American chicken chain Slim Chickens plans Liverpool opening

November 10, 2018

An American restaurant chain which specialises in hand-breaded chicken tenders, marinated wings and house sauces is planning to open in Liverpool. Slim Chickens, which has more than 70 outlets across the US, could be set to replace Ed’s Easy Diner on Lord Street.

Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) has submitted plans to Liverpool City Council for the fit out of Ed’s into the first Northern branch of Slim Chickens.

If given the go-ahead, fowl fanatics can look forward to sampling Slim Chicken’s signature buttermilk marinated chicken tenders as well as chicken sandwiches and chicken wings.

Other items include Southern-style sides ‘mac and cheese’, fried pickles and Texas toast – with milkshakes, fried pies and jar desserts making up the sweet side of the menu.

Tom Gordon and Greg Smart founded Slim Chickens in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2003.

BRG secured a UK franchise deal with Slim Chickens USA at the start of the year before launching a restaurant on London’s James Street in March – with a Cardiff branch expected to open before Christmas.

The group’s other food brands include Giraffe, Harry Ramsden, Fish Works and Ed’s Easy Diner.

Source: YM Liverpool

Restaurant chain Burger Singh plans to open 100 outlets in India in three years

October 15, 2018

When it comes to expansion, Burger Singh is not only expanding in India. In August, the company announced its entry into the UK market through a master franchise deal.

Home-grown restaurant chain Burger Singh is planning to raise around Rs 50 crore in series B funding by early next year. The chain that opened its first drive-through in Gurugram is planning to open 100 outlets in the next 2-3 years.

Kabir Jeet Singh, Founder and CEO of Burger Singh said, “We expect to achieve breakeven at the company level by this year-end. Post that we will begin talks to raise series B round of funding of about Rs 50 crore. We will look at roping in institutional and PE investors with a long-term vision,” as mentioned in a report in The Hindu Business Line.

Singh said that by the end of the year they expect to have 40 operational outlets, adding that they’ll first look at expanding in the northern and eastern regions. Besides Delhi-NCR region, they are also planning to expand in Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kolkata.

The fast casual restaurant that was launched in 2014 expects to open 100 outlets by 2020-21. As a strategic measure, these stores are all going to be small-format stores. They will be around 500 sq ft and will focus on home delivery. Singh said that the primary focus is on strengthening the company’s footprint.  Singh said that they have adopted a disciplined strategy of looking at small format stores for quicker returns on investment instead of getting into flashy retail locations with high rentals, as mentioned in the daily.

Moreover they are also keen on expanding through franchisee-owned company-operated model. As for the drive-through model, Singh said that they are usually located on highways in India but they believe it is going to work better within city limits and suburbs. That is the strategy they are planning to adopt.

When it comes to expansion, Burger Singh is not only expanding in India. In August, the company announced its entry into the UK market through a master franchise deal. Two outlets are already operational there and another 18 will crop up in the next three years.

Burger Singh that had already raised $1 million in pre-series A funding from investors currently operates 25 outlets, most of which are in Delhi-NCR, as well as in Pune, Nagpur and Dehradun.

Source: Business Today

Latest award-winning fast food franchise in bid to open in Co Armagh

October 11, 2018

The latest fish and chip shop franchise ‘Chipmongers’ has set its sights on opening its fourth outlet in Northern Ireland in County Armagh.

Leading retailer Musgrave is behind the award-wining new kid on the block name and now has 10 outlets – with seven of these based in the Republic, including Dublin and Cork.

It was last year that Chipmongers arrived on the Northern Ireland fast food scene with a flourish and it boasts three here – at Lisburn, Limavady and Ballymena.

It promises a ‘twist’ on the traditional chippy and as part of its expansion plans aims to open in Craigavon.

The proposed location is next to the recently-opened Centra store and filling station at Lake Road.

Chipmongers is intending to become the tenant for the vacant unit within the development, which was constructed in March this year.

It was built with approval as a retail unit.

