Serving it up: Jonathan Langmead, Pizza Hut franchisee

Serving it up: Jonathan Langmead, Pizza Hut franchisee

Linda Whitney,  of the Daily Mail in London writes that Fast food franchises may be recession proof
and doing well out of the recession, as people abandon expensive dining in favour of cheaper options.
If you want to set up in the fastfood or coffee shop business, getting in with a franchise is certainly easier than setting up alone.

Many well-known High Street names are franchises, so you start with the benefit of a known brand. Location is vital for success, so look for franchisors who help you to choose a good site.

‘We retain a property agent who is continually looking for suitable sites in towns and cities, where there is good footfall,’ says Robin Stenhouse of Baguette Express, the franchised fast-food chain that is looking for more franchisees with £75,000 to £115,000 to invest.

‘We can sometimes obtain rental discounts and rent-free periods,’ says Mr Stenhouse.

You do not need experience of the food industry for most fast-food franchises, but you will need good commercial skills.

‘You need vision and drive to take the business to a higher level,’ says Sanjiv Razdan of Pizza Hut.’

Fast food is an industry with tight margins and high standards, so you need an eye for detail. ‘You need to keep a sharp eye on the finances, customer response and timings,’ says Mr Razdan, whose franchisees aim to deliver to customers within 30 minutes of their telephone order.

‘There is a reduced risk for prospective franchisees because banks are more willing to lend to support a venture with a successful brand,’ says Clair Preston Beer of the Costa coffee shop franchise, which is looking for more franchisees with £200,000.

‘You must be able to handle a fastpaced environment and be a multitasker,’ says Callum Davies, who has brought New Zealand’s established Hell Pizza franchise to the UK.

The Hell-themed outlets sell pizzas such as the Cursed and the Damned. The £160,000 investment includes help finding premises, plus fitting-out and training.

Not all fast-food franchises involve investing in premises. Franchisees with The Phat Pasty Company run a mobile food service, selling freshbaked pasties and snacks from vans equipped with in-built ovens.

You start by working from home, and once the business grows, employ drivers. Because you work from home at the start, the initial investment is low, at £22,500,’ says franchisor Paul Clark, who is looking for franchisees all over the UK.

Case study

Jonathan Langmead has just taken over as franchisee of the Pizza Hut takeaway outlet in Wrexham, Wales, with a business partner.

‘We chose Pizza Hut because the fast-food industry is doing well at present compared with most sectors,’ says Jonathan, 33, a qualified accountant.

He had no experience in the food industry, but Pizza Hut encouraged him to work in an outlet first. ‘The hours are long, and you must be open at weekends and late evenings,’ he says. Jonathan is already looking to open a second outlet, in Blackpool.

He advises: ‘Ask what help you get from the franchisor in finding good locations. Pizza Hut has devoted lots of time finding possible sites for our next outlet.’

This is Money, The Daily Mail