Chopstix secures £5m funding to expand

August 31, 2019

Noodle bar chain Chopstix is planning further expansion across the UK after securing a £5m debt facility from Metro Bank.

The group, which also owns the Yangtze brand, launched in 2004 and now has more than 40 company-owned sites across the UK, plus several franchise units.

It received £2m from Metro Bank last year to add to its growing number of noodle bars in shopping centres, high streets and travel hubs.

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

“Chopstix is in a good place to further grow over the coming few years and cement its place as the UK’s leading Asian QSR brand,” says Chopstix managing director Jon Lake.

Since January the company has opened sites under its core brand in Intu Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol Cribbs Causeway, Glasgow, Earls Court and Southampton’s West Quay scheme.

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Chopstix is also undergoing changes to its senior team with Mark Carrick, formerly of Comptoir Group, joining the company in October as finance director. 

He replaces Michael Toon, who is leaving to join burger brand Byron.

By Sophie Witts

Source: Big Hospitality

Taco Bell plans to open first East Yorkshire branch in Hull

August 31, 2019

Taco Bell is set to open in Hull in what will be the American chain’s first branch in East Yorkshire.

A planning application has been submitted and the chain is already advertising to potential employees at the new store.

The restaurant will be situated next to an existing Burger King near the city’s St Andrew’s Quay, with building work being done on new storage space and the chain also taking over a section of the space currently operated by Burger King.

The application will be considered by Hull City Council in September, with an expected open date not yet made available.

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

In the job advert, the company speaks of an opportunity for determined, dynamic and hardworking individuals to help lead its brand in at the new Hull restaurant.

It says: “Famous for our great values and culture we are now looking for managerial talent to help spearhead our expansion in the Yorkshire market.

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“We are looking for a confident, enthusiastic individual who enjoys working at fast pace, delivering fantastic customer service and hospitality to our fans in Hull.

“Taco Bell has nearly 6,000 restaurants worldwide and one of the fastest expanding restaurant chains in the UK.

“We offer outstanding opportunities for individuals who want to build a career with a major franchise in the UK.

Related: Taco Bell Franchise

“Working at Taco Bell isn’t just another job in fast-food, we put people first and is run by people who know and love the brand, the restaurant business and passionate about delivering a great customer experience.”


Source: Food Service Equipment Journal

The secret to the success of the only Hooters in the UK – and what it’s like to work there

August 30, 2019

“The attraction of Nottingham was Robin Hood, Brian Clough and five girls to one bloke,” says Mark James, who has been the manager of the only Hooters in the UK for 21 years.

It is a reputation that he says originally led to the continued growth of the American sports bar and grill chain – in which customers are served by waitresses wearing orange hot pants and tight tank tops.

It was back in 2010 when Hooters began to expand, with two new restaurants opening in Cardiff and Bristol.

But unlike Nottingham, feminist groups mounted campaigns to prevent them opening, and while they never managed to prevent this, the two Hooters bars closed down just under two years later.

And that is precisely what is so remarkable.

Hooters in Nottingham had managed to establish itself as a “destination”, Mark emphasised, in the years following its original opening in 1998.

It is something that kept it alive through the third and fourth waves of feminism, which began in the late ’90s and then in 2010 – hindering the success of any new restaurants in the UK from the very beginning.

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

“We are dated,” Mark admits.

“It’s hot pants and a vest top. It’s not the sexiest thing. It’s just like a beach shack from the 1990s.

“It’s that nostalgia. You want to create that wow factor, like reminding those who are now in their 30s of the first time visiting Disneyland.

“Not as many people go to America anymore, so it’s about keeping those core values. We’ve not tried to reinvent the wheel.”

The restaurant opened in 1998 in London Road, before Canadian comedian and former Hooters girl Katherine Ryan helped move the venue to the Hicking Building in 2006 – where it has remained ever since.

But what is it like to work at the only remaining Hooters in the country?

Cheila Almeida, 23, has been working as a ‘Hooters girl’ for the past five years, who insisted it is not “sleazy” and more about preparing you for a life after Hooters.

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As a recent graduate from Nottingham Trent University, she now has a promising career in real estate ahead of her – something which she says has been built, in part, thanks to Hooters.

“I remember coming in for dinner on the all you can eat night,” Cheila told Nottinghamshire Live.

“The girls were amazing and I had never heard of Hooters before. I got chatting to one of the girls who ended up giving me an application.

“I had a really casual chat with Mark and it went from there. When I first came I thought the outfits were cute.

“When I first tried it on I remember thinking I hope I don’t look a bit, ‘ooh’, but I’m comfortable. I’m a woman, I can do what I want and choose to wear what I want.”

