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Franchises Wanted: Secondary Markets Open Doors for Businesses Seeking Expansion After Remote Work Surge

The rise of remote work in the wake of the pandemic has spurred a significant shift in consumer behavior, particularly in the realm of dining preferences. Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this trend, as remote workers seek convenient and high-quality dining options in their new locales. This article delves into the burgeoning opportunities for QSR franchises in secondary markets, exploring increased demand, target market dynamics, expansion potential, and essential considerations for success.

Opportunity for QSR Franchising

Increased Demand

The rise in remote work has sparked a trend of professionals relocating to secondary markets in search of an improved quality of life. This migration presents a promising opportunity for QSR franchises. With remote workers enjoying higher disposable incomes and seeking convenient dining options, they emerge as a lucrative customer base craving quality meals on the go.

Demographic Changes

There is clear evidence of shifting demographics as professionals opt to relocate to suburban and secondary city areas, facilitated by the flexibility of remote work.

Fact: Between February 2020 and February 2021, a staggering 14.7 million Americans made the move, signifying a notable 5.1% increase in migration compared to pre-pandemic levels. Notably, the majority of movers fall within the younger age bracket of 25-44 and possess higher education qualifications, aligning closely with the demographic profile of remote workers. Additionally, there is a growing presence of families with young children among those choosing to relocate.

Specific Examples

Fast-Casual Concepts

QSR franchises specializing in fast-casual dining experiences are well-suited to meet the needs of remote workers seeking quick and satisfying meals. Customizable menus, fresh ingredients, and streamlined service are key selling points for these concepts, appealing to busy professionals looking for a delicious and convenient dining option.

Mobile Ordering and Delivery

Investing in mobile ordering and delivery capabilities is essential for QSR franchises looking to capitalize on the remote work trend. By offering seamless online ordering and delivery services, franchises can cater to the busy schedules of remote workers, providing them with convenient access to their favorite meals wherever they are.

Considerations for QSR Franchises

Targeted Marketing

Develop marketing campaigns that specifically target professionals considering relocation or already settled in desirable locations. Highlight the unique benefits and offerings of your franchise that resonate with this demographic.

Adapting Models

To cater to the preferences of remote workers, franchises must evolve their operational models by prioritizing services such as delivery, online ordering, and flexible operating hours. By focusing on convenience and accessibility, franchises can effectively attract and retain customers within this burgeoning market segment.

A key determinant of success for both franchisors and franchisees lies in demonstrating adaptability and fostering local economic growth. This entails sourcing ingredients and products from local suppliers whenever feasible and integrating 10-20% locally unique offerings into their menus. Such initiatives not only support the community but also enhance the brand’s appeal and relevance in the market

Attracting Qualified Franchisees

Focus on recruiting franchisees who understand the target market and align with the lifestyle preferences of remote workers. Seek individuals who are passionate about the brand and can effectively cater to the needs of the local community.

Location Strategy

Utilizing data and analytics to grasp the distinctive needs and preferences of each target market is indispensable. This understanding empowers franchises to fine-tune their offerings and marketing strategies effectively, guaranteeing maximum appeal and relevance to local customers. Prioritizing strategic locations in secondary markets with substantial populations of remote workers is essential for QSR success. Franchises should focus on areas distinguished by dense residential communities, bustling office complexes, and vibrant commercial hubs to maximize both visibility and foot traffic.

Menu Innovation

Regularly updating and innovating the menu to align with evolving consumer preferences is imperative for QSR franchises. Providing a diverse array of options, including healthy choices and dietary accommodations, not only appeals to a wider customer base but also fosters loyalty and repeat business.

Moreover, incorporating local ingredients sourced from nearby farmers enables QSR franchises to establish a meaningful connection with the community while demonstrating a commitment to promoting local agriculture.

Operational Efficiency

Efficiency is paramount in the QSR industry, particularly in secondary markets where demand may fluctuate. Franchises should focus on streamlining operations, optimizing workflow, and leveraging technology to enhance speed and accuracy while maintaining high-quality standards.

Work-life balance benefits

Highlight the work-life balance benefits your franchise offers for potential franchisees, emphasizing flexibility and autonomy in managing their business.


The surge in remote work has opened up a golden opportunity for QSR franchises to expand into secondary markets and cater to the shifting dining preferences of remote workers. By prioritizing convenience, quality, local community engagement, and innovation, QSRs can establish a profitable foothold in these emerging territories, driving growth and success in the dynamic landscape of quick-service dining.

Embracing technology, adapting to local tastes, active community involvement, and maintaining operational efficiency will serve as critical strategies for QSR franchises aiming to thrive in this rapidly evolving environment.

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