New Signarama UK owner talks up major growth plans

April 30, 2019

The new owner of Signarama UK has spoken of his ambitious growth plans for the brand, which he hopes to put back on the map “by getting back to basics”.

Canadian entrepreneur Anas Saltaji, master licensee for Signarama Canada, acquired the signs and graphics franchise last summer and has started work on boosting the company’s fortunes after “a slow few years in the UK”.

“The opportunity to acquire the business came up last year. I bought the business directly from the brand owner, Signarama Incorporated,” said Saltaji.

“The previous franchise owner in the UK wanted to focus on her family. She had a new-born and that was her priority.

“We thought it would be exciting to help the franchisees in the UK to regain their confidence and to rebuild the brand to what it once was.”

Saltaji has nearly doubled the Canadian Signarama network from 25 to 49 locations since he took over the reins in 2012.

He believes the UK, which at its peak had more than 40 Signarama locations, still holds massive potential and said his plan to replicate his success overseas will centre initially around the 10 remaining UK franchisees, whose sales he hopes to help double over the next five years.

“My intention is to get our existing franchisees to want to expand into new territories,” he said.

“They will be the most successful because they’ve done it, they know the ups and downs and they know the business really well. So I’m going to make it extremely easy for them to expand into new markets.”

Saltaji is ultimately aiming to build the Signarama UK network to 100 units within the next 10 years.

Related: Printing Franchise UK – Should You Invest In UK Printing Franchises?

“Given the market size in the UK, we would potentially have successful locations anywhere we put them.

“The Signarama brand makes money. It’s also a really engaging industry; every job is unique. Technologies, materials and their application are constantly evolving. It’s very exciting.”

On a personal level, long-term Saltaji is planning to relocate his family to split his time between both Canada and the UK.

“My wife and children will come too, and we’ll build a life here, as we have in Canada. It’s important to demonstrate my commitment to the UK franchise and all those who choose to join us.

“I’m not interested in quick fixes or making a quick buck. I want franchisees to know me, to trust me and feel that I’m passionate about their success; I can’t do that remotely.”

The UK’s existing Signarama franchisees typically employ four to five staff each and run HP Latex printers “due to their excellent quality, brilliant colour and eco-friendliness”, according to Saltaji, who said the franchisees are supportive of his growth strategy.

“We had a national meeting a few weeks ago, and I think we all came away feeling positive afterwards. Anas shared his intentions and his goals for the UK and, having shared his first five-year plan with us, I certainly feel confident,” said Harrogate franchisee Mark Squires.

Milton Keynes franchisee Tracy Clark added: “I welcome the entry of someone like Anas to the brand; there’s no denying the positive impact that his experience, both in franchising and the signage industry, will bring to the network. He knows the model, understands the business and has a proven history of growth and success.”

A seven-strong team of Canadian-based support staff, dedicated to marketing, finance, product and business development, will also work with and support the UK franchisees, alongside two support staff based in the UK.

Signarama was established in 1986 and currently has 900 franchisees in 60 countries.

By Richard Stuart-Turner

Source: Print Week

New One Stop franchise store opens in Bridgend, Wales

April 30, 2019

A new One Stop franchise store has opened in Bridgend, Wales, on the site of a former labour club within a housing estate.

The store was officially opened on St David’s Day, 1 March, by local celebrity Wynne Evans, the Welsh tenor and star of BBC Radio Wales and the Go Compare adverts.

New franchisee Paul Thomas said: “We opened on St David’s Day so we had local Welsh food, inflatable daffodils and Welsh flags.

“With Wales heading for the Grand Slam it gave the store a sense of identity which is valuable to this community, who are passionate about their heritage. It was great to have Wynne Evans officially opening the store and give the day a little something extra!”

One Stop franchise operations controller Taranjit Dhillon said: “This was a cold start store and was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Customers filled the aisles and there were queues all day with people buying, so much so that we started to sell out! The trading figures were phenomenal.”

Related: Retail Franchise UK – Should You Buy UK Retail Franchises?

The One Stop store has been ‘future-proofed’ and includes a full range of chilled alcohol and promotions, Paul said.

