Easiest way to understand the benefits/drawbacks of both options are:
Franchises will normally cost over $100,000 to start. You don't have flexibility in how you want your store to look or operate, and you will always pay a royalty to the original franchisee. The benefits are it's a business in a box and you can start tomorrow with very limited learning curve. You also have a support group of other franchise owners and hopefully the franchise founder if you run into trouble.
Self ops are cheaper to start and you'll never pay a royalty, but you are jumping in without a proven business process to follow. You also have complete control over the brand and the store experience.
IMO you'd need a REALLY SWEET franchise to convince me to open one, but I would consider it.