has before, and the franchise industry is no exception. It has taken a while, but following the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2022 is positioned to be a massive year for franchise development and sales growth. First, as we wrap up 2021, let’s take a look back at how the franchise industry has adapted to the ups and downs of the past year.

2021: A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Following the unprecedented challenges of 2020, this year saw a steady return of in-person events and the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. Several people and industries started to see a much-anticipated comeback and recovery in the beginning of 2021.

There were certainly still some challenges for franchisors especially on the retail and restaurant side. This included geographic limitations, where certain areas were still heavily locked down and others weren’t, forcing some restaurants to operate without full indoor dining and some retail stores to operate with restricted capacity.

As the year progressed, more people became comfortable with traveling and spent more money at businesses. It also made it more challenging for businesses in certain industries to satisfy this pent-up demand successfully due to complicated in-person requirements. Additionally, business owners have had to adapt their operations to combat the ongoing labor shortage, resulting staffing issues, supply chain interruptions and product shipment delays.

Much has changed for the foreseeable future, there’s no doubt. That said, in 2021 franchise brands have continued to rise above the challenges and seen growth in their systems overall.

2022: An Opportunity for Franchising to Emerge Stronger Than Ever

2022 will likely be a tremendous year for the franchise industry as a whole with a majority of individual brands set to prosper both in terms of system wide sales and franchise development. Many franchisors have been reporting increased sales in 2021, and there is no reason to believe that trend is going to change in 2022. Additionally, the International Franchise Association predicts franchise development is also on the rise with 26,000 franchised locations expected to be added in 2021 and franchise employment projected to grow by more than 10% to nearly 8.3 million workers.

The sector that is positioned better than any other is home services. With more people spending increased time at home and saving money on travel, the demand for home services and home improvement has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic. As a result, more and more savvy entrepreneurs are recognizing the uniquely lucrative opportunity to enter the home services space.

Some of the other trends that will likely continue in the franchise industry include prospects investing in concepts sight-unseen. Candidates are more comfortable now meeting online than ever before, and development teams have learned how to adapt and appeal to a prospect’s comfort level.

Technology, of course, has also brought on several changes to the industry. Whether it was Zoom meetings, curbside pickup or QR codes, these new digital tools have helped businesses get by and drastically changed the landscape of the industry. These will all continue to be a huge trend in 2022 as brands adapt to challenges including the evolving workforce and supply chain issues.

Overall, it has been a long and difficult time, but the franchise industry has made it through to the other side. Now, as more and more people look to take control of their destiny through entrepreneurship and customers return to their pre-pandemic habits, it is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the franchise industry.

I am Steve Beagelman, Founder and CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors. In 1991 I co-founded Black Tie Express, a multi-restaurant delivery service.

Source: The Year In Franchising: Reflecting On 2021, And Anticipating 2022

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Hybrid Work Needs Cloud PCs, Not VDI

A look at the differences between virtual desktops and cloud desktops, and why businesses need a fresh, cloud-native approach as hybrid working conditions continue to become the norm. With more people working remotely for the foreseeable future, the corporate network’s ability to protect assets has significantly eroded.

There’s been an explosion of commentary in recent months about the “future of work,” and much of it has reinforced a few key themes: most enterprises will embrace hybrid models in which more work is done outside the office, and to do so, they’ll leverage cloud technologies to make corporate assets and workflows available from anywhere on any device.

This is all fairly straightforward at a high level, but moving a bit closer to specific companies and specific business decisions, things can be more complicated. Specifically, for many organizations, the difference between virtual desktops and cloud desktops will be crucial.

I’ve seen this tension firsthand, having worked for years in both the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) space and the more recently-emerged market for Cloud PCs. Let’s look at the differences between the two and why only the latter is suitable for enterprises’ needs, both today and in the future.

Legacy VDI: Like using a horse-drawn carriage instead of a fleet of supersonic trains

Legacy VDI usually involves an enterprise running Windows in its own data center so it can provide remote access to workers. This solves the problem of making enterprise resources securely available outside the office, but that’s just about all it solves.

Many organizations rely heavily on Windows frameworks, not only for applications but also security, authentication, and overall workflows. In the pre-pandemic world, this was fine because most employees came into the office, logged onto the corporate network, and received updates to keep their devices secure. But with more people working remotely for the foreseeable future, the corporate network’s ability to protect assets has significantly eroded.

Moreover, many of the people working from home need Windows but have moved to other endpoints, such as Chromebooks. This is especially true for personal devices, and it’s quite common for work-from-home employees to use their preferred devices for professional tasks at least some of the time. As a result, securing a company-issued machine isn’t helpful if hybrid or remote employees are going to access enterprise resources from other endpoints.

The IT challenge is thus to support machines not only outside the corporate network but also outside traditional PCs. Some kind of remote desktop is obviously part of the solution, but most existing approaches cannot match the scale of this challenge.

Legacy VDI usually involves an enterprise running Windows in its own data center so it can provide remote access to workers. This solves the problem of making enterprise resources securely available outside the office, but that’s just about all it solves.