“The feedback we’re getting from customers is they’re absolutely delighted with the store, with its new fresh look and amazing range they’re incredibly pleased we’re now in their area,” he added.

“I was really impressed at how quick the refit was, going from a concrete shell to a fully fitted store in just three weeks. I had my doubts, but the team knew exactly what they were doing, and everything just came together.”

By Robin Mannering

Source: Convenience Store

Ssangyong Motors strengthens dealer franchising team

April 29, 2019

SsangYong Motors UK has strengthened its dealer franchising team with the appointment of Ian Wilson as Dealer Recruitment Manager. Ian will be based in Scotland however will be responsible for securing new partners nationally with immediate effect.

Wilson, who has worked in the motor industry for all of his working life, started his career in the retail sector, changing direction to work for vehicle manufacturer Kia in 1989. He started with Kia as regional manager for the East Midlands when the brand was being prepared for launch by its then UK distributor, MCL Group. Fast forward 28-years, having held a variety of dealer-facing roles at Kia, Ian left his concluding position as general manager of dealer development to spend more time at home, in Scotland, with his family.

Speaking of his new role, Wilson said: “I’m looking forward to supporting growth within the network in the next phase of SsangYong’s development in the UK, and building upon the excellent relationships they already have with its dealer partners. There is gratification in seeing a brand such as SsangYong evolve, and I’m delighted to be part of that journey.“

Related: Car And Automotive Franchise UK – Should You Buy UK Car Franchises?

SsangYong, who has introduced several new dealers already in 2019, is actively looking for new partners to represent the brand in several open points across the UK. Its’ proposition is unique and endeavors to change how prospects view operating a new vehicle franchise by offering no up-front fees, with zero-cost signage, special tools and computer diagnostics.

Dave Rose, head of franchising for SsangYong Motors UK, explains; “We want to make it easy for dealers to join our franchise, so we’ve removed any barriers to ensure representing our brand is appealing. Rose continued; “It’s a very busy and exciting time for us and we’re delighted that Ian has joined the team. His frontline dealer experience along with his manufacturer experience will be invaluable to us as we develop and grow our dealer network in the UK.”

By Matt Sumner

Source: Fleet Point

OYO continues to spread its wings through global partnership with Hotelbeds and UK growth acceleration

April 29, 2019

OYO Hotels and Homes operates a network of over 18,000 franchised and leased hotels across 500 cities in 10 countries. The UK, China, Malaysia, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and most recently Japan. The business is backed robustly by investors that include Softbank, Airbnb, Sequoia and Lightspeed, and is now investing substantially in the UK hotel sector.

Hotelbeds is the world’s number one accommodation wholesaler, also known as a ‘bed bank’, having grown through a series of acquisitions in recent years. Hotelbeds is also a market leader in travel support services such as airport transfers and car hire, key elements of almost every hotel experience, valuable touchpoints for access to cross sell.

OYO has signed a distribution deal with Hotelbeds to have direct access to their significant slice of the global travel market. The agreement provides OYO with access to Hotelbeds’ network of 60,000 travel-buying intermediaries and airlines in more than 140 markets.

Businesses using the Hotelbeds platform will now also be able to sell OYO’s portfolio of 18,000 hotels.

Related: Travel and Leisure Franchises UK – Should You Buy A UK Travel Agency Franchise?

Hospitality Disruptors say hello to the UK

OYO is ‘labelled’ as a hotel chain, but it also for some fits as an online travel agent, and others a brand network, maybe it’s a mix of all three? Whatever the label applied it is growing at a speed that demands UK hoteliers’ attention.

OYO has certainly caught the attention of STR who recently said if OYO were treated like the other big hotel chains, it would be number one in the market by number of hotels and in the top 10 in terms of rooms. OYO claims to be the sixth largest hotel chain globally.

Speaking in March at the International Hotel Investment Forum, Robin Rossmann who leads STR’s operations across the Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Central and South America regions, put OYO’s success to date down to two things. The first being the 14 day speed of rebrand and upgrade execution and the second being pricing.

