One real-world, non-contractual protection: As a collective group, franchisees have a lot of power. You are in a position where you have to trust the franchise company to do the right thing by you in the future. Unfortunately, you are not going to get all of the protections you might like in the franchise agreement, and that can make people uneasy.
However, always keep in mind that you do have one very important real world protection, safety against arbitrary or capricious behaviour of the franchise company. If they are out of line, they are not only hurting you, but hurting all of the franchisees. As a collective group, franchisees have "power of the purse" over the franchisor, since virtually all of a franchise company's revenue comes from its franchisees.
Most franchise companies recognise this checks-and-balances factor, and the smart ones actively seek franchisee support with important and potentially expensive decisions, such as elected advisory councils, regional meetings and national conventions. As a new franchisee, you may not feel like you have much power, but more experienced franchisees will be protecting their own interests (and by extension, yours), so learn from them and follow their lead when appropriate.Now is a great time to consider a franchise business, as long as you are careful and deliberate in the process of selecting the right franchise for you. Part of this process involves understanding the ins and outs of the franchise agreement contract, and how to proceed to become the next great franchise success story.