VDIs require a lot of IT resources to maintain—another potentially significant problem, given that most CEOs want their technical talent focused on strategic projects, not IT curation.

Physics can’t be cheated, so the farther workers are from that single data center, the worse latency and performance become. For example, let’s say a few years ago, a small group of contractors or remote employees needed access but were relatively close to the home office, so this wasn’t a big problem. However, as the number of users grew and their distance from the office increased, legacy VDI fell flat, offering slow, productivity-killing performance.

This situation, as unhelpful as it is, doesn’t even take into account that VDIs require a lot of IT resources to maintain—another potentially significant problem, given that most CEOs want their technical talent focused on strategic projects, not IT curation.quintex-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-768x114-1-1-2-1-1-4-1-2-2-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1

Because of these limitations of legacy on-premises VDIs, a variety of alternatives have emerged, but few of them meet the core demands for scalability, performance, and manageability. For instance, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings are often just a VDI in a managed service provider’s (MSP) data center.

This doesn’t solve the challenge of scaling remote resources up or down as the workforce changes, and depending on the MSP’s geographic footprint, may not do much to address performance concerns either.

Even running VDI in a top public cloud is not the panacea it may seem. When it comes to managing a VDI, it’s just like legacy VDI, only with hardware maintained by someone else. This means that if a business wants to extend remote access to workers in new regions, it will need to duplicate its VDI solution into those regions.

So while this approach may not require the same capital expenses as on-premises VDI, in terms of IT resources required for ongoing management, it is still costly and onerous.

How are Cloud PCs different?

Rather than attempting to retrofit legacy VDI for today’s landscape, businesses need a fresh, cloud-native approach—a Cloud PC.

By cloud-native, I mean a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model defined by the following:

  • Elastic scale and flexible pricing: New Cloud PCs can be spun up as needed in less than an hour, without the traditionally lengthy and complex provisioning processes, and enterprises only pay for the resources they use. Just as the number of Cloud PCs can be scaled up or down as needed, so too can the underlying compute and storage resources. This gives the Cloud PC more potential power for intense and complicated tasks, compared to running the OS locally on each machine, let alone compared to legacy VDI.
  • Up-to-date security, low latency, and global availability: Because SaaS services are always connected to the network, they always offer the most-up-to-date security resources, and because Cloud PCs can be deployed on public cloud networks in the region closest to each user, latency is a non-issue.
  • Comprehensive visibility: Because the OS runs in the cloud, IT can monitor usage for security and insights. Moreover, if an employee logs in with their own device, rather than a corporate-issued machine, the SaaS model keeps a clean separation between personal and corporate data, which allows for end point flexibility without sacrificing security or employee privacy.
  • Multicloud compatibility: Some workloads run better on some clouds than others, and this relationship is not necessarily static over time, so enterprises need the flexibility to optimize and update their Cloud PC deployments over time based on their business requirements, employee preferences, and the strengths of different providers.

genesis3-2-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1Rather than simply shifting the legacy model to the cloud without any real modernization or improvement, the Cloud PC approach reimagines what a remote desktop experience is and how it should be delivered. As hybrid working conditions continue to become the norm, the enterprises that choose the more forward-looking options now will be poised for success as their workplace models continue to evolve for years to come.

Learn how Workspot deploys cloud desktops at scale in minutes with Compute Engine.

Amitabh Sinha is CEO at Workspot. Amitabh has more than 20 years of experience across enterprise software, end user computing, mobile, and database software.

Source: Hybrid Work Needs Cloud PCs, Not VDI

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This article “Hybrid workplace” is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Hybrid workplace. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

Meet Skimpflation: A Reason Inflation Is Worse Than The Government Says It Is Planet Money

All is not so happy at the happiest place on Earth. The guests of the Magic Kingdom are restless. Despite reopening more than six months ago, Disney World and Disneyland have yet to restart their tram services to and from parking lots, forcing visitors to walk nearly a mile to enter and exit the parks. Some Disney fans are acting as though the company is a kind of greedy Cruella de Vil, willing to slaughter cute puppies and turn them into coats for a profit.

“Customer service is gone at Disney,” says commenter James E. on Facebook. “It’s all about maximizing profit now.””They haven’t brought back the trams because it’s saving Disney money!” writes Daniel P. “Trams need to be driven by multiple drivers.”

It’s all about “GREED,” says Harry Z. “It has nothing to do with COVID at this point.” A couple of weeks ago, amid mounting online fury over Disney’s transportation issues, the company announced it was finally reopening its famous monorail system. But, the company said, its trams to and from parking lots will remain idle for the foreseeable future.

What’s happening in the Magic Kingdom is happening across the entire economy. Domino’s is taking longer to deliver pizzas. Airlines are putting customers who call them on hold for hours. Restaurants, bars and hotels are understaffed and stretched thin. The quality of service seems to be deteriorating everywhere.

We’ve all heard about rising inflation. The price of stuff is going up. And if you read this newsletter, you’ve heard of shrinkflation. That’s when the price of stuff stays the same, but the amount you get goes down. The economywide decline in service quality that we’re now seeing is something different, and it doesn’t have a good name. It’s a situation where we’re paying the same or more for services, but they kinda suck compared with what they used to be.