Rossmann said: “They’re doing something very different to every other major hotel group, even franchise hotels are required to give 100 percent of their rooms inventory to OYO. Why does that matter? Well it gives control over pricing that is beyond any other major group”.

OYO has to date raised circa $2 billion in funding with Airbnb recently investing between $1-200 million.

H&C News spoke with OYO from their UK headquarters in London this week and understand that OYO has plans to spread its wings in the UK at a similar pace to its wider global expansion. We also understand that a significant recruitment drive is already underway and will accelerate.

The world of technology is used to disruptors, we feel sure that hospitality UK will have to do the same.

Source: Hospitality & Catering News

Nutty Scientists to expand to the UK

April 28, 2019

Nutty Scientists UK. A business based in Enniscorthy has announced its plans to expand its franchise across Ireland and into the UK market.

Nutty Scientists was launched in February by David Hayes and Alan Maher and such is the quick rate of expansion of the company and the interest in the business that the two have already signed agreements to award franchises in Kerry, Cork and Limerick.

Mr Maher has also said the two are in talks to expand the franchise into two other areas of the country over the coming months.

‘We have been really happy with the level of enquiries from people around the country who want to talk to us about opening up their own Nutty Scientists franchise,’ he said.

Nutty Scientists is an internationally renowned children’s enrichment franchise which currently operates in over 50 countries worldwide.

It’s the leading provider of interactive programmes for children related to science, technology, engineering and arts, and mathematics (STEM) learning.

In the wake of the national interest in their business Mr Hayes and Mr Maher are now looking to expand into the lucrative UK market which could result in the development of many jobs here at home.

‘We have the potential to create a lot of full time and part time jobs across the country,’ said Mr Hayes.

However, proud of their Wexford background the two are keen to keep the base of their operations in the model county.

‘Wexford will be the Irish and UK headquarters for Nutty Scientists,’ said Mr Hayes.

He also commented that all operational support and training will be based out of the Co Wexford offices – which are located in Enniscorthy.

People who wish to become a Nutty Scientist franchisee pay a once-off licence fee which is calculated based on the size of the territory in which they wish to operate.

Upon signing up franchisees become part of a world leading international brand with a support team helping them to establish their business.

‘It is a proven, successful business formula that has achieved phenomenal success across the globe,’ said Mr Hayes.

Franchisees in successful businesses enjoy high profit margins and low fixed overheads.

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

‘We’re looking for people who understand the world of business, who have a background in education, science, the arts or a combination of them all,’ said Mr Hayes.

‘We go through an approval process that helps us determine if [a person] is the right franchisee and if Nutty Scientists is the right franchise for [them],’ he added.

The Nutty Scientists business model has been running since 1996 and while there are other companies in Ireland using STEM to engage children and teach them various skills Mr Hayes said: ‘Nobody in Ireland or the UK can offer what we have.’

Through Nutty Scientists children learn in an imaginative and stimulating way and according to Mr Hayes and Mr Maher the programme provides ‘edutainment’ [mixing education and entertainment] to engage children.

Franchisees can avail of a number of potential revenue streams derived from mobile or lab based activities including holiday camps; after-school classes, in-school workshops, pre-school programmes, shows, parties and a wide ranfge of awareness programmes., workshops and seminars.

The programmes are primarily aimed at children aged between 3 and 16.

However, Nutty Scientists also provide a range of services to the corporate sector including team building and family days, brand activation and product launches.

By Brendan Keane

Source: Wexford People

Vegan hummus and pita bar opening in Huddersfield town centre

April 28, 2019

Humpit Hummus Franchise UK. A Yorkshire based hummus and pita bar is opening in Huddersfield town centre next month.

Humpit Hummus already has six outlets across Leeds, York, Sheffield, Newcastle and Edinburgh with another planned for Manchester later this year.

But the store on Queen Street, opposite the University of Huddersfield , will be the vegan chain’s first foray into Kirklees when it opens on Monday May 13.

Co-founder Jonathan Phillips said Huddersfield was the perfect location for their next store.

“We realised our food was in huge demand with students,” he explained.