But now a change of use application has been made to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to allow for a fast food outlet.

The application has now been publicly advertised.

Chipmongers is the latest fast food franchise and is proving a huge success, boasting “proper chipper chips”, as well as great Irish burgers, fish and chip suppers, ‘chipper nipper feasts’ and delicious chicken meals.

The franchise also runs themed meals on a limited edition.

And one of the twists comes from the fact that people can add their choice of ‘shake a flavour’ salt to their meal – including cajun salt, spicy or chicken salt!

Chipmongers is undergoing major expansion north and south and has been looking for franchisees as part of those plans.

According to Chipmongers: “Franchisees that join the group benefit from an award-winning brand identity and store design that stands out from the crowd.

“At the heart of our brand is a passion for offering delicious, no-nonsense take away food that is a cut above the rest. That includes using fresher, better quality ingredients.

“We only use 100% Irish beef in our burgers. Our chicken is always fresh, never frozen, and pressure fried for a juicier bite. Our fish is freshly battered using our signature lighter batter recipe. We also keep things fresh with unique options, like our ‘shake a flavour’ chips and topped chips.”

The proposals are out to public consultation and a decision expected in the next number of months.

It is just the latest taste treat on the way for Craigavon, with both Nando’s and Five Guys now open at Rushmere.

Source: Armaghi

How UK’s Leon redefined the fast food industry

October 8, 2018

Ask Leon Restaurants Co-Founder Henry Dimbleby to share lessons learned in launching his fast food fast casual brand and be prepared to take notes, to learn and to laugh as he relates how he and Co-Founder John Vincent went about establishing the quick-service brand and vision of what fast food should be.

The partners, who began sharing their philosophy of the future of fast food during work commutes over 15 years ago, have been bonafide fast food lovers since their respective childhoods: Vincent’s go-to was McDonald’s; Dimbleby was a Burger King fan.

As a child, Vincent would hit the floor in full-blown exultation when his parents said they were heading to McD’s. Dimbleby recalled reciting a marketing campaign slogan during his younger years’ BK orders (‘they are flaming tasty’) to get a free Whopper.

Simply, they shared a common view of fast food and what it had become: “Magic — before we found out it was killing us.”

“We asked ourselves that there must be something better, surely that has to be another way,” said Dimbleby during his opening keynote at the three-day Fast Casual Executive Summit that kicked off Sunday evening at the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington. The summit, run by Fast Casual’s parent company, Networld Media Group, draws restaurant executives interested in learning and networking via interactive sessions.

Making fast food a good life

In 2002, Dimbleby called Vincent and told him he was going to do it — redefine and re-create fast food as fast food with a purpose. And Vincent didn’t pause in his response, telling Dimbleby he was on board.

The goal, said Dimbleby, was to “create something very different,” and both envisioned the new fast food as a good life — a life in which one feels good without feeling guilty. It was about changing fast food for the future, said Dimbleby, “giving children better fast food than we had as children.”

The business partners, both with consulting backgrounds in other industries, put their planning skills to work, and, as it turns out, way too much planning into play. That was the first big lesson learned and one of many in the quest to innovate the fast food industry.

The extended planning even included sketching out a restaurant floor plan and design on a U.K. car park in chalk and using cardboard boxes for counter locations. They spent three days in the car park in that undertaking.

The lessons continued when the first location, on Carnaby Street in the U.K., opened in 2004.

The co-founders learned how one technical operational glitch could push back a location launch by weeks when a ventilation system failed. During those weeks the hired restaurant team spent their days training.

It was, simply, “insanity” in terms of redundancy planning, shared Dimbleby.

After one day of serving customers, the co-founders decided to slash the menu in half and realized they needed to educate customers about their food to eliminate the looks of ‘fear’ when first-time customers lined up at the counter.

“We called it the ‘Leon stare’ as new customers found themselves in a panic of what to order,” he shared to audience laughter.

