Using the plural form helps franchised chains cope with the four ‘franchising imperatives’—system growth, chain uniformity, local responsiveness, and systemwide adaptation. Yet, despite the obvious importance of chain composition, empirical research on synergies in the plural form is largely absent, and insights on performance implications of the plural form are equally scarce. Consequently, with detailed data from 122 chains, this paper provides what is ostensibly the first in-depth examination of the prevalence and performance effects of synergies that franchisors actually achieve by using the plural form. The study concludes with managerial implications for governance design in franchised chains. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.