“Huddersfield is hugely populated with students and also we know there is a demand for interesting vegan places to eat. Logistically we’re close to Leeds which is where we’re based.”

Filled pita from Humpit Hummus

It is a 100% vegan menu, with hummus, falafel, pita and salad all made fresh on site.

Jonathan founded the business with his dad, Simon Phillips, in 2014.

“We used to travel to the middle east a lot and the main reason was the food,” recalled Jonathan.

“We kept going to these great little hummus and falafel and pita bars and thought there was a gap in the market for it back home.”

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

The company took off quickly from their first bar at Leeds Corn Exchange and they were presented with the Virgin start-up street food business award by Richard Branson just a year later.

Filled pita from Humpit Hummus

The father and son team have now grown Humpit Hummus into the largest vegan chain in the UK and the Huddersfield outlet will be their first franchise restaurant.

Jonathan added: “We have teamed up with a local family who have taken it on as our first franchise.

“We are keeping it family run but growing the business.”

The building on Queen Street is quite run down at the moment and there is significant refurbishment work to be completed in the coming weeks.

The eat in or take out restaurant will be kitted out with plenty of seats and a food bar.

By Ben Abbiss

Source: Examiner Live

Chicken shop Pepe’s Peri Peri in High Wycombe up for rent

April 27, 2019

Pepe’s Peri Peri – A HIGH Wycombe Peri Peri takeaway is being listed for rent at £2,500 per month.

Pepe’s Peri Peri opened in Frogmoor in December 2017 and now the lease is being offered to a new operator due to a ‘relocation’.

The lease is being marketed by MBI in Abingdon, which says the chicken shop franchise has been ‘successful’ so far.

The Pepe’s franchise has 85 stores nationwide.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

The Frogmoor branch has a five-star hygiene rating, but is yet to recieve a rating from users on Trip Advisor.

Pepe’s has a lease at the High Wycombe site until 2032.

Source: Bucks Free Press

Snap-on in King’s Lynn will fly flag to mark winning two of the most prestigious business awards in the country

April 27, 2019

Snap-on in Lynn will be flying the flag to mark the business’s rare achievement of winning two highly coveted Queen’s Awards.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are recognised as the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winners confirmed as being among the best in the UK.

Snap-on, located in Denney Road, Hardwick Industrial Estate, the leading manufacturer and supplier of automotive hand and power tools, diagnostic platforms, software and equipment, has won awards in the Innovation and International Trade categories.

Snap-on is one of a small number of companies to be awarded in multiple categories. The awards are valid for five years and will enable Snap-on to fly the Queen’s Awards flag at its premises in Denney Road and use the emblem on its stationery, products and packaging. The Lynn site employs 141, which includes office and field-based staff.

The award for Innovation was presented in recognition of Snap-on’s all-in-one repair information resource, SureTrack. This device brings together a unique combination of intelligence and expertise to help after-market automotive garages increase accuracy and efficiency from diagnosis to completed repair. It was developed in Lynn in conjunction with a team in America.

From its Lynn facility, Snap-on provides automotive diagnostic and equipment products, customer support, service and repair to the UK as well as its European markets and also in Asia, Australia and Africa. Snap-on has managed sustained growth and success in these areas and this has earned the business the International Trade Award.

Related: Retail Franchise UK – Should You Buy UK Retail Franchises?

Mark Ost, general manager for equipment and diagnostics at Snap-on who is based at Lynn, said: “It is a true honour and privilege for our achievements here at Snap-on to be recognised with the rare and prestigious accolade of two separate Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

“Snap-on continues to grow in all markets at home and abroad and we will continue to work hard on bringing exciting new products and technologies to the markets we operate in as well as continuously demonstrating our commitment to innovation.”

Snap-on has won two coveted Queen's Awards (9156575)
Snap-on has won two coveted Queen’s Awards (9156575)

Winners of The Queen’s Awards can expect an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace. The awards are made annually by The Queen and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category

Related: Car And Automotive Franchise UK – Should You Buy UK Car Franchises?

Snap-on Incorporated operates in more than 150 countries and employs approximately 12,600 people worldwide. Snap-on also has a franchise network of more than 4,200 franchisees. Snap-on is a leading global developer, manufacturer and marketer of tool and equipment solutions for professional tool users.

