KFC to reopen 80 more restaurants for delivery across UK

April 30, 2020

KFC is to reopen 80 more restaurants for deliveries as it becomes the latest fast food chain to ramp up its plans in response to the coronavirus lockdown.

The fried chicken chain has gradually opened 20 of its sites over the past two weeks for deliveries only.

It said it will now reopen an additional 80 restaurants across the UK this week, taking its total to 100 by Monday.

The chain, which has over 900 sites nationwide and employs around 24,000 people, shut all its restaurants last month due to the coronavirus lockdown.

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The raft of reopenings comes as rivals including Burger King and Pret a Manger also push forward in restarting operations for deliveries.

McDonalds said on Tuesday that it is carrying out tests behind closed doors this week in preparation for reopening sites.

KFC said it will serve a “limited menu” to help smaller kitchen teams maintain social distancing, while “stringent processes and hygiene measures” are in place.

Paula MacKenzie, managing director for KFC UK & Ireland, said: “I’m really proud of the way we, with our franchise partners, have been able to carefully get some of our restaurants back open for delivery over the last two weeks.

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“This next stage allows us to continue to provide wider access to hot food for those who need it most, whether that’s key workers after a long shift or those working from home who need a quick, affordable dinner for the family.

“I’m hugely appreciative of our team members who have returned to work – it’s a challenging time for everyone, but we’re so glad to play our part in helping to feed the nation.”

Food will be delivered through Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, it said.

The company also said it will continue to donate meals to the NHS and key workers, committing to deliver 10,000 meals a week in partnership with Deliveroo.

Related: KFC Franchise

Meanwhile, Burger King said on Wednesday that it hopes to open at least 350 of its restaurants by the end of June as part of a staggered reopening after the lockdown.

It has already announced plans to open 12 restaurants out of its current crop of 500.

Speaking to the BBC’s World At One programme, UK chief executive Alasdair Murdoch said: “We would anticipate that by the end of June, we will be getting towards 350 and 400.

“We see that some of the others will be difficult to open – some are in airports.

“At this stage none of us really have the visibility on when they might do.”

He said a scaled-back menu would allow staff to socially distance while making the food, with the arrangements being put into place for drive-through restaurants, and with trials set to start on how to reopen high street walk-in locations.

Source: Evening Express

Greggs choosing 700 UK stores to try and re-open in June

April 27, 2020

Greggs is in the process of selecting 700 stores to re-open in June.

The popular UK bakery chain has shared an update to staff about its plans to get shops open again during the current coronavirus pandemic.

All Greggs stores closed on March 23, the day the country went into lockdown.

In an update to staff CEO Roger Whiteside said that after a successful loan application to the Bank of England, the company can now plan for how to reopen the business with “new measures in place that keep our colleagues and customers as safe as we can.”

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He said stores will re-open in phases and staff must understand that they will not be able to operate normally and stores “must-have new social distancing and hygiene measures in place to continue to provide protection” for staff and customers.

To start with, 20 Greggs shops in the Newcastle area are set to re-open.

Mr Whiteside said: “This small trial will aim to start on May 4 with a limited product range and shorter trading hours. We believe that we will require at least two weeks to evaluate this trial and the plan is that the shops will stay open thereafter.”

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If the Newcastle trial is successful, Greggs plans to open more stores.

Mr Whiteside added: “We are currently in the process of selecting about 700 shops to reopen, including approximately 150 franchise shops, as the first large group of shops to re-open with our new tested operational measures in place.

“We expect it will only be possible to open this many shops if the government has taken a first step in relaxing the lockdown which could be to open the schools. This, in turn, would allow an increased number of people to return to work.”

The stores being reconsidered have not been revealed yet.

Greggs is hoping to re-open those stores on June 8 but says the timing may change depending on future government announcements.

In the update, Mr Whiteside said he hoped all shops could re-open with new operational measures in place by July 1, which is when government furlough support is currently scheduled to end.

By Katrina Chilver

Source: Hertfordshire Mercury

Ovenu founder Rik Hellewell urges Business Secretary to adopt Australian COVID-19 initiative to get tradespeople back to work

April 26, 2020

Rik Hellewell, the founder and managing director of oven valeting franchise Ovenu, has written to Business Secretary Alok Sharma urging him to examine an Australian initiative that is already helping tradespeople return to work responsibly and safely.

As part of a phased reduction to lockdown restrictions in the UK, he is calling on him to introduce an online training module to cover the fundamentals of COVID-19 infection prevention and control to help more small and medium-sized businesses make a gradual return to work.

However, he insists the initiative should support rather than replace the strict social distancing measures and be used in conjunction with government advice on avoiding the spread of infection.

The Australian government is allowing the owners of small and medium businesses to access an online training course which was designed for medical staff and those working in the healthcare sector.