“We had put so many barriers up at first between us and the customer on what we were doing,” he added.

Another misstep was initially not using photos of menu items but going with a handwritten chalk-created menu board. Once they reversed that poor decision order sales jumped 25 percent, he said.

One year after its first location opened Leon was awarded “Best New Restaurant in the UK” by the Observer Food Monthly and opened its second restaurant, in Ludgate in the U.K. that year as well. In 2006 it officially became a ‘chain’ brand. By 2008, Leon was publishing its own cookbooks and launched brand collectibles in 2011.

The brand now operates 52 sites across the U.K., three in Holland, and this year opened a Leon in Washington, D.C., the first step toward a goal of 10 to 15 locations in the area as well as locations in Denver and west coast. It’s also planning a franchise strategy for Europe.

In those early days the brand was “building a car while at the same time driving it 100 miles per hours on the track,” Dimbleby said.

But along the way the co-founders learned from each lesson and the vision and philosophy became more defined: fast food not fast casual, fast food fun factor, fast food pricing, product brand, proper food, a way of living.

“We are a way of living,” said Dimbleby.

In choosing its brand name, Leon, the co-founders didn’t go venture from home. The brand is named after Vincent’s father and reflects the brand’s mentoring focus and vision.

If they had an opportunity to redo the business strategy, Dimbleby said they would likely not be as planning focused or as cautious.

He also warned off summit attendees from focusing too much on business books for guidance and advice.

“There are a million ways to success,” he said, adding, that, yes, luck plays a part.

Source: Fast Casual

REACHING FOR THE CROWN: Inside Burger King UK with CEO Alasdair Murdoch

September 6, 2018

A change in the franchise structure of Burger King UK has given the fast food chain fresh impetus and a focus on expansion again. FEJ was at the Commercial Kitchen show to hear CEO Alasdair Murdoch give a candid account of his plans to correct some of the “missteps” that have held the business back and give the likes of McDonald’s a proper run for its money.

Alasdair Murdoch is a man who knows what a good burger tastes like, but more importantly he has a precise understanding of what it takes to prevail in a quick-service restaurant sector that is having to adapt to the unique needs of the modern consumer.

Over the years he has worked for the likes of Pizza Hut and KFC in a senior operational capacity, while more recently he spearheaded Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s ascent in a casual dining market that has served as fertile hunting ground for a new generation of contemporary burger chains.

His current assignment involves restoring Burger King’s presence in the UK market and leading a star-studded industry team that successfully gained the rights to the brand in the UK last year. Plans are afoot to launch 25 new outlets this year, and between 30 and 50 a year over the next few years, as part of an effort to regain scale having dropped from a peak of 700 stores to 500 now.

Backed by private equity firm Bridgepoint, which has just sold Pret, Murdoch’s management team includes Casual Dining Group chairman Martin Robinson and its former CFO Tim Doubleday.

They secured the master franchise agreement for Burger King UK and acquired Caspian, one of the UK’s largest Burger King franchisees with 70 restaurants, in simultaneous deals last year.

Getting both agreements over the line concurrently was “quite difficult”, admitted Murdoch during his keynote session at Commercial Kitchen, but ultimately it was fundamental to the entire strategy as it could not risk being in the position of owning the master franchise rights but not having any restaurants under its jurisdiction.

The Caspian takeover gives it a platform to build a portfolio of restaurants that it controls, with further acquisitions likely. Having now had a few months to get his feet under the table, Murdoch insists the chain is firmly geared up to growing its footprint.

“We think there is a very significant opportunity with Burger King; I suppose we’d liken it a little bit to having a start-up with a global brand — there was literally no-one in the organisation and it has been great fun in the sense of pulling together a whole team from different backgrounds.

“Ultimately, despite perhaps a series of missteps that the organisation has taken over the last five, six, seven, eight years — and that is no disrespect to the franchisees at all — and despite some big issues we have had, the restaurants take quite a bit of money, they are still profitable and there is a significant opportunity out there.

