The push to partner veterans with franchise opportunities is one of the biggest movements in franchising. Still, I hadn't a decisive history of the movement until I came across the most recent cover story in Franchise Times magazine. It is a must-read for anyone looking to understand the phenemenom of veterans in franchising.
According to reporter Beth Ewen, the movement of vets in franchising goes back to around 1991 and Don Dwyer Sr, head of the Dwyer Group, who with the help of a few other franchising chiefs started VetFran. You'll remember that the Gulf War has just come to an end. It was one of the biggest military efforts from America since the Vietnam War and now many soldiers were seeking new career. Dwyer Sr. and the original VetFran founders sensed quite obviously that these men and women whose success in the military hinged directly on their ability to take orders while working independently would thrive within the structures of franchising.
Eleven years and two large wars later, America's veteran population is facing an even greater challenge. According to VetFran head and Marines vet Mary Kennedy Thompson, 200,000 veterans enter civilian life every year. That number is expected to shoot up an extra 100,000 next year.
What's most satisfying though, is that the numbers of franchises participating in VetFran only increases. There are currently "more than 450 business" participating, up from 300 last year. There's much more information on the history of veterans in franchising, and some interviews with franchisees themselves. We strongly recommend this great story.