Overestimation and Venture Survival: An Empirical Analysis of Development Commitments in International Master Franchising Ventures
Many international master franchising contracts include “development commitments,” clauses specifying a number of units that master franchisees must develop in exchange for exclusive rights to an assigned market, typically their entire home nation. I analyze 142 contracts with development commitments signed by US fast food franchisors and their master franchisees. Several empirical regularities emerge from the analysis: First, the development commitments are large and rarely completely fulfilled. Second, a robust negative relationship exists between survival and development commitment size. Further, ventures with larger commitments exhibit a lower level of investment still productive at the end of the development period. Various explanations for these regularities are considered.