It’s a common misunderstanding that businesses with many locations are all franchises. In fact, many of the places you frequent on a daily basis are NOT franchises at all, but corporate-owned and operated stores. For example, FedEx/Kinkos, The Gap, Red Lobster and yes, even Starbucks are NOT franchises. These are all large companies that operate many outlets through a typical corporate structure – kind of like Wal-Mart. But please don’t tell Howard Schultz I put Starbucks and Wal-Mart in the same bucket.

Eric Stites is the founder of Franchise Business Review, a franchise research firm based in Kittery, Maine. Send any franchise related questions to member nickname FranchiseGuy.

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