It serves technicians in the auto, marine, and aviation industries, vehicle manufacturers, utilities, plus government and industrial organisations.

The Diagnostics and Equipment division has been based in Lynn since 1967, offering hand-held diagnostic platforms, software, garage equipment and other solutions for automotive after-market and repair centres.

By Julie Graham

Source: Lynn News

Neds Noodle Bar set to open in Southampton’s Marlands Centre

April 26, 2019

A NEW noodle bar is set to open its doors in the heart of Southampton this week. Neds Noodle Bar will be hosting an an intimate launch party upstairs in the Marlands Shopping Centre food court on April 25 with The Marlands VIP Balcony, for a small group of friends and business associates.

The healthier London noodle bar and hangout will give customers the chance to meet Founder James Breslaw, who is behind Neds Noodle Bar brand, and sample free food and drinks. The store will also offer dine-in, take-out or delivery, featuring Neds Noodle Boxes filled with Neds Noodles, filling, sauce and veggies. These also include a variety of starters such as Gyoza and Sizzling Calamari Strips, noodle soups, rice and salads.

Customers will also have the opportunity to see the bar in action from 5pm to 8pm and enjoy a venue where Asian culture can be experienced with foreign beers and music.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

The first Neds Noodle Bar store was opened in 2000 by restaurateur James and Roberto Marroni, who fell in love with Oriental cuisine and flavours while backpacking together through Asia; the chain was also nominated for the ‘best noodles in the UK’ at the UK Golden Chopsticks Awards 2019.

As previously reported in the Echo, franchise partner Elnety Fernandez said the city has been “crying out for a healthy noodle place for a while and early interest in Neds Noodle Bar bodes well.”

Source: Daily Echo

Bluebird Care eyes 25 new locations, realigns strategy

April 26, 2019

Bluebird Care is planning to open up to 25 new branches in the UK over the next five years, Home Care Insight has learned.

The national care provider is eyeing locations in the North of England, Scotland and Wales after establishing the majority of its 200-plus businesses in the South of England and the Midlands since the company was set up in 2004.

But opening new branches is no longer the main driver of growth for Bluebird Care, which is the third largest home care provider in the country in terms of market share, with an annual turnover of around £200 million.

Under the leadership of Yvonne Hignell, who joined the business as operations director in March 2018 before being promoted to managing director in October, Bluebird Care’s objective is to reposition itself in the marketplace and continue to drive sustainable growth through new channels.

Over the last 12 months the provider has been through a journey of transformation, witnessing a mass exodus of staff in 2018 and restructuring its entire Franchise Support Centre.

Explaining the exodus, Hignell said: “Lots of people had been here a long time and I think that organisations move on and not everybody wants to go in the direction that things are moving in.”

Hignell said she saw the departure of her colleagues as an opportunity to drive the business forward and attract new talent.

“It happens and you just have to roll with it and see it as an opportunity to create a team that really does believe in where you are trying to go and what you are trying to do, and that’s what we have now,” she explained.

“As a team, we’ve reclaimed our culture and decided how we want to work with each other, how we want to engage with each other and what our values are. We’ve also rebuilt relationships with the network, which weren’t as good or strong as they could be.”

Related: Senior Care Franchise UK – Should You Buy UK Senior Care Franchises?

Bluebird has also realigned its strategy and has a solid plan for the future.

“It’s about going back to basics. We want to reposition ourselves in the marketplace as the provider that can be there from those light touch, early doors services, before people really think that they need care at home,” said Hignell.

“It’s also about consolidating our place in the market around domiciliary care, but then extending customer length of stay through more complex provision, so bridging the gap between health and social care and really challenging the boundaries of traditional health care that is delivered in communities.

“That has to be supported by a great employer brand that really cares about its people. We want to re-establish ourselves in the market, not just as a provider, but as an employer. So it’s about driving growth through great employment opportunities, caring for and valuing our team members and increasing the customer length of stay.”

by SARAH CLARK

Source: Home Care Insight