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Having passed the course, tradespeople are able to display their certificate which encourages public confidence in their ability to remain safe while working.

In the letter, Mr Hellwell said: “The lockdown appears to be having its desired effect and it may be time to turn our thoughts to the gradual easing of restrictions.

“This initiative is an additional measure that would give people the necessary confidence to invite reliable, professional and certified tradespeople into their homes.

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“I urge you to recognise the value of this easily accessible training tool and ask you to support its introduction in this country. Encouraging more people back to work will surely mitigate the worst effects of the recession that surely awaits us.”

Ovenu operates more than 100 franchises across the UK, the majority of whom are owner operators, currently unable to earn a living and contribute to the nation’s economy – despite a demand for their oven cleaning services.

However, the company’s franchisees in Australia are already returning to work having completed and passed its government’s online COVID-19 training programme.

There, they are displaying their certificates on their vans as a way of highlighting to both the public and their clients that they are taking every measure possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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Rik said: “Our franchisees in this country are prudent tradespeople who, prior to the lockdown, were already following social distancing measures as well as cleaning down equipment, work surfaces and their vans.

“I believe the introduction of a similar online training programme here would add a further layer of protection that could enable all tradespeople to return to work in a responsible and safe manner and resume delivering the services people require – in most cases with minimal or zero human contact.

“It may have to be phased in over a period of time or might initially apply to certain service sectors or client groups, but the government must think about the best way it can get more people back to work and begin to refuel our drained economy.”

Source: BDaily

Razzamataz Supporting New Parents Through The Pandemic

April 25, 2020

Having a baby and toddler is a blessing but it of course comes with its challenges. Through this pandemic, the difficulties have manifested for everyone so it’s no wonder parents are stressed and anxious.

It is common to feel overwhelmed trying to care for a baby and a toddler and what gets most people through, is being part of a community of other new parents so you can discuss sleeping, feeding and any worries as well as laugh at all the shared funny experiences that you have.

The impact that Covid-19 will have on mental health is still to be discussed but what is known is that there is a lack of support through interaction with others. This combined with parents having to juggle work and other commitments, it truly is a difficult time for many.

The Dragons’ Den backed franchise Razzamataz Theatre Schools launched its Early Years classes as a result of the demand for more activities for younger children and their parents to do together. Classes start at just six months and are aligned to early years social and emotional development. This means that during the classes, the children get involved in sensory play, creative learning and interactive experiences, which will help to support their individual milestones. But as well as the benefits to the child, the classes have provided a sanctuary for parents to meet up to share experiences and create memories.

With the closure of schools, nurseries and play centres, Razzamataz made the decision to take their classes online, to provide the social interaction that has been missing. In order to do this, the classes have been kept to limited numbers to allow teachers to give one to one time and a respite for busy parents.

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“In much the same way in which you would go to a class with your baby and young child, these classes have been structured so the teacher can engage with each student so the parent can be confident that we will keep the child’s attention,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz. “The aim of the class is to give parents a respite and a chance to have quality time with their child. We won’t be asking them to buy in lots of additional toys or equipment, everything that we use in the class are just common household items because we understand that parents don’t have the time to be prepping for each class.”
As well as enjoying the activities where the children are brought into an exciting adventure in performing arts, there will be time at the end of the session for parents to interact and feel less alone. The classes have only just rolled out and already the feedback has been hugely positive as a parent at Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield explains: “Thank you and can’t express the gratitude I have for you and Razzamataz and being so ‘on it’ at this time. As a single mum in a one-bedroom flat you’ve been an absolute life saver of Isiah’s and mine’s mental health.”

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To keep families going through the week, the teacher will set little activities that they can work on and show in class, giving the children a strong focus and provide some structure, which is very much missing at the moment for many people. “We really miss our Tiny Tots classes with Tara, I am looking forward to breaking up the week, having some fun and being a part of a group again,” says mum from Razzamataz Tyrone. “Sharing our experiences with each other now being at home with young children will be a nice change during these strange times.”

For some parents, taking the classes online has given them the flexibility to be part of their child’s exciting performing arts journey as a Razzamataz Tots mum in Omagh, Northern Ireland explains: “As a teacher, I haven’t had the opportunity to attend classes with my daughter as she normally goes with her granny. I am looking forward to experiencing the class with her myself now with the new online classes, she can’t wait to see Tara and Razz Ted again.”

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As well as the regular classes, there will be some special additional opportunities including fitness classes that parents can join in with too. Many of the schools are also going live on Facebook with fun activities such as quizzes, drama games and bedtime reading.

The online classes will replicate a real class as much as possible, with dedicated time throughout so children and their parents can ask questions to teachers, connect with their classmates and become confident performers on screen. For parents, there is a pay as you go option, with no monthly commitment or direct debit so families can dip in and out depending on their circumstances. The classes are open to existing and new students.