We propose a new word to describe this stealth-ninja kind of inflation: skimpflation. It’s when, instead of simply raising prices, companies skimp on the goods and services they provide.

Skimping has a derogatory connotation, and, we should note, not all companies are Cruella de Vil or Scrooge McDuck. Many businesses, especially small businesses, are struggling to cope with surging costs and pandemic-related expenses. They’re having a hard time finding workers at the wages they used to pay. And some businesses may be unable to afford paying what it takes to recruit workers in the current environment. Nonetheless, whether it’s because they can’t afford to, they don’t want to or they’re being greedy, instead of enticing workers with higher wages, many businesses are cutting back on the quality of their services in order to stay profitable. And the Oxford dictionary definition of the word “skimp” seems to fit what they’re doing: “Expend or use less time, money, or material on something than is necessary in an attempt to economize.”

While it may lurk in the shadows, make no mistake: Skimpflation is a form of inflation. As with normal inflation, it means we’re getting less for our money. And some argue the government is failing to properly account for this kind of inflation when crunching official statistics.

The inflation awakening of Alan Cole

Alan Cole first woke up to what we’re calling skimpflation this summer. He was on a road trip, driving from his home in Washington, D.C., to Vermont to see his family. It was during those glorious weeks when most of us were vaccinated and life seemed to be rocketing back to normal. You know, before the delta variant put that to a screeching halt.

“And I was on the New Jersey Turnpike, and I went through rest stops. And I noticed little things that were off,” Cole says. Stores had spotty hours. Napkin, utensil and condiment dispensers were empty. Fast-food restaurants weren’t fast. He could see Help Wanted signs everywhere. “The rest stops were struggling to keep up the same level of service that they had before.”

On his way back from Vermont, he stayed at a hotel in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The morning after his stay, he woke up to a “sad and pitiful” breakfast that consisted of a plastic-wrapped, mass-produced pastry, prepackaged Raisin Bran and lukewarm milk. The hotel was now skimping on its hot-breakfast buffet as well as maid service for guests who stayed for more than one night. This, Cole realized, was happening across the entire economy — and he began to think the government wasn’t fully capturing the decline of quality in official statistics.

Cole was formerly a senior economist at the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, where he used to advise Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and write official economic reports. These days he’s a writer at Full Stack Economics. For most of his economics career, he says, he had believed that official government statistics actually made inflation seem worse than it really was. He had thought they didn’t fully capture improvements in the quality of products and services when quantifying changes in prices.

For example, a couple of decades ago, you had to fork over a lot of money to buy physical albums if you were a music lover. Now you can use Spotify and listen to basically every album ever recorded in history for free or a low monthly fee. Some products, like electric skateboards, didn’t even exist in the recent past. The government tries to capture such innovations and product improvements with a process called “hedonic quality adjustment.”

But Cole believed that the government, while accounting for quality improvements, still failed to capture how much better products and services were getting. He didn’t believe it was some sort of Illuminati conspiracy of Satan-worshipping pedophiles juicing the statistics. It’s just super-hard to systematically account for changes in quality when measuring changes in prices. How do you gauge the priceless improvements to our lives brought about by things like Google’s search algorithm, the Onewheel electric skateboard or baguette slippers?

Mismeasuring inflation has important implications. For example, it’s common to hear people argue that the real, or inflation-adjusted, wage of the typical American worker has stagnated in recent decades. But if the government has been overstating inflation in its statistics, this means American workers’ paychecks actually go further and living standards have gotten better than official statistics say.

“I thought that the world was getting better, faster than our official statistics would suggest because product quality was getting better,” Cole says. “That’s what I was saying for a decade — and I would have been saying it longer, but I’m not that old.”

But while he was eating that pitiful hotel breakfast, it hit him that the inverse was now happening. Instead of failing to capture improvements in the quality of products and services in economic statistics, the government was now failing to fully factor in deterioration in quality. In other words, the official statistics aren’t showing how bad inflation actually is. Hotel prices, for example, may be the same or higher than before, yet hotels are skimping on the services they used to provide. “We’re getting less for our money,” Cole says. “And that’s fundamentally what inflation is all about.”

You could chalk this all up to the pandemic and a slow adjustment to normal. And, Cole says, we should cut leaders and businesses some slack as they try to fix a difficult situation. That said, we’re now approaching two years of this pandemic, and, he says, it’s time to try to account for quality degradation — aka skimpflation — in the service sector.

Cole points to official government statistics that now say the economy — adjusted for standard inflation — is bigger and more productive than it was in 2019. “That kind of suggests that the goods and services we’re consuming now are better than they were before the pandemic,” Cole says. “And I don’t think that’s true.”

For their part, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department say the weird, inflationary economy we’re seeing right now is transitory. And they’re probably right. We’re just hoping that the visitors to Disneyland and everyone else irked by skimpflation get their fairy tale ending soon.

By:

Source: Meet skimpflation: A reason inflation is worse than the government says it is : Planet Money : NPR

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(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).

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