Tayto becomes UK’s largest vending machine company after its latest acquisitions

May 31, 2018

Northern Ireland crisps and snacks giant Tayto has announced its third acquisition in weeks – making it the UK’s biggest vending machine company.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, involves the purchase of Uvenco Vending, franchise business Snack-in-the-Box and Drinkmaster.

It adds £15m of turnover and 200 employees to the Tayto group.

The English firms have been bought from parent company Uvenco UK plc after they went into administration.

It’s Tayto parent company Montagu Group’s latest deal after buying the assets of failed Co Londonderry popcorn firm Pot Notch.

And earlier this month it announced the purchase of Cambridge Vending, while last year it bought another English vending company, Freedom Refreshments.

Tayto’s chief executive Paul Allen said vending machines and ‘on the go’ consumption were a key area of expansion for the company. “This purchase brings us another 12,000 points of sale, giving us a total of more than 25,000 across the group,” he said.

“It also broadens our geographical reach as the company has offices in London, Newport, Blackburn, Coventry and Liskeard and franchisees across the UK.

Related: Vending Franchise UK – Should You Invest In Vending Machine Franchises UK?

“We are delighted with the addition of almost 200 employees to our group and a further £15m of turnover.

“Our added scale and geographic growth now places us as the largest British-owned vending company.”

He said the acquisition of Drinkmaster and Snack-in-the-Box were bringing Montagu Group into new areas.

“Snack-in-the-Box is a UK-wide franchise operation, run through local franchisees who provide honesty boxes and vending machines.

“Drinkmaster manufactures and supplies sealed hot drinks such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soups, the sort of thing you often see on aeroplanes. All of these businesses have shown a real flair for innovation and pushing technological boundaries and that’s something we see as essential to our continued growth in the vending market.

“We look forward to meeting all of our new customers and building on the existing relationships they already had.”

On Tuesday Tayto announced that it had bought over the trademark, machinery and other assets of the Maghera firm Pop Notch.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Why is UK business the most breached across Europe?

May 31, 2018

According to the latest Thales Data Threat Report published today, the UK holds the dubious honour of being the most breached country in Europe across the last 12 months. So why is that?

Historically, more organisations within Sweden (78 percent) and the Netherlands (74 percent) admitted they had been breached compared to 67 percent in the UK. That still represents a rise of 24 percent for the British from the year before though.

Point the research lens at just the last 12 months, however, and a different picture emerges. Some 27 percent of Netherlands businesses admitted to being breached, 30 percent of Swedish businesses and 33 percent of German ones. The figure for the UK was the highest across Europe though, at some 37 percent.

Despite this, the report reveals that only 31 percent of UK organisations felt either very vulnerable or extremely vulnerable to data threats. The vast majority, some 69 percent, apparently feeling somewhat vulnerable at worst or not vulnerable at all. The scale of this disconnect with the threatscape reality is highlighted when the UK numbers are compared, once again, with others in Europe: Swedish businesses felt the most vulnerable (49 percent), followed by those in the Netherlands (47 percent) and Germany (36 percent).

The security disconnect also appears in financial terms. Although 15 percent of British organisations reckoned their security spend was much higher than the previous year, this too falls short compared to others in Europe. Some 39 percent of Swedish respondents said their security budgets were much higher, the Netherlands sits on 29 percent and France 24 percent.

When it comes to GDPR compliance, however, UK organisations fared much better. While 49 percent of Swedish businesses had missed the mark for GDPR compliance, and the Netherlands not doing much better on 38 percent or Germany on 33 percent, only 19 percent of UK PLC admitted to failing data security audits in the last year.

So that’s the numbers, but what about the reasons behind them? SC Media UK reached out to the infosec community for answers. James Hadley, CEO & founder of Immersive Labs, points towards the well-documented fact that there’s a global cyber-skills shortage. For the UK to forge ahead, and shore up the cyber-defences, it will need to adopt a new approach to recruiting talent. “The recruitment process should adjust to identify those with demonstrable skills, rather than involve CV scanning for university degrees” Hadley told SC Media UK, continuing “this will help close the skills gap, thus helping to reduce the amount of breaches we see in the UK.”

Meanwhile, Dr Jamie Graves, CEO and founder of ZoneFox, blames the old stiff upper lip attitude. “All too often, we seek an entity or individual to blame when there is a hack or breach or loss of data” he explains, continuing “this hampers learning and sharing best practice; compared to other European countries.” Graves insists there needs to be an overarching shift in how the aftermath of security and data incidents are handled by UK organisations. “Previous coverage of incidents has led British employees to become scared of the repercussions and public lambasting they might receive if they fall foul to a phishing scam or similar incident” Graves says, concluding “if this fear isn’t addressed, then the conversation and learning both in and between companies will never move forward.”

