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franchise, in government, a right specifically conferred on a group or individual by a government, especially the privilege conferred by a municipality on a corporation of operating public utilities, such as electricity, telephone, and bus services. Franchises may not be revoked without the consent of the grantee unless so stipulated in the contract. They may, however, be forfeited by the grantee's violation of terms, and the government may take back granted rights by eminent domain proceedings with tender of just compensation. Franchise provisions usually include tenure; compensation to the grantor; the services, rates, and extensions; labor and strike regulations; capitalization; and reversion to the grantor.

The term franchise also refers to a type of business in which a group or individual receives a license from a corporation to conduct a commercial enterprise. Corporate franchises enable a franchisee to market a well-known product or service in return for an initial fee and a percentage of gross receipts. The franchiser usually provides assistance with merchandising and advertising. Major franchise networks, which have grown rapidly in the United States since the 1960s, include fast-food restaurants, gasoline stations, motels, automobile dealerships, and real-estate agencies, and the system has expanded into many other fields.

In politics, the franchise is the right conferred on an individual to vote. In the United States, the states, with some restrictions by the U.S. Constitution, govern the qualifications of voters. By the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments, states were forbidden to deny suffrage to male residents over 21 years of age “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The Nineteenth Amendment conferred suffrage upon women, and the Twenty-sixth Amendment lowered the voting age to 18. See voting.


See C. Williamson, American Suffrage from Property to Democracy, 1760–1860 (1960, repr. 1968); C. L. Vaughn, Franchising (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


1. the right to vote, esp for representatives in a legislative body; suffrage
2. any exemption, privilege, or right granted to an individual or group by a public authority, such as the right to use public property for a business
3. Commerce authorization granted by a manufacturing enterprise to a distributor to market the manufacturer's products
4. the full rights of citizenship
5. Films a film that is or has the potential to be part of a series and lends itself to merchandising
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
They are all systems that granted their first franchise in Portugal between 1988 and 1990 and operate a small number of franchised units -- between one and ten.
This campaign aims to help all involved in franchising--franchisors and franchisees--by working to ensure that the marketing environment for franchised businesses remain strong now and in the future.
"More women, African Americans and Latinos are climbing the entrepreneurial ladder that is self-employment and realizing the advantages of becoming franchised small-business owners," said International Franchise Association (IFA) President Matthew Shay.
Subject to certain terms and conditions, we will provide up to $125,000 in incentives for a new, converted, or relicensed midscale brand hotel or $50,000 for a similarly franchised economy brand hotel.
Local professionals with a background in business or education operate these franchised centers.
There are 332 franchised restaurants in the system, compared to 120 company-operated units.
To their credit, the drafters decided to narrow the scope of the model to distribution franchises through which manufacturers or suppliers of products sell them through franchised retail outlets.
There are approximately 320,000 franchised small businesses operating in the U.S., collectively accounting for an estimated $1 trillion in retail sales annually.
In determining whether to act, franchise systems should consider the importance of maintaining the franchised location and be willing to give the necessary time to repair the situation.
Savvy investors, especially the ones who recognize the opportunities provided by the nation's emerging markets, continue to find almost unlimited entrepreneurial opportunities in the franchised business sector.
To date, purchases of franchised businesses by former military personnel have surpassed 1,370 and 222 others are in negotiation.