“There are 500 Burger Kings and 1,700 McDonald’s; each McDonald’s does significantly more volume than Burger King, so there is some very obvious opportunity without just necessarily chasing McDonald’s. You can see the size of the market and we think the market is pretty open.”

Murdoch acknowledges that the growth potential of the business has suffered from successive years of ownership changes in the UK, which led to a lack of consistency.

“Every time Burger King was poised to go on another sort of growth cycle, they’d perhaps change the management again, and I think for the most recent part there has perhaps been a lack of reinvestment into the brand itself. If you go into a lot of our restaurants they are perhaps more tired than we would want — not all of them — so I think there are some fairly obvious opportunities around those sorts of areas,” he says.

We have a number of restaurants as well whose coffee machines don’t work, there are those sorts of issues, which are really quite gritty but those are the realities and we just have to work out the order to do them all in”

Murdoch concedes that Burger King has had a “history of closing restaurants, not opening them” but he insists the current management team intends to “reverse” that process.

“A lot of time is being spent on finding the right pipeline. I think one of the opportunities that we are benefitting from is that the slowdown in the market that other people are struggling with means that landlords are much more realistic about rent, and secondly there are many more sites available. We are not finding it difficult, at all, to find opportunities. Those opportunities might be two years away but we see a lot of opportunities from a real estate point of view in a way that people perhaps weren’t seeing a year ago.”

The master franchisor is making a “big investment” to grow its estate, with between 20 and 25 openings planned in 2018 and between 30 and a 50 a year over the next couple of years. Of the 500 sites it currently runs, 170 are in “captive” locations, such as train stations, airports and motorway service stations. Such destinations will continue to be a central feature of the strategy moving forward.

Murdoch has already alluded to the difference in scale between Burger King and McDonald’s, but it is inevitable that the two will always be the subject of comparisons. What is his view on how the two chains stack up in the UK?

The chain intends to trial a remodelled breakfast offering this year.

“I think McDonald’s executed extremely well and will carry on doing that, but there are obvious opportunities that we see around the edge. Being a smaller, more agile, more challenger brand gives us opportunities, but McDonald’s is a very well-run business and has been for a long time.”

He acknowledges the success McDonald’s has had with coffee and breakfasts especially, while the breadth of beverages it now offers has not gone unnoticed. “They are very good at that and they probably have a bigger marketing budget than almost any other company within the UK. That is not why they are successful, but one begets the other thing.”

He admits that he holds a “different view” on their product, but then as boss of Burger King you wouldn’t expect him to say anything else.

“One of the great things about Burger King is, of course, customers still talk to us about the quality of the Whopper, the quality of the burger and the flame-grilled experience, which gives an aspect to that taste. The quality of the Burger King burger we would see as being significantly better than what McDonald’s has to offer, and I don’t think I am speaking out of turn there. I am sure they would disagree, that’s their right, but I think there is some real mileage potentially in that kind of approach,” he says.

If Burger King is going to make up ground on its rival, it’s going to have to increase its investment in technology. Its current ePOS system is at least 12 versions behind the original, there is an abscence of wide area networks in its restaurants and the company’s digital presence is nowhere near as sophisticated as its rivals. Murdoch is confident that having access to self-owned stores will soon change that.

One of the great things is that customers still talk to us about the quality of the Whopper, the quality of the burger and the flame-grilled experience, which gives an aspect to that taste”

“One of the big opportunities, or growth levers, for us as a business is to build our own restaurants and to run them because then we can put in the latest look and feel, the latest technology, and we can really drive those operations,” he comments.

It’s fair to say that one of the biggest changes since Murdoch first entered the industry is the rise of delivery. Even QSRs need to think carefully about where delivery fits into their model. What is his take on that?

