Franchisors may be generally positive about business conditions in the coming year, but there are worries about access to finance and franchisee sales levels, according to a July quarterly survey.

They also expect franchisee operating costs to be higher in the next 12 months, the Franchising Confidence Index survey showed.

Graeme Tait, managing director of New Zealand-owned Columbus Coffee – supreme award winner of the Westpac franchise system of the year – said business remained a challenge.

“We’re not confident that sales will increase by 5 per cent, for example. I think we’re going to be fighting hard to retain the customers we’ve got in a tough environment.”

Owner-operators would have to “do a damn fine job” competing with 6000 others in the cafe segment. “We’ve been doing that for the last two years, so from our point of view, it’s business as usual, and we just hope at the end the work we do will bear fruit when things loosen up a bit.” More.