Source: Franchising

TaxAssist Support Centre awarded 5-Star Employer status for second year running

April 24, 2020

Following an employee satisfaction survey carried out by independent research agency WorkBuzz, TaxAssist has once again been named as a ‘5 Star Employer’.

Above benchmark results compared to businesses of a similar size and industry, has led to TaxAssist Accountants being awarded the ‘5 Star Employer’ accolade for the second year running.

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One of the biggest challenges faced by many organisations is recruiting and keeping the best talent available in their respective sectors.

And within the UK’s ever-changing job market, employees’ expectations are constantly evolving – they want to feel secure in their roles particularly at times such as the present, have faster career progression expectations and demand instant change in their workplace based on their feedback.

What has made gaining WorkBuzz 5 Star Employer status unique, is that it is based on confidential feedback from employees, who are invited to complete Engagement Surveys on a regular basis.

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Karl Sandall, Group Chief Executive Director, said: “We are incredibly proud that TaxAssist Accountants has once again received this award and to have received such positive feedback from the 60 members of staff at the Support Centre.

“With the world experiencing unprecedented levels of uncertainty and change right now, I hope this accolade gives our franchise network a much needed boost, knowing that they are fully supported by a happy and engaged workforce who are committed and dedicated to helping and guiding them through the months and years ahead.”

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Steven Frost, CEO of WorkBuzz, said: “For several years, we’ve been helping leading organisations gather feedback from their employees, to improve employee engagement and reduce staff turnover. Through the WorkBuzz 5 Star Employer awards, we will now be able to recognise employers who are truly leading employee engagement to improve the working lives of their people.”

For more information on the award click here.

Ecocleen expands franchise territories

April 24, 2020

Contract cleaning company Ecocleen is creating new franchise opportunities in the UK following a record year in 2019.

The business has created seven new franchise territories across England and Wales.

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The available areas currently include Bristol, Bath and South Wales; Tees Valley; The Midlands; Oxfordshire; Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire; North London; and South London.

Jean-Henri Beukes, Eecocleen managing director, said: “Last year, we implemented a strategy to build-up our client base in areas without an existing franchisee, taking advantage of a rising number of business enquires due to our growing brand and reputation.

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“On the back of £2.5m worth of new business across the network and the acquisition of Regency Cleaning Company, we now have a number of territories with a sizeable turnover that are ready for an entrepreneurial franchisee to step in and expand.”

The purchase of Henley-based Regency Cleaning Company added 130 new contracts and 500 staff to Ecocleen.

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By Storm Rannard

Source: Insider Media

Cath Kidston closing all UK stores to trade permanently online

April 22, 2020

Vintage-inspired fashion chain Cath Kidston has announced it will close all 60 of its UK stores to trade exclusively online.

Earlier this month the struggling retailer appointed Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) as its administrators but it has now confirmed that its parent company Baring Private Equity Asia, will buy the brand and retain the its e-commerce platform and franchise and wholesale businesses.

This means that Cath Kidston will now become a digital-only retailer, with shops including its outlet store at Cheshire Oaks, shutting for good.

Only 32 out of the retailer’s 940 UK employees will retain their jobs to continue running the business online, according to national reports.

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Melinda Paraie, CEO of Cath Kidston, said: “While we are pleased that the future of Cath Kidston has been secured, this is obviously an extremely difficult day as we say goodbye to many colleagues.

“Despite our very best efforts, against the backdrop of COVID-19, we were unable to secure a solvent sale of the business which would have allowed us to avoid administration and carry on trading in our current form.”

Cath Kidston used to have a branch on Chester’s Eastgate Street but it closed in June 2018, having been a fixture in the city centre for six years.

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Its trade could have been affected when an outlet store opened at Cheshire Oaks in April 2017.

A spokesperson for Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), said: “While we are disappointed that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in the cessation of the retail store network and impacted many employees, we are pleased to have secured a future for a number of Cath Kidston staff and the Cath Kidston brand in the form of a viable digital business.”

The brand was set up by Cath Kidston in 1993 and has more than 200 outlets around the world.

By Carmella de Lucia

Source: Cheshire Live

Franchise Brands rises as plumbing businesses see continuing demand

April 21, 2020

Franchise Brand PLC’s (LON:FRAN) drain specialist businesses, Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps, have seen ‘continuing demand” for a majority of their services, which have been designated as essential under the UK government’s pandemic rules.

In a trading update released after the close on Monday, the franchise business said it expected the B2B division, which includes Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow, to continue to trade profitably during the coronavirus lockdown, adding that in the first quarter of the year, underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the division were 42% higher year-on-year, while growth in Metro Rod system sales accelerated to 19% from 14%.

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Meanwhile, the company’s B2C division, which includes its brands ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad, was 5% ahead of the prior year in the first quarter, although the company said it had “significantly reduced or eliminate” franchise fees as the pandemic impacted customer demand for the franchisee’s products from early March.