Then there’s that security spending issue that was highlighted in the Thales report. “In the last year there have a been several major attacks on the UK (WannaCry, Bad Rabbit) which has led to many organisations increasing their security and IT budgets” Sam Haria, Global SOC Manager at Invinsec, told SC Media UK, “however the purse holder is not necessarily the best placed person to be making these decisions.”

And what should UK PLC be doing to escape the ‘most breached’ position? Richard Walters, chief security strategist with CensorNet, says he would be surprised if there’s a huge amount more businesses in other countries are doing than their UK counterparts. “We’re suffering the consequences of security being an afterthought for too long and only in recent years have organisations and the government properly started to baton down the hatches” Walters says, concluding “businesses need to make sure that they have proper tools in place that deal with a range of threats, both internal and external, and make sure that employees are trained in best practices to avoid costly mistakes.”

Source: SC Magazine

Subaru opens its doors to prospective franchisees this May

May 30, 2018

Subaru UK is pleased to invite prospective franchisees to its ‘open house’ franchising event, at the manufacturer’s Birmingham head office on 30th May 2018. Following the 5.5% year on year growth of the safety focused SUV brand, Subaru UK is looking to continue its positive 2018 trajectory through the active expansion of its dealer network.

Attendees to Subaru’s Open House will have the opportunity to meet senior executives, understand the brand values and discuss franchise opportunities. Surpassing first quarter targets by 19%, Subaru UK enjoyed a strong start to 2018 which included the launch of the all-new XV and a new brand campaign ‘Better Where It Matters’. Subaru UK also benefitted from high numbers of forward orders taken for the second quarter of 2018.

Prospective franchisees are invited to join the Subaru UK event to learn more about the iconic Japanese brand; famed for its safety, reliability and capability credentials. Subaru success continued in 2018 with the all-new XV and Impreza being named Euro NCAP’s Best In Class Safest Small Family Car of 2017, with the all-new XV receiving a high commendation in the Safety category at WhatCar?’s annual awards.

Chris Graham, Managing Director for Subaru UK, commented: “We’re looking forward to meeting new businesses and prospective franchisees at our Subaru Open House. The brand has enjoyed growth in 2018 and we’re looking to continue this by finding new partners to develop our network, where open points are available”.

Claire Ketchion, Dealer Development Manager for Subaru UK, added: “We’re looking for businesses that want to work with us to grow the brand and proactively engage with the public on all things Subaru. It’s an exciting time for the brand, especially following the success of the all-new XV earlier this year”.

Subaru’s Open House is aimed at prospective franchisees that are actively looking to partner with a new vehicle manufacturer in the near future. Due to the nature of the event, attendees must register in advance to book their place. For further details on Subaru’s Open House and to discuss potential open points in the Subaru UK network, please email Rebecca Lamsdale at RLamsdale@Subaru.co.uk at your earliest convenience.

‘Better Where It Matters’ is the guiding ethos for all Subaru models in the UK, with safety, capability and reliability at their core. Armed with a sturdy SUV line-up and the safest small family cars in Europe, Subaru is pushing against the UK new car sales trend, showing growth year on year so far in 2018. Locations of existing Subaru franchises can be found on www.Subaru.co.uk.

Source: Fleet Point

Grantham firm wants to take on more franchises and services

May 30, 2018

Belvoir Lettings is looking to grow further following an agreement with HSBC bank for an acquisition related loan facility of up to £17m.

The Grantham-based company operates the UK’s largest high street franchised network of residential lettings and estate agents and wants to grow the business by taking on more franchises and property-related service companies.

Following a number of acquisitions in recent years, Belvoir Lettings already has around 300 franchisee offices across the country.

The HSBC acquisition fund is part of a revolving credit facility, which extends up to £17m and includes £6.5m refinancing of existing borrowing.

Related: Property franchise giant reveals £3.6m deal

Louise George, Chief Financial Officer at Belvoir Lettings, said: “When it came to providing the funding to support our immediate and longer-term growth ambitions, HSBC stepped in and offered the necessary facilities that were both competitive and flexible enough to meet our needs.

“Phil Carr, our relationship director at HSBC, went out of his way to understand our company, our franchising business model, the sector in which we operate and our future plans. Phil’s team also guided us through the process of moving our banking to ensure that the onboarding was as streamlined as possible.”