“I think there is a very big opportunity with delivery, which we haven’t got right yet, but I don’t think any of the QSR players necessarily have got it. I think it takes a bit too long and the margins are quite difficult because the burger product that might be selling is relatively low-priced. You need a high average spend to get delivery to work, but there is significant latent demand and you know that because of the drive-thrus — people are driving there for convenience and taking it home. It is finding a way to do it so the customers get great service and everyone can take a little bit of money out of it, too.”

It also comes back to that issue of technology again. Until it has the ability to fully integrate its delivery platform with its ePOS system and reduce the potential for error, it’s unlikely that all of its estate will be tuned into third party delivery. It is certainly on Murdoch’s to-do list, but it’s not the only thing.

Building stronger relationships and improving the company’s menu offering are also firm priorities. Breakfast is one area where the brand could be doing more.

“We have a number of restaurants that theoretically open for breakfast but don’t open until 9 o’clock in the morning, which would seem a little bit late to me. We have a number of restaurants as well whose coffee machines don’t work, there are those sorts of issues, which are really quite gritty but those are the realities and we just have to work out the order to do them all in.

“We will work on breakfast and later in the year we’ll probably trial a remodelled breakfast offer with one of our captive partners, so maybe a motorway services operator, before pushing that out to our restaurants. Alongside that, I think we have a very complicated menu. If you are not a regular Burger King user, you go in and it is slightly daunting and difficult to understand, so we’ll need to simplify and reduce.”

There is no denying that an awful lot of transformation lies ahead, but Burger King UK certainly knows what it needs to do to reign supreme.

Burger King says kitchen suppliers need to excel to make its approved buying list

Burger King’s ethos for buying kitchen equipment is less about price and more about service, its UK CEO has claimed.

Alasdair Murdoch, who runs the business that holds the master franchise for Burger King in the UK, says the overall value and after-sales service that an equipment supplier can add will ultimately make the difference when it comes to future purchasing decisions.

One of the challenges for the UK arm is that it must abide by a list of globally-approved suppliers that it can buy from. And while it can apply for new suppliers to join this list, the complexity involved in securing approval means it has to be absolutely worth it.

He said: “In order for us to make the effort to say that we would like to approve this new supplier selling us this bit of kit they have really got to be offering us value. And it’s not really about price — I think price is obviously an important factor but we need more added value.

“What we are particularly interested in is after-service and after-sales at a decent price, not a ridiculous price where you can’t make any money, but we don’t want stuff that when it goes out of warranty the price for it to be serviced goes through the roof.”

Murdoch added: “Clearly we need to be seeing efficiencies and savings — that could be in oil though fryers as an example, that could be in heat, that could be in reduced amounts of power — that’s what everyone is coming to us with but you need to be trying to create a long-term relationship.”

Burger King UK is embarking on an expansion drive that is likely to see it open between 20 and 50 new stores a year over the coming years. That will see a fresh injection of investment aimed at helping it bridge the gap between rivals such as McDonald’s and KFC.

Murdoch, who was speaking at the recent Commercial Kitchen show, described the chain’s kitchen operations as “incredibly unmechanised” and suggested there was a big opportunity for this to change in the future.

“There are lots of fantastic [suppliers] but I don’t quite see the technology there as yet. What we are beginning to see is a lot of efficiency, so we see a lot of people driving much better uses of power and much better uses of oil. They are obviously very interesting, but I also think we must be able to mechanise some of the other stuff that we do as well, which we don’t see being done successfully or properly anywhere in the world at the moment.”

Source: Food Service Equipment Journal

Gastronomy Foods: Spearheading the franchise industry by giving back to local communities

August 10, 2018
As KFC franchisee Gastronomy Foods leads the growth of the fast food in the UK, it has sought to retain its people focused culture whilst driving quality results

For over 70 years, Kentucky Fried Chicken, now popularised as KFC, has captured the hearts (and appetites) of its customers. Turning the restaurant industry on its head upon launching in the UK in the 1960s, the brand has become the second-largest restaurant chain worldwide, developing services and products which are quick, high quality, and most importantly, so delicious that customers come back for more.