“When you go out in Nottingham you see girls wearing less.”

Each year, Mark sends one Hooters girl off to America for the Hooters International Pageant.

This year in June, Cheila had the opportunity to fly across the pond to Lake Tahoe where 80 girls from all restaurants across the world – of which there are more than 400 – compete for the crown.

Cheila explained how the pageant is not simply about posing in a swimsuit, she also took part in a number of empowerment classes.

“They have changed the pageant so the swimsuit shoot is on a separate night,” she said.

“The pageant is just you in a dress so it’s not too revealing.

Related: Hooters Franchise

“We took part in women empowerment classes and had workshops, like how to write a CV, and life after Hooters I came back with a different outlook.

“People get scared to put Hooters on their CV in case you get judged, but all the girls who used to work here are either abroad or have really nice jobs.”

She added the flexibility of shifts has allowed her to study, save and she will now be purchasing a holiday home in Portugal next year – which she will rent out to holidaymakers.

Morgan Jones, 20, her co-worker, is in her second year studying biomedical science at NTU and hopes to one day obtain a PhD.

Morgan, of the Vale of Belvoir, added: “When I first started It was quite intimidating and I was quite conscious about the outfit, but it’s just really good fun.

“I have worked in other restaurants and it is no different. You do not get hassled and no-one has ever grabbed me or anything like that.

“We are not flirty with the customers and you have always worn tights. It’s a family restaurant. The people who have a bad word to say are usually the one’s who have never been in before.”

Manager Mark, who started out as a bartender in Hull, said the customer base is made up of 70 percent men, 20 percent women and around 10 percent families, particularly on a Sunday.

He prides the restaurant on its “pull”, bringing in 300 football fans on a Saturday afternoon for beer and wings and a further 400 in the evening for the same again.

A record “metric tonne” – almost equivalent to a Land Rover – of chicken wings have been ordered on a Monday.

“Our main competition is Switzerland, Singapore and Mexico City,” Mark added.

“Of course we don’t have the views like the Alps, so they’re always saying ‘whose that little Nottingham store bringing it in’.

“Girls that worked here are working as solicitors now. During the staff meeting on a Sunday morning you ought to see some of the cars the girls turn up in in the car park.

“You look at the way of the world now, we’ve done a vegan burger for example, but we’re still going to remember who we are. It’s just fun and cheesy.

“The Hooters girl is a job position. It’s what you apply for. We have men in the kitchen but the franchise laws state you cannot employ a Hooters boy.

“I really haven’t changed in that sense. We are a destination venue. In the summer you have your stag and hen parties.

“You have the regulars who come in and use it as Hooters the local pub, and you have the families on Sundays when kids eat free.

“I’m looking forward to the next ten years. We’ve found that balance between what we give to Nottingham and what Nottingham gives us. It’s that acceptance that has been the key to our success.”

By Joseph Locker

Source: Nottingham Post

Watford nursery registration fees funds Special Care Baby Units

August 30, 2019

A new nursery’s open day has donated parents’ registration fees to raise funds for a Special Care Baby Unit. Monkey Puzzle Day Nursery, a new nursery opening in Watford, has donated 50 per cent of registration fees from its open day held on August 16 and 17.

The money has gone towards the charity ‘Raise’, which will fund specialist equipment and room refurbishments for the special care baby units of Watford General, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans City hospital.

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

Ritika Verma, who manages the new nursery alongside her husband Sachin Verma, has said: “The idea to own a day nursery came to me around three years ago following the birth of my second child and this desire became stronger day-by-day. Finding the Monkey Puzzle franchise, and having the support of their head office team, has been invaluable in our journey.”

“Being able to support the Special Care Baby Unit was an added bonus. Not only does it provide a vital service for our community, but we may also look after children that have directly benefited from the unit, so it’s great to be able to give back to our community.”

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Some purchases will include a kangaroo chair and a modesty screen, for parents to care for low weight or premature babies in private.

The Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries franchise has more than 60 childcare settings nationwide, making us the UK’s largest childcare franchise network and the third largest childcare provider overall.

By Joseph Reaidi

Source: Hillingdon Times

24-hour gym to close amid increased competition

August 29, 2019

An Ipswich town centre gym is to close blaming an increasingly crowded market. Anytime Fitness was launched by husband and wife Chris and Deborah Hayden in 2015.

Anytime Fitness is a national and international franchise of 24-hour gyms.

It is housed in a former warehouse building in Regatta Quay next to the Winerack apartment building at the Waterfront.

Mr Hayden said: “It is very disappointing obviously for a family business but there are a lot of gyms in Ipswich now. It is a very competitive market.