Roger Pratt, HSBC area director for corporate banking in East Midlands, said: “The lettings industry is going through a period of consolidation with increasing regulations placing pressures on administrative tasks for smaller agencies. This is creating a greater need for a business like Belvoir Lettings. We’re delighted to welcome Belvoir to HSBC and look forward to supporting the business as it continues to push forward its ambitious acquisition strategy.”

The funding and bank refinance was supported by bank acting lawyer Oliver Morgan of Pinsent Masons, Belvoir acting lawyer Shaun McCabe of Browne Jacobson, and Simon Hall of BDO LLP.

Source: Grantham Journal

Care company receives highly recommended award

May 30, 2018

People who receive care from a Guisborough-based company have been instrumental in it being named as one of the most highly recommended home care providers in the North East of England.

Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland) has made the top 20 list compiled by homecare.co.uk, which is the UK’s leading home care reviews site.

Each provider is given an overall rating – by clients and their families – as well as on their staff, care and support, management, whether they are treated with dignity and whether they are value for money.

Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland ) received an overall rating of 9.7 out of 10 for the care and services it provides.

An example of a review left by a client of the company is as follows:

“I am very satisfied with the help I am given from the carers who visit me. They always enter my home with a smile and a cheerful word and done whatever I have asked of them.

“I always look forward to seeing them and they bring some joy into my life.” A family member of someone receiving care from the company said: “The care has been good on all levels and exceptional in some areas.

“Carers going beyond the expected and the small extras mean a lot to relieve me and my husband who are not young ourselves but gives peace of mind.”

Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland) Managing Director Charles Folkes said: “This award means so much because it is based on the reviews of our clients, or their families.

Related: Biggest Group of New Recruits Ever Join the Caremark Network

“It demonstrates that we are providing high quality, person-centred care, and this is testament to the fantastic team we have here at Caremark.

“Whether it’s the staff at head officer or the home care workers who visit peoples’ homes each day, whatever the weather, everyone plays their part, and I am delighted that their hard work has been recognised in this way.”

Amanda Hopkins, Reviews Manager of homecare.co.uk, said: “Good quality home care is vital as it enables people to stay living in their own homes and keep their independence, with their home care worker often becoming their friend and companion as well as their lifeline to the outside world.

“Our reviews are given by those receiving home care as well as their family and friends. This helps people to search for the right home care provider, where trust, dignity and compassion are paramount, and Caremark (Caremark Redcar and Cleveland) is an example of a company which is achieving this.”

Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland) is carrying on from where it left on in 2017 when it became one of only 2% of homecare providers in the UK to receive an outstanding rating from its regulator, the Care Quality Commission. Three members of its team then made the finals of the Great British Care Awards and earlier this year, the company was named Caremark Franchise of the Year, beating off competition from 107 other franchises across the UK.

Source: BDaily

Bright & Beautiful Knutsford has been crowned ‘Business Transformation 2018’

May 30, 2018

The Dwyer Group, one of the largest franchise organisations in the world with seven European brands, presented the award in recognition of its network of franchisees, who have demonstrated excellence within the franchising community. Amy Wilson, a Bright & Beautiful franchisee, was nominated for delivering extremely high levels of client service, driving performance improvements and growing her revenues by more than fifty per cent.

Sue Moore, Brand President of Bright & Beautiful, congratulated Amy Wilson on her award adding: “Amy is a fantastic franchisee and I’m so pleased that she is part of the Dwyer Group family” says Moore.  “Amy has achieved some great milestones in little over a year in business, including doubling her revenue.  Together with her team, Amy is always looking for ways to impress her clients, from sending unexpected thank you cards, to daffodils at Easter and offers of helpful seasonal cleans. A well-deserved congratulations Amy!”

Related: Cleaning Franchises in the UK – Here’s All You Need to Know

Amy Wilson was delighted to win Business Transformation 2018, commenting: “I was really excited to win this award, and to be recognised particularly as I have only been a franchise owner for 18 months.  Any new job is daunting, but this award means so much to me and provides me with with even more motivation to grow the business further.  The Bright & Beautiful franchise is not just about me – without my fantastic team of local housekeepers who have created great relationships with their customers, and the continual support from my family – I would not be where I am today.  I  would also like to thank the Dwyer Group, who have invested both time and money into Bright & Beautiful, providing me with the support and infrastructure needed to succeed.”

