A franchise (also known as symbol group) is a form of business where the brand holder allow the brands use, by a franchisee. The franchisee takes the financial income from the business where as the franchise owner, guarantees that the franchisee only sells its products, thereby generating profits from the wholesale of goods the the franchisee. In order to maintain the value of the brand the brand owner will ask that certain levels of standard are maintained.
Franchises and licensed brands are generally used by the major Motorway Services operators in order to maximise profits. Therefore the majority of the outlets in motorways services are not actually who the general public think they are, they're just the operation of the service operator. When they first started, Extra insisted that they would keep costs down by not using franchises, but this doesn't appear to have been followed through.
They are also used on A-road services although generally restricted to the forecourt shop.