Related: Fitness Franchises – Should You Buy a UK Fitness Franchise?

“We have come to the end of our five year franchise and it is a simple business decision. We have told the members and our suppliers and we are doing everything properly and are closing on Saturday.

“My wife died two years after we opened the gym. It was really her business. It is a franchise and I have chosen not to renew.

Related: Fitness Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“My children are not interested in it.

“When we came here we were the first 24 hour gym in Ipswich. There are two others now and they are big multiple businesses.”

One gym user said: “I think it is very disappointing but I understand the reasons for it.

“I have been a member since last summer and I really like it here.

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“They have sorted us out with discounts for other gyms, which is good.”

Mr Hayden did not know what would happen to the building after the gym closed: “It is a prime site. I am sure it won’t be empty long.”

By David Vincent

Source: Ipswich Star

Right at Home Short-listed Twice in the Franchise Marketing Awards 2019

August 28, 2019

The Franchise Marketing Awards celebrate exemplary marketing support being provided to franchisees across the country – and Right at Home is proud to be nominated twice this year.

The quality homecare provider, which has held the Best Franchise Award for three years running, has also been recognised for the quality of the online and offline marketing support given to its franchisees, in the Best Support category.

Right at Home is also a finalist in the Best Website category, for its franchise recruitment website which was re-launched last year. And with new care service websites also launching soon for the whole franchise network, it’s exciting times ahead!

The winners of the Franchise Marketing Awards, sponsored by Business Franchise magazine, will be announced at The National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham, on Friday 4 October.

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

Right at Home is exhibiting at the event and will be joined by franchisees and the company directors; giving visitors an excellent research opportunity as they consider the different business sectors available to them.

Competition for the marketing awards is proving fierce; the independent judging panel will be looking for examples of innovative practice and demonstrable results.

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Right at Home

Right at Home’s CEO, Ken Deary, said: “We have really raised our game when it comes to marketing support – investing in our internal support team and working with Coconut Creatives, a top-class marketing agency who really understand the needs of a franchise network – so we’re delighted to receive this recognition in the Franchise Marketing Awards.

“We provide hands-on, tailored one-to-one support for digital and PR, on top of a wide range of collateral and campaign materials that differentiate Right at Home within the quality care market and are easily tweaked at local level.

“We understand that franchise owners want flexibility, as well as the tools and platforms to put out great content that reflects their premium quality brand.”

For further information about our home care services or franchise opportunities visit this link.

New TaxAssist Accountants shop opens in the heart of Norwich

August 28, 2019

Experienced accountant Jeremy Gilks has launched a new accountancy practice on Ber Street in Norwich specifically aimed at small businesses and individual tax-payer clients.

Norwich is set to benefit from the addition of a new walk-in TaxAssist Accountants shop when Jeremy Gilks FCCA opens his practice on 113-119 Ber Street on 27th August.

“Since joining the TaxAssist Accountants network in November 2018, I’ve been on the look out for the ideal location to open a shop, which will provide a warm, welcoming environment for me to meet with new and existing clients to discuss their tax and accountancy requirements,” said Jeremy.

Related: Bookkeeping, Financial and Accounting Franchise UK – Wonderful Opportunities for Skilled Entrepreneurs and Franchisees

TaxAssist Accountants“The shop on Ber Street ticks all the boxes as there is a high volume of passing traffic and a vibrant local traders association. There is also plenty of on-street parking for clients to use when popping in, as we want to be convenient to the city centre, to make it easy for clients to come and visit us while doing their shopping.

“We do not consider ourselves to be typical accountants, which is clear from the look and feel of our modern shop. We are passionate about offering a bespoke, tailored service to every kind of small business client and we have adopted the latest software on offer, which allows us to be more responsive to clients’ needs and provides greater efficiencies. But, we have a best of both worlds approach for those who enjoy using tech and those who prefer just to come in and talk to us. I would like to encourage anyone interested in finding out more about our services to pop in for a free initial consultation.”

Related: Accountancy & Financial Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

As well as providing all the regular services you would expect from a local accountant, Jeremy, who has over 30 years’ accountancy experience across a range of sectors, is looking for his shop to become a destination for new start-ups by providing a business hub. This will offer a flexible working environment with space to hire by the hour, half day, day, week or month.

“I’m keen to offer help, to nurture and support new start-ups” said Jeremy. “In addition to hiring out desk space, we will be looking to offer lock up offices with provision for a board room with large screens for presentations, which will run independently of the accountancy practice.”

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Karl Sandall, Chief Executive Director of The TaxAssist Group said: “I’m very excited to see another fantastic looking addition to the TaxAssist Accountants network of shops and would like to congratulate Jeremy on the look and feel of the shop after it has undergone an extensive refit.”

