I'd like to know what franchise meas as a verb in the following sentence:
Catering in this school has been franchised to the company.
The native speakers I consulted, both American, don't seem very sure of its meaning.
I know the verb typically means (of a large company like McDonald's) to permit an individual or a smaller company to sell products or offer services in its name. But in the example above, I can hardly imagine a large "catering company" sold the right to sell its products in a school to a smaller company. Perhaps this is because I haven't heard of catering companies in connection with franchise agreements in my country. Could it be that it means the authority of the school gave permission to a company to provide catering? Could 'outsource' be used in this context to replace 'franchise'?