Franchise Brands added that it has taken a number of actions to preserve cash and strengthen liquidity, including staff furloughs and salary cuts for its board and senior management.

Looking ahead, the company said its first-quarter EBITDA was up 27% on the prior year, and that this added to its cost-saving measures meant it should be able to generate a positive but reduced adjusted EBITDA through the period, with a “strong recovery” anticipated in the key B2B division as business premises were re-occupied.

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The B2C arm is expected to mount a slower recovery, with the firm estimating a full quarter for activity levels and income to be fully restored.

Share placing

Franchise Brands also unveiled plans for a share placing to issue up to 19.9% of its current issued share capital, with certain directors and senior management to participate to raise a minimum of £2mln.

The placing will be conducted through an accelerated bookbuild by Dowgate Capital and Allenby Capital and began immediately following the announcement on Monday.

The company said the placing will provide additional working capital funding, improve its liquidity and eliminate its overall net debt as part of efforts to ensure it has “a strong balance sheet and is well placed for the recovery once the [coronavirus] crisis subsides”.

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Franchise Brands added that the placing will help position it to take advantage of “earnings-enhancing external growth opportunities”, saying it had “considerable interest” in acquisitions to expand the range of services offered by Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps.

“The group had strong momentum ahead of the [coronavirus] crisis, with Q1 trading showing significant growth on the prior year and a continuation of the accelerating rate of sales growth in its B2B division in particular. We have taken all the necessary actions to enable us to trade through this current uncertain period profitably, albeit at a significantly lower level”, Franchise Brands’ executive chairman Stephen Hemsley said in a statement.

“We see considerable opportunity across our businesses and this Placing will ensure that we are very well-positioned to capitalise on external growth opportunities as we emerge from the [coronavirus] crisis”, he added.

The company’s shares rose 1.1% to 93p in early trading on Tuesday.

By Calum Muirhead

Source: Proactive Investors

Oltco Colchester helps recycle 30 million plastic straws

April 20, 2020

ECO-CONSCIOUS home improvers in Colchester have helped recycle the equivalent of 30 million plastic straws… by having their driveways resurfaced.

Oltco Colchester has been leading the way in the implementation of the firm’s Recycle Bound technology, which uses waste plastic to create brand-spanking new resin driveways for customers up and down the country.

Since the technology launched a year ago, it has recycled the equivalent of 30 million plastic straws nationwide.

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Liam Dorian launched the Colchester franchise of the firm last summer and has since installed the technology for customers in Colchester and Tendring.

He said: “Recycle Bound has been hugely successful and we are grateful for all the individuals, and companies based in Colchester, who have come on board in a bid to help us tackle the global issue of plastic waste.

“We are proud to have already installed Recycle Bound in areas including Colchester, Tiptree and Clacton.”

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The Recycle Bound product took two years to develop and uses the equivalent of 3,000 plastic straws over each square metre of driveway, meaning on a standard 50 square metre drive, the equivalent of 150,000 plastic straws would be recycled in the process.

It is already winning serious praise in the environmentally-friendly business world, including being named runner up for Recycled Product of the Year in the National Recycling Awards.

Commercial firms are now taking notice and it has been used on large scale projects such as hotels and visitor attractions across the country.

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Tom Stringer, Oltco’s co-director, said: “We have been thrilled by the response to Recycle Bound.

“Every member of our team has fully embraced it and it has proved hugely popular with our customers, both residential and commercial.

“The number of customers who are asking for it to be used on their driveways, patios and paths is growing all the time.”

He added: “It is a totally awesome product which is hard wearing and will last for years and helps rid the world of some of the plastic waste.”

By Robbie Bryson

Source: Essex County Standard

Domino’s employees can get paid after every shift

April 20, 2020

Branch, the challenger bank that partners with employers, now offers Domino’s employees faster payment options and financial wellness tools.

What’s happening: Branch signed an integration agreement with Servant Systems, the software developer for the system Domino’s franchises use for payroll and other store information.

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  • Current store payment systems demand large quantities of cash on-site, which can lead to higher levels of theft, loss, and administrative time.
  • With Branch, Domino’s franchise owners can instantly pay employees wages, tips, and mileage onto the Branch digital wallet and debit card, without requiring pre-funding, cash reserves, or changes to payroll.
  • Along with faster payment options, franchises can also provide employees financial wellness offerings including fee-free checking accounts, an overview of projected earnings, and budgeting tools.
  • Branch is the first same-day payment provider to be integrated directly into PULSE, Domino’s franchise office system.

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“Domino’s has become synonymous with fast, reliable delivery, thanks to their dedicated employees and innovative tools like PULSE,” said Branch CEO Atif Siddiqi.

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Source: Tearsheet