The awards ceremony took place in Berlin to commemorate the success of leading franchisees and included Franchisee of the Year, President’s Award, Technician of the Year and Business Growth of the Year, amongst many more.   The awards showcased many of the Dwyer Group’s franchisees who may have bought into franchising to get a better work life balance or be their own boss and who, through their enterprising nature and determination to succeed, stand out from the crowd.

For further information about Bright & Beautiful and the services it can offer, visit

http://www.brightandbeautifulhome.com/warringtonandknutsford/

Source: Knutsford Times

Carlisle nursery owner opens English-speaking franchise in China

May 28, 2018

The owners of the Carlisle-based Stone Eden Nursery have opened their first international franchise in China.

David and Jennifer Farrell who own Stone Eden Nursery, which is registered to care for 350 children, have taken the childcare setting’s ‘same curriculum, policies and standards of excellence’ to their new English-speaking nursery in Guangzhou, China.

Based at the Guangzhou Opera House, children and staff at the new nursery celebrated its opening with a Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Open Day.

With a baby room, toddler rooms and pre-school room, Stone Eden Nursery School in Guangzhou cares for children aged between six months to three-years-old and incorporates the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) curriculum and nursery style.

Related: Buying and Running A UK Children’s Franchises – What Does It Take?

David and Jennifer Farrell said: ‘The British nursery is a new concept which is set to progress early years education in China.

‘As a British nursery, we provide loving child care and early learning ‘play-based experiences to children to British standards, in a safe environment, with an activity program that helps develop confident, independent and creative children.’

First opened in 2005, Stone Eden Nursery School in Carlisle operates from converted farm buildings in the countryside near the town. It was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors in 2009 and 2014.

The owners added: “We want to encourage babies and toddlers to create memories of a childhood spent having fun; playing with their friends and being themselves, scribbling doodles on paper that makes sense to them; for them to get messy and be happy to be taking part and know that if they are making mess, there really is no point in crying about it.”

Source: Day Nurseries

UK economy continues to slow

May 28, 2018

UK gross domestic product was estimated to have increased by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018 which is the slowest pace of growth in five years.

Recent bad weather was attributed as the cause for the downturn in construction and high street spending. Overall, household spending grew by 0.2%, the lowest it’s been for three years.

Additionally, business investment decreased by 0.2% which will no doubt highlight concerns over the strength of the UK economy and it’s ability to maintain stability after it leaves the EU.

Rob Kent-Smith of the ONS said:

“Overall, the economy performed poorly in the first quarter with manufacturing growth slowing and weak consumer-facing services.”

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, said:

“The UK economy eked out growth of just 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter of 2018. This was the weakest growth rate since the first quarter of 2012. It was down from growth of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2017 and 0.5% in the third quarter.

“While first-quarter growth was clearly dragged down by the severe weather seen at the end of February and first half of March, the extent of the slowdown suggests an underlying loss of momentum in the economy.

“Year-on-year growth slowed to 1.2% in the first quarter of 2018, which was the weakest level since the second quarter of 2012. It was down from 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017, 1.8% in the third quarter and 2.1% in the first quarter.”

Source: London Loves Business

Rail Wales franchise decision imminent

May 27, 2018

The new Wales rail franchise holder will be held to account on issues like punctuality, cleanliness and service quality – or they will not get paid.

The head of Transport for Wales (TfW) said the contract includes key elements of service provision not included before.

The winner – also new South Wales Metro operator – is expected to be unveiled in the next 24 hours.

Welsh Government ministers are discussing final details on Tuesday.

The new franchise will come into effect from October 2018, replacing the one run by Arriva Trains Wales for the last 15 years.

Speaking about it for the first time, TfW chief executive James Price said the aim was to “make all parts of Wales more connected”.

He said it was more than just rail with buses, park-and-ride, active travel and other modes of transport all important.

It would also go “way beyond” commuting but also travelling for the elderly, for social reasons, for tourism and to access public services.

There will also be a cap on excess profits, with any extra surpluses re-invested in the network.

There are two bidders in the running for the contract:

KeolisAmey

In numbers

  • £6.9bn joint turnover
  • 680m passenger journeys in the UK each year
  • 21 major cities served including London, Shanghai, Boston and Nottingham
  • 32,300 people employed across both companies

KeolisAmey – the joint venture company already runs the Docklands Light Railway and the Manchester Metrolink. Keolis also runs Nottingham’s trams and claims to be the world’s largest tram operator and its major shareholder is the French state-owned railway company SNCF. It operates systems in cities ranging from Melbourne to Boston.