Increasingly busy lifestyles have led to the exponential growth of the food and beverage industry, where it has amassed $90.173mn in revenue in 2018. KFC franchisee Gastronomy Foods has been part of the brand for over a decade, successfully enticing new and existing customers with mouth-watering products in alignment with local tastes and preferences, whilst housing a unique, people-focused culture.

Behind the franchise’s ongoing success, owner Akram Khan’s passion for the brand is clear to see. From working as a part-time cook at the age of 16, his emphasis on excellent products and exceptional hospitality, with a focus on speed, has seen the brand recently amass a turnover of £52mn. With 15 stores under his umbrella, seven which are drive-through outlets, the business has acquired a further 22 KFC drive-through outlets at £30mn. Now operating 37 KFC’s, Gastronomy Foods will aim to build three more by the end of 2018.

“The thing I liked about KFC was the providence. Fresh chicken, handmade, in store. These are the things that really appealed to me”

Organic growth

Primarily launching Gastronomy Food’s first KFC restaurant in Chingford, East London in 2002, Khan was always inspired to give back to local communities and enable his workers to succeed.

“The thing I liked about KFC was the providence. Fresh chicken, handmade, in store. These are the things that really appealed to me. My aspiration was always to be the overseer of 200 people, working in our business,” he says.

“I spent five years with that one particular store, starting off doing £6k a week in sales. We made the store one of the best in the country, and in a few years, we had doubled our weekly sales and had the highest year on year (YoY) growth of 12% over four years. My operating standards were also one of the highest in the UK and Ireland, and in 2004 and 2005, I was recognised by YUM! Brands as ‘Franchisee of the Year.’

However, in order to develop the brand further, Khan created a shortlist of the franchisees’ that were planning to retire or sell their stores, targeting all areas in the UK.

“One guy, based in the Midlands, North Wales wanted to sell. He had seven stores in Shropshire and Shrewsbury and had run the business for over 40 years. The stores all needed work but had great development potential,” he explains.

Acquiring the seven stores in 2006, on top of the existing restaurant in Chingford, Gastronomy Foods has slowly built up its portfolio, spanning Rhuddlan, Aberystwyth, Stoke-On-Trent, Holyhead, Shropshire and Shrewsbury. Working alongside property company LARS Investments, the business now supports over 1,500 staff members.

However, it has not all been plain sailing for Gastronomy Foods. The credit crunch in 2007 occurred as the company was in the middle of building its store in Aberystwyth and relocating two other stores.

“I had been promised bank funding of close to £1mn, but the bank pulled the plug on the loan a week before I needed it,” explains Khan.

“Nonetheless, I was determined to achieve my goals, so I borrowed as much as I could and managed to cover £600k and the rest through leasing equipment.”

Following a move to HSBC in 2011, the company has gone from strength to strength, where Khan now spends up to 40% of his time driving the brand forward, and the remaining time at Gastronomy Foods.

Growth of convenience

As customers continue to turn to food outlets which can deliver food that is quick, tasty and high quality, Gastronomy Foods has placed significant investment in introducing new digital tools to support its ongoing services.

“We’re putting kiosks into 90% of our stores and are spending a lot of time with people like Google, Facebook and Amazon to see what technologies to factor in and see how we can get our products to customers in the most convenient way,” Khan says.

“This year, we will do 13 refurbishments, costing approximately £3mn. Getting our assets right is key, where we refurbish our stores every five years. Bladon & Kirkham look after all our new store openings and refurbishments and are fantastic.”

Additionally, the company has added eight new Starbucks, fully diversifying its portfolio and embracing brands that evolve with its customers’ busy lifestyles.

“I looked at Starbucks versus Costa and went with Starbucks as I didn’t like the Costa brand and the provenance of their coffee,” explains Khan.

“I like Starbucks’ principles and where their coffee comes from. With every cup of coffee, a percentage goes directly back to farmers. So, again, the same kind of giving principle, providence, authenticity, Starbucks had that people-focused approach.”

