Economic Times:

Franchising as business concept:
To all of us as consumers, a McDonald’s or a KFC or a Café Coffee Day for that matter in India, or abroad largely look the same. Yet beneath this layer of similarity reside 2 entirely different organizations – the invisible company that owns the Brand, and the company that operates the visible outlet- the franchise.
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Franchising is a term that defines the business relationship between two organizations where a franchisor, who is the owner of a brand name, product, or system of a business, permits a franchisee to use its brand, product, or business process for a fee. At a conceptual level franchising is a method of marketing and distribution, and organizations use franchising as a method of growth and development.

Carry on reading: History of Franchising.