A taste of the high life (Daily Mail franchise story)

A taste of the high life

By: Linda Whitney

FAST food and coffee shop franchises might sound like a cast-iron business idea, but you can’t just open a High Street outlet and wait for profits to come rolling in.

Tony Urwin, of consultancy firm Franchise Development Services, says: ‘Success depends on location, cost control and brand quality.

But prime locations are vital.’ ‘With the wrong location, you will not succeed,’ confirms Peter Kirton of Esquires Coffee Houses.

To help ensure its new businesses do not flop, the firm uses commercial property agents to find locations and offers a variety of formats to franchisees, such as small coffee carts from £30,000, shopping mall sites at £170,000, and full-scale coffee houses at more than £200,000.

But as well as the investment, you will often be expected to recruit your own staff — decisions that could make or break your venture.

‘You must be good at inspiring and leading staff. You have to motivate your team,’ says Adrian Ayres of Puccino’s, which offers espresso bar franchises from £45,000 up to fully licensed coffee bar restaurants at more than £100,000.

However, even if you get the premises and the right staff, you will then have to convince the franchisor that you are good enough to use its trade name — especially the major fast-food firms — as they are sticklers about standards.

O’Briens Irish Sandwich Bars even insists that potential franchisees spend time working in an existing outlet before they can invest the £150,000 required.

Simon Wallis, of £170,000 pizza outlet Papa John’s, says: ‘Monthly mystery shops are done and a digital image of the pizza is sent to our world headquarters in Kentucky, where product experts — often including founder John Schnatter — score it against strict criteria.’ Setting up fast-food franchises can be very expensive because of the equipment and space involved.

Burger King range from £ 200,000 for a food court kiosk to more than £ 550,000 for a drive- through, while a McDonald’s costs from £ 150,000. B UT there are other ways in. New franchise Bikecaffe offers a tricyclebased mobile hot drinks service at £12,500, which you can use to follow large crowds into events such as festivals.

Some of the more unusual franchises include Wok2Go, a Chinese takeaway that includes Oriental cooking training in the £80,000-plus investment, and with Mahmoods you can open a halal fast-food outlet from £100,000.

Esquires 020 7251 5166, Puccino’s 0845 872 3313, O’Brien’s 020 8741 7777, Papa John’s 01932 574 368, Burger King 0870 042 9469, McDonald’s 020 8271 4424, Bikecaffe 0845 463 7016, Wok2Go, Mahmoods (via FDS) 01619 269 882.

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