What are franchise keynote speakers talking about at online virtual events and live meetings or conferences as of late? As it turns out, quite a lot of topics, especially considering just how many dimensions are changing of the way in which many franchisors and franchisees currently tend to operate. That said, it’s not hard to get a sense of what you might hear at one of these programs, just by asking yourself several questions that franchise keynote speakers and futurists often put to their audiences. For example:

Will emerging franchise brands increasingly disrupt and take share from legacy players slower to adapt to changing consumer habits?

How could shifts towards e-commerce, virtual experiences, and delivery reshape physical franchise location designs and footprints?

How can franchises enhance cybersecurity, prevent hacking, and secure customer data as technology reliance increases risks?

What innovative approaches could franchisors take to help finance technology upgrades across franchisee locations?

How must franchisors update quality assurance programs as automation, AI, robotics, etc. reshape operational processes?

What risks arise from overstandardization if franchisors mandate technology adoption without considering local market differences?

How might blockchain, smart contracts, cryptocurrency and decentralized finance disrupt franchisor-franchisee financing and royalties?

What emerging technologies or capabilities may franchise consultants need to advise brands on implementing at scale?

How might shifting attitudes on issues like climate change, inequality, diversity, and automation impact employee recruiting for franchises?

What new platforms or business models could enable fractional franchise investments to expand access to capital?

How could franchises utilize AR/VR for recruiting, training, store design prototyping, and providing remote expert support, per top franchise keynote speakers and futurists?

What innovative approaches to supply chain management, distribution, and logistics could help optimize franchised operations?

How might mobile apps offering loyalty programs, convenience, personalization, and new engagement models benefit franchises?

What risks arise if franchisors mandate excessive standardization around branding, design, customer experience, etc.?

What technologies and capabilities seem essential for franchises to remain competitive in customer engagement as retail and commerce evolve?

How must franchise agreements evolve to provide clarity on technology usage rights, data ownership, IP protection, and digital assets?

What emerging tools like revenue management software, workforce management platforms, etc. could optimize multi-location operations?

How might shifting views around mass consumption, single-use plastics, supply chains, etc. impact franchised businesses?

How can franchises focus innovation on enhancing lives, building community, and creating positive impact vs. only driving growth?

What new platforms or business models might enable franchisors to license IP to third parties for complementary offerings?

How must franchisor field support, auditing, and management evolve as technologies reshape training, operations, and quality assurance?

What risks arise from overstandardization across locations if local tastes, demographics, and cultural nuances are ignored?

How can emerging technologies help franchises enhance productivity and efficiency to combat rising real estate costs and labor shortages?

What innovations in construction, furnishings, spatial layouts, and architectural designs could benefit franchised locations, at least in industry experts’ or franchise keynote speakers’ minds?

What risks arise if franchisors mandate technology like automation that reduces franchisee profitability or makes units unprofitable?

How can policymakers collaborate with franchising leaders to mitigate economic impacts like job losses from automation?

What new tech-enabled capabilities must franchisor headquarters have to support franchisees implementing innovations?

How can franchisors foster innovation and idea sharing across franchisee owners and staff to collectively benefit the brand?

What future technology disruptions to established industries seem most likely to enable new franchise opportunities?

How can franchisors proactively identify strategic changes needed to stay competitive as demographics, markets, and consumer habits evolve?

What new services, tools, and capabilities could emerging franchise consultants, field staff, technology vendors, etc. provide?

How can franchise agreements provide flexibility for innovation while protecting brand integrity as locations test out new concepts and technologies?

What risks arise if multi-unit franchisees scale too quickly without adequate staff and processes to maintain quality and consistency?

How might shifting attitudes on privacy, technology, inequality, automation, climate change, etc. impact employee and customer engagement?

What new technologies or capabilities could help franchises enhance personalized customer experiences across locations?

How must franchise training evolve as AR/VR simulation, mobile learning, microlearning, gamification and new technologies emerge?

What emerging cross-sector technologies like AI, blockchain, automation, drones, EVs, could transform wholesale distribution for franchises according to futurists and franchise keynote speakers?

How can policymakers collaborate with franchising leaders to provide equitable opportunities as technologies disrupt industries?

What emerging technologies seem overhyped in the near-term for most franchise industries and locations? What merits more R&D before adoption?

Overall, are you excited or worried about the pace of technology change and its potential impacts on franchising in the coming decades?