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What are the fastest growing franchises in the UK and how do you know if they are legitimate?

What are the fastest growing franchises in the UK and how do you know if they are legitimate?

Franchising has become a popular business model in the UK in recent years. The franchise industry is worth over £17 billion and employs over 710,000 people in the UK. The franchising sector in the UK is growing at an impressive rate, and there are many franchises that are experiencing significant growth. 

Fastest growing franchises in the UK

Many big name brands are actually franchises, demonstrating how successful the franchise model can be. 

But what are the UK’s fastest growing franchises? 

  1. Subway

Subway is one of the most popular fast-food franchises in the world, with over 40,000 locations in over 100 countries. In the UK, Subway has over 2,500 locations and is still increasing in number. The franchise offers a range of sandwiches, salads, and other food items and is known for its fresh ingredients and customisable options. Subway has been a popular franchise option for many years. With the increasing demand for quick, convenient food options, it is likely to continue its growth in the coming years.

  1. Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee is a well-known coffee chain that’s been operating in the UK for over 40 years. With over 2,000 locations across the country, it is the largest coffee chain in the UK. The company offers franchise opportunities to those interested in running their own Costa Coffee store, providing comprehensive training, marketing support, and ongoing assistance. The franchise’s success is due in part to its high-quality coffee, as well as its innovative marketing campaigns and store designs. As the demand for quality coffee and relaxed café spaces continues to grow, Costa Coffee is set to continue its expansion. 

  1. McDonald’s 

McDonald’s appears on almost every high street in the UK, and it’s one of the most successful fast-food franchises in the world, spanning over 100 countries. In the UK, McDonald’s has more than 1,300 locations and is still growing. The franchise offers a range of burgers, fries, and other food products. Known for its fast, convenient service, McDonald’s has been investing in new technology and digital platforms to enhance its customer experience and attract new customers. 

  1. The Travel Franchise

The Travel Franchise is a UK-based company that allows individuals to start their own travel agency business from home. No former travel experience is necessary and you can work part time, full time or in your spare time.

The company was founded in 2001 and offers a range of franchise packages (costing from £2,995 +vat) that include everything needed to start a successful travel business, from expert training and support to agent software and access to hundreds of ABTA-bonded travel suppliers. It also offers mentorship retreats abroad and the option to specialise in cruise. The company is growing rapidly and has been in the press for spending over £1 million in head office staff recruitment in 2022 and winning numerous industry awards. In 2023 it continues to recruit extensively and with record holiday sales demand for travel agency franchises shows no sign of abating. 

  1. Anytime Fitness 

Anytime Fitness is a 24-hour gym franchise and one of the fastest growing franchises in the UK, with over 160 locations across the country. The company provides franchisees with training, support, and access to the latest fitness information. The franchise’s success is due in part to its innovative business model, which allows members to access any Anytime Fitness gym around the world, making it an attractive option for frequent travellers.

  1. Papa John’s 

Papa John’s is a worldwide pizza franchise. In the UK, it has over 400 stores at present. The franchise offers a range of pizzas and sides, using fresh ingredients to produce high-quality meals. Papa John’s provides comprehensive support to its franchisees, including training, marketing support, and ongoing operational guidance. This support helps ensure that each franchise location is set up for success and has the resources it needs to thrive. 

  1. Tutor Doctor

Tutor Doctor is a rapidly expanding tutoring franchise. The company provides personalised, one-to-one tutoring services to students of all ages and abilities. With a focus on individualised learning plans and flexible scheduling, Tutor Doctor has become a popular option for parents and students seeking academic support. 

  1. Wok to Walk 

Wok to Walk is a top-rated fast-casual Asian food franchise. The company offers fresh, made-to-order stir-fry meals that can be customised to the client’s preferences. With a focus on sustainability and healthy eating, Wok to Walk has become popular for those seeking quick, healthy meal options. The company provides comprehensive training, ongoing support, and access to the latest food technology for its franchisees.

  1. Snap-on Tools 

Snap-on Tools is a leading provider of professional tools and equipment. It has a franchise network of more than 4,500 locations worldwide. In the UK, Snap-on Tools is rapidly expanding its presence. It has a strong brand reputation that has been built up over many years. The company is known for its innovation, quality, and reliability, which has helped it to establish a loyal customer base.