MTR

In numbers

  • £4.3bn turnover
  • 28,000 employees
  • 231km size of Hong Kong rail network it operates

MTR operates the Hong Kong metro – said to be the world’s busiest – and a network of 93 stations and 68 light rail stops; also the Crossrail/Elizabeth Line concession in London and is currently running Transport for London rail services.

The new deal is also likely to involve:

  • Taking 124 miles (200km) of track away from the control of Network Rail – enabling a faster investment in new technologies such as digital signalling
  • TfW – which oversees the system – would hope to take control of rail-related catering, cleaning, parking and ticketing over time
  • £5bn over 15 years of planned investment will see contracts broken up and within the grasp of local, small and medium sized businesses, to make the biggest impact possible on local communities and the economy

TfW said it was a “once in a generation” chance to design a service to meet growing passenger numbers and expectations of more reliable services.

Mr Price said: “This is the first time since devolution Wales has had the opportunity to design something for itself.

“What we’ve had before was inherited. And many people will have experienced this on a day-to-day basis: turning up at a railway station and not being able to get on the train.

“That’s a pretty big disincentive to using it and if you can’t get into the centre of a city because the roads are congested as well, that’s not an incentive for getting work.”

Commuter Regan Cartwright, who travels from Pontypridd every weekday for her job at a Cardiff hotel, said: “Sometimes it’s delayed, sometimes it’s not – you never know what to expect. I’d like more trains, more carriages, on time – you can never get a seat, it’s always rammed.”

Jessica Owens normally drives to Cardiff but she sometimes gives herself two hours for the 12 miles (20 km) journey because of “crazy” traffic.

“The only thing that puts me off getting the train is the car park situation,” she said. “Driving is cheaper for me. With the train you pay that little bit extra and you get the odd times of day when people are squished together but you don’t have the traffic – which is just horrible. ”

The decision will be announced to the Stock Exchange and in a statement to AMs.

But details of what the new franchise holder will be offering – and where – including the Metro will not be given this week and are not expected until next month.

It is to allow the losing bidder a 10 day-window to challenge the decision.

Source: BBC

Levelling the connectivity playing field for UK business

May 27, 2018

Digital connectivity plays a critical role in powering the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises. However, in a survey on workplace productivity last year, 24% of UK employee respondents noted that slow technology was preventing them from doing their job well.

Despite London’s reputation as one of the world’s tech hubs, many of the capital’s businesses still don’t have access to the high-speed, robust connectivity that they need to succeed. There are a whole host of reasons why London’s businesses face a variance in the standard of connectivity available.

The first is the diversity of London’s business community. Larger businesses typically have the resources to install their own technological infrastructure and set up a dedicated team to manage, maintain and troubleshoot any issues.

Meanwhile, the capital’s start-ups and scale-ups are more likely to start off working from home or lack the office resources for the same quality of connectivity.

The second reason is the lack of transparency from landlords. Office space providers typically do not detail the quality of connectivity they offer – making it more challenging for businesses to identify and select an environment that meets all their requirements.

It should be a landlord’s responsibility to help businesses navigate the commercial property market and understand the standard of connectivity available.

Finally, businesses are not actively demanding the high-quality technology they need. I would advise any enterprise looking for space to request assurances about the digital infrastructure, the speed of broadband available, protocols for service disruptions and the cyber-security measures in place.

Crowded market

London’s commercial real estate market is increasingly crowded and with new spaces launching every week, there is more choice for businesses than ever before. A breadth of options – including traditional offices, flexible space and co-working areas – is undoubtedly a positive but it can make selecting the right space a challenge.

The good news both for businesses and landlords is that there is now an independent rating system.

International connectivity accreditor WiredScore reviews a building’s technological infrastructure with potential tenants in mind – rating and certifying buildings with the best-in-class setup that businesses need.

To date, WiredScore has reviewed and certified some of the UK’s most prominent buildings, including The Shard and the BBC’s Broadcasting House.

The certification takes into account how quickly customers can get connected, the capacity for high-speed internet connectivity, resilience and security and, crucially, how properties are future-proofed for innovations to come.

At Workspace, we’ve made the commitment to achieve some of the highest ratings across 50 of our buildings so far, reassuring our customers that we can meet their tech challenges and requirements.

At a time of comparative instability, it is imperative for landlords to commit to supporting businesses wherever and whenever possible. High-speed wireless, resilient technology infrastructure and secure connectivity will be crucial for tenants and landlords alike to future-proof against the changing business landscape and to facilitate efficient and innovative working.

Source: Property Week