“We have worked with NIS over the past four years and they do both our KFC’s and Starbucks signage. They’re great guys to work with and nothing is too much trouble.”

A Trustee for the “KFC Foundation” charity, which donates around £2mn a year to worthy causes in the UK like Children’s hospices etc., Khan strives to take people on a personal and professional journey.

“I took an Area Manager on, who had previously worked for the company as an operational auditor, and I made him a shareholder as long as he helped to deliver our goals. That gentleman now owns 20% of a £50mn business which is still growing,” he says.

Gastronomy Foods has also become home to cooks which have worked their way to become shareholders, partners, managing directors and in Khan’s position – franchise owner. Internal, organic growth is clearly at the core of the business, where the majority of managers have been with the company for close to a decade.

Placing heavy emphasis on the welfare of its staff, Khan remains keen to visit stores to gain essential feedback regarding new, fresh ideas to bring to fruition.

“Some of our best ideas come from our staff in store, where the managers bring them forward. We get a lot of feedback from our people on the ground because they know what’s going on and know how to get things done,” notes Khan.

“KFC is situated in over 130 countries worldwide, so we also look at what’s worked well in different markets and share best practices and products to see what suits our market.

“Our zinger double down is soon being launched. You have the double down, which is two pieces of fried chicken, double cheese, bacon, sauce and no bun. It’s really popular,” he continues.

“Last year, people were saying, ‘we want the zinger version of it’, which is amazing.”

Challenging the status quo

Renowned across the food and beverage industry worldwide, KFC is often in the limelight. Although the recent furore surrounding the brand’s change of UK delivery contractor from Bidvest to DHL led to what has been described as ‘The KFC Chicken Crisis,’ Khan states optimistically that it has bought a number of positives to the business.

“I think a lot of people still don’t realise that we sell fresh chicken. This really came through in the advertising and comments across social media. We are continuing to dispel some of those myths around the use of processed food,” he says.

KFC have also launched open kitchens across the UK, enabling customers to grab tickets and join the house kitchen, have a go at cooking at various outlets and see how the brand operates.

Becoming one of the four franchisees who sit on KFC UK and Ireland’s advertising board, and appointed as Co-Chairman of KFC UK and Ireland’s Franchise Council, Khan has also become a company Director of KFC Advertising Board Ltd.

“As part of the advertising board, we take 5% of our net sales and put it towards all kinds of advertising: TV and digital, as well as social media. Any new product development also comes through this board, what we should and shouldn’t be launching. This can range from anything to do with the supply chain, operational issues, etc.,” he adds.

Channelling strong values and principles, and adopting a cohesive family atmosphere, Gastronomy Foods seeks to make decisions collectively, enabling every employee’s voice to be heard.

“It’s not about the bottom line. My lifestyle doesn’t change, whether I have 10 stores or 300 stores. My proudest achievement is how many people we look after,” notes Khan.

“When we build a new store, I sit there and you think, ‘we wouldn’t be employing all of these tradesmen and all of these different companies, if it wasn’t for putting ourselves on the line and saying yeah we’re going to do this, we’re going to borrow the money from the bank and we’re going to build this.’

“If you look at North and mid-Wales and the number of people that we employ, some places were really struggling,” he continues.

“When we first opened Holyhead KFC down in Anglesey, 80% of our staff were long-term unemployed as there were no jobs. When people shake your hand and say, ‘thank you so much for this opportunity, I haven’t been able to find a job for the last three years’, that’s such a lovely feeling.”

As Gastronomy Foods continues to expand, Khan will remain steadfast in providing the best quality services, products and results. Currently resting at 37 stores, Khan aims to reach £120mn turnover, with over 60 stores under his belt.

“I want to try and do this with the same family values. I’ve seen companies get big and people don’t know who anyone is, that’s the bit I don’t like,” he adds.