  1. TaxAssist Accountants 

TaxAssist Accountants is a tax and accounting franchise that has seen significant growth in the UK over the past few years. The franchise now has over 300 locations across the country and plans to open even more in the future. The franchise’s success is due partly to the growing demand for tax and accounting services in the UK and its comprehensive training and support for franchisees.

How to know if franchise is legitimate

Buying into a franchise can be an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business while minimising risk. Franchises can provide the benefits of an established brand, a proven business model, and ongoing support from the franchisor. However, not all franchises are created equal. It’s essential to do your due diligence to ensure that the franchise you’re interested in is legitimate and has a good track record. 

Research the franchise company

The first step is to research the franchise company. You can find a lot of information about the company from its website, social media accounts, and online reviews. Look for information about the company’s history, business model, management team, and financial performance. Ensure the company is registered with Companies House and check out its associations. For example, is it listed on HSBC’s Elite Franchise Top 100 (EF100) or does it belong to regulatory bodies such as the The International Franchise Association (IFA) or British Franchise Association (BFA). The BFA is the regulatory body for the UK franchise industry and sets ethical standards for franchising.

Look for transparency from the franchise company

One way to ensure transparency from the UK franchise company is to review the franchise agreement and disclosure documents carefully. These documents should clearly outline the franchise system, including fees, royalties, marketing requirements, training, and support. The franchisor should also disclose any ongoing obligations or restrictions placed on the franchisee.

Many franchise companies offer a ‘discovery day or evening’, where you can visit their headquarters and meet with the management team. This is an opportunity to ask questions and better understand the franchise system. Use this opportunity to evaluate the training and support provided by the franchise company. Look for evidence of ongoing training, such as webinars, conferences, and online resources.

Check if the franchise is a member of any industry associations

There are many industry associations in the UK that represent different franchises. The specific industry association(s) that a UK franchise may be a member of would depend on the type of business they operate and the industry they belong to.

Several industry associations represent the travel and tourism industry. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is the UK’s largest travel association. ABTA members must adhere to a code of conduct and high customer service standards. The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) represents specialist tour operators who offer high-quality holidays to destinations worldwide.  

Other industry associations a franchise may be a member of include the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which represents small businesses across various industries, and sector-specific associations such as the British Association of Removers (BAR) for removals and storage businesses.

To determine if a specific franchise is a member of any industry associations, it would be best to check the franchise’s website or contact the franchisor directly.

Look for franchisee satisfaction and success stories

One of the best ways to determine the legitimacy of a UK franchise is to speak with existing franchisees. The franchise company may be able to  provide you with a list of existing franchisees, and you can contact them to get their feedback. Ask them about their experience with the franchise, including training and support provided, marketing and advertising, and the financial performance of their business. If the franchise company refuses to provide you with a list of existing franchisees, it could be a red flag that the franchise is not legitimate.

Also check out the company in the national press. Perhaps the company or the franchisees have won industry awards. Are there any high fliers in the business who are doing really well and attracted media attention?

Get professional advice

Before investing in a franchise, it’s advisable to seek professional advice. A solicitor with experience in franchise law can review the franchise agreement and advise on any legal issues. Ask an accountant to check the financial projections provided by the franchise company, focusing on the economic viability of the franchise. A business coach or mentor can advise on the business model’s feasibility and potential for success.

To conclude – the UK’s franchise frenzy

The UK franchise market is booming, with many successful brands expanding rapidly across the country. Among the fastest growing franchises in the UK are brands like Subway, The Travel Franchise, Anytime Fitness, and Costa Coffee. These franchises have a proven track record of success and offer excellent opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.

If you’re considering becoming a franchisee, it’s essential to research and choose a brand that aligns with your goals and values. Are you passionate about the business? Is it something that you will want to invest your time and money in? Does it fit into your lifestyle? Could you do it in partnership with a friend or family member? Do you need physical premises or can you do it from home?

The cost is, of course, another important factor. While big brand recognition is a huge selling point, it comes at a price and McDonalds, for example, tends to have a hefty franchise fee. By opting for a smaller franchise business you could have more budget-friendly packages and have greater freedom to be creative.

Big or small, take care to look for franchises with a strong track record of success and a proven business model. It’s also important to consider the level of support and training offered by the franchisor and any ongoing fees and royalties.

Overall, the UK franchise market offers excellent opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to be their own boss. By choosing a fast-growing franchise with a proven track record, you can set yourself up for success and enjoy the benefits of owning your own business. 

If you’re ready to take the next step, start exploring your options today and find the franchise that’s right for you.

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