Opening a franchise location for a retailer can be incredibly lucrative – you already have brand recognition and trust in place, plus many franchise opportunities come with the support you need to open your store and keep it running.
International grocery chain Aldi would be an incredible opportunity for a franchisee, even in the crowded supermarket industry.
But is Aldi a franchise and can you open your own Aldi store and become part of the Aldi family and brand? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Aldi a Franchise?
Aldi is not a franchise, nor does it offer franchising opportunities. Aldi is a privately held company, and in addition to the company not operating franchises, it cannot be publicly traded. Thus, the only people who can profit from Aldi’s successful business model are its owners, the Albrecht family.
If you’d like to learn a little history on the Albrecht family, why you won’t be opening an Aldi franchise any time soon, and which food mart-type chains do offer franchising opportunities, keep reading for all the details!
Who Owns Aldi?
Before discussing why Aldi isn’t a franchise, it’s important to understand a bit about the company’s history, as it has a direct impact.
Aldi was founded – and is still owned today – by the Albrecht family, from Essen, Germany.
The Albrecht family matriarch opened a small grocery store in 1913; her two sons took over just after World War II, when much of Germany was just starting to rebuild itself.
Realizing that most people didn’t have a lot of money to spend, Theo and Karl embraced a bare-bones, no-frills business model, which allowed them to price their goods as low as possible. Sound familiar?
Less than a decade later, they had opened over 100 stores in Germany. By the 1960s Albrecht Discount stores had been rebranded as Aldi (Al + Di), but the brothers diverged on whether or not to sell cigarettes.
This led to Aldi Sud, which is the Aldi chain operating in the US today, and Aldi Nord, which expanded to the US through a California grocery chain that we know as Trader Joe’s.
In the 1970s Theo, who ran Aldi Nord, was kidnapped. He was released after the family paid a $3 million ransom, but this jarring incident led the already-private family to close ranks even further. Various sources refer to them as “reclusive.”
The family almost never grants interviews, and until some recent scandals broke in the press, almost nothing was known about the family and their fortune.
Why Isn’t Aldi A Franchise?
With this philosophy toward fame and even money – despite being worth billions, both sides of the family are largely known for frugality and for shunning the spotlight – it’s not surprising that Aldi Sud and Aldi Nord both remain privately held companies.
Because of this, Aldi stores in the US cannot and will not be franchised (nor traded publicly on the US stock exchange), and unfortunately, entrepreneurs who would love to get a piece of the Aldi pie will have to pursue some other avenue of franchising, at least for the foreseeable future.
If you still want to be part of the Aldi company and think you have what it takes to run a store, you might consider applying for a management position. While you are beholden to Aldi’s corporate office, you are guaranteed excellent pay and benefits.
What Stores Franchise Instead Of Aldi?
While very few grocery chains with the brand recognition of the Aldi franchise, there are other food mart-type companies out there that do offer franchising opportunities.
7-Eleven, for example, will get you started with an upfront fee of $31,000, plus other opening expenses. The company provides training, business advising, administrative support, and even advertising.
Circle K is another food mart/convenience store with franchising opportunities and a robust support system in place to help entrepreneurs succeed.
Their site touts the Circle K support team, proprietary products, construction design, training, and brand recognition.
What Stores Are Publicly Traded Instead of Aldi?
The ultra-low-cost grocery business model is highly profitable, as Aldi has shown, but if franchising isn’t your thing, you can still invest in similar grocery chains that are publicly traded.
Liberatedstocktrader.com suggests investing in Aldi’s competitors, like Kroger, Walmart, and Costco.
While Aldi is not a franchise and does not offer these opportunities, due to its history as a privately owned company, you don’t have to miss out on food mart franchising or even stock investments with Aldi’s competition.