Jeremy’s shop on Ber Street joins an established network of over 210 TaxAssist Accountants shops nationwide, including shops in Norfolk on Aylsham Road in Norwich, Attleborough and King’s Lynn.

Putting Sheffield on the Map

August 28, 2019

The Wheel Specialist will be expanding into Sheffield by the end of 2019 and their latest franchisee, Stefan Thomas, will be at the helm.

Stefan joined the network recently after moving over from a successful 7 years with Snap-On tools.

After experiencing first hand the services offered by The Wheel Specialist when getting his TVR wheels refurbished several years ago, Stefan was “blown away” by the results he saw. And when it came to a new consideration of direction in his business life, he soon jumped into exploring franchise opportunities with The Wheel Specialist.

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

“One of the things that attracted me to Snap-On is also what has bought me over to join The Wheel Specialist” remarked Stefan. “I like the prestige that goes with it, I love that. Image and brand is just so important in business, and what I like about The Wheel Specialist is that they are there in the product, brand, image, quality, etc. that they offer and I really like that”.

The Wheel Specialist are a franchise business with multiple sites throughout the UK. They have over 35 years’ experience in the field of Alloy Wheel Refurbishment and Customisation and operate from fixed premises. They are the No.1 Alloy Wheel Refurbishment business in the UK and are the only company to provide a Full wheel refurbishment process from fixed premises.

Related: Automotive Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

If you would like to find out more about this great Franchise Opportunity you can get more information by visiting this link.

Franchisees head for Higher Standard

August 27, 2019

Petpals franchise owners across the UK are completing the Ofqual Level 3 Professional Daycare and Boarding course.

This new qualification will enable them to achieve the Higher Standard in the Animal Activity Licensing Regulations, updated by DEFRA in 2018.

Licensing now requires that to meet the Higher Standard, a member of staff with a relevant Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, OFQUAL, regulated Level 3 qualification must be present during the working day at the day care or boarding establishment.

Petpals Buxton, Sefton, Leeds North, Hendon and Darlington West are now fully qualified and a further 15 franchise owners are currently taking the course and will qualify soon.

Related: Pet Franchises in the UK – Turn Your Passion into a Business


Sharren Redmond, who started up her Sefton Petpals business last November, said: “What a great course; I feel so much more confident and professional in running my Petpals business now. It was a huge amount of work requiring large amounts of research, reading and writing but I loved it and am so glad I am now qualified to the Higher Standard for the benefit of my clients and their dogs. I will, of course, be sharing my new knowledge, passing on the relevant information to my team so we can all benefit from the course.”

Related: Pet Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Kevin Thackrah, MD of Petpals, said: “As an industry we are overrun with people starting up dog walking and dog boarding businesses on a whim, with no previous experience or qualifications, and we embrace and welcome any and all efforts to raise the standards in our industry. Even before the new regulations, all of our franchises were, and always have been, CRB-checked, insured and have taken a dog handling skills and pet first aid course.”

Petpals UK provides mobile pet care for animals ranging from dogs and cats to small pets such as rabbits, gerbils, birds and exotics.

By Karen Pickwick

Source: Pet Business World

German health-eating chain announces plans to open in Glasgow as part of UK expansion

August 27, 2019

A German healthy-eating chain is set to open a new store right here in Glasgow. The move comes as salad bar Choppaluna announces a major expansion across the UK, with 12 locations already agreed.

Choppaluna was founded by Nikras Agha in 2015 after he and his wife saw the trend of chopped salad restaurants growing in the US.

Veggie fans will be able to taste their popular salads and smoothie bowls when the business launches its first UK in London this October.

And Glaswegians won’t have long to wait much longer.

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

Glasgow is the next location to secure its own Choppaluna along with Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester.

Bosses plan to open 60 sites across the country within five years, with Nikras hoping to see this increase to 300 in the UK within ten years.

He added: “We came up with idea in 2015 after I saw chopped salad restaurants in the US with my wife and thought it would work in Germany.

“The business has gone from strength to strength, so expanding it in the UK was the next logical step.

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“Obviously, a key part of our product is that it is healthy, but it has to taste great as well. People won’t feel like they are being short-changed by having one of our salads.”

The launch comes amid a testing period for casual dining chains in the UK, following the recent collapse of the Jamie’s Italian restaurant business.

Athif Sarwar, chief executive officer of franchise owner Hero Brands, said: “The person having salad for lunch is no longer missing out and wishing they had something less healthy, Choppaluna is bringing guilt-free indulgence and will be a true star in the fast-casual space.

By Kirsty McKenzie

Source: Glasgow Live