“I want to be the best at what I do, and I don’t care whether that’s mopping the floor or running a company. I don’t believe in mediocrity. I want to be hero or zero, make me the villain or make me the hero, nothing in between.”

Source: FDF world

Phillippines’ Jollibee plans to open 500 more stores worldwide as part of overseas drive

July 25, 2018

Philippine fast-food company, Jollibee Food Corporation, is set to embark on its one of its most aggressive store expansion programmes yet, with plans to open up to new 500 new stores this year, according to senior executives.

The Manilla-listed company said it will enter new markets including Malaysia, Indonesia, UK and UAE as it looks to expand its international operations.

It’s also keeping an eye out for potential mergers and acquisitions overseas.

Boasting annual sales of around $3.4bn, Jollibee also said in a that it was keen to add Mexican food to its US portfolio either through an acquisition or joint venture.

The CEO of Jollibee, Ernesto Tanmantiong, said that a budget of $131mn has been set aside for the cost of the expansion plan, according to ABS CBN News.

In May, Jollibee had 4,239 stores across 21 territories and 12 brands. The Philippine firm’s portfolio includes Smashburger in the US, Highlands Coffee and Pho24 in Vietnam as well as Dunkin’ Donuts in some Chinese territories.

Jolibee’s plan to open 500 new stores in 2018 will represent the highest number of store openings in a single hear throughout its history.

“The launch of the new restaurants is driven by strong demand from customers, thereby bringing the brand closer, not only to the larger Filipino community present in the country, but also to several other nationalities, which we hope will now have the opportunity to experience a new culinary delight,” Jollibee UAE CEO, Hisham Al Gurg, told Gulf Business.

“We remain dedicated to supporting the growth of the F&B sector, particularly the quick service restaurants segment in the country, with the launch of several additional restaurants over the coming years.”

“The business had shown resilience in the past and we expect it to continue to do so. We expect revenues and profit to continue to at least sustain its historical growth rates in 2018 and in the years ahead”, he added.

Source: FDF world

Leon restaurant outlet to open in Dublin

July 8, 2018
Leon, the multiple award-winning healthy fast food chain which has grown to more than 50 restaurants is to open its first location in Dublin.

The UK-headquartered group has won plaudits from food critics including Jay Rayner and Giles Coren, as well as a fistful of awards over the years. The company has also produced a number of best-selling cookbooks and teamed up with UK retailer John Lewis to launch a cookware range.

Cibus Concepts, a new franchise partnership established by Waterford accountant Stuart Fitzgerald and his business partner Brian McIntyre, intends to roll out as many as 20 Leon restaurants across Ireland by 2023.

The two have considerable expertise in casual dining, with Mr Fitzgerald in particular part of the team which holds the master franchise for the Freshii concept in the UK.

Having opened its first restaurant in Carnaby Street in 2004, Leon has expanded to 55 locations, most of which are in Britain.

Dublin represents the fifth international city location for the company, which has previously opened branches in Oslo, Amsterdam and Utrecht, and is due to launch in Washington DC in the coming months.

Mediterranean food

The Leon menu includes dishes that predominantly draw on Mediterranean food culture, with Moroccan meatballs, grilled halloumi wraps and kefir smoothies among the offerings. It was co-founded by John Vincent, renowned chef Allegra McEvedy, and Henry Dimbleby, the son of the veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby and food writer Josceline Dimbleby.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Fitzgerald said the company was currently scouting locations for the first Irish branch of Leon, which he said would be in Dublin city centre.

“The Leon offering is completely different from anything available in Ireland and Irish people are going to love it. In Ireland, we’re famous for enjoying a bit of fun and having the craic, but even the Irish haven’t yet managed to make fast food fun,” he said.

“Pretty soon, people in Ireland are going to be able to enjoy healthy, fresh and flavourful fast food in an environment where the focus is on excellent food, speed of service, a big warm welcome and fun. We’re launching in Dublin later this year and can’t wait to get cracking,” he added.

Hailed by London Times restaurant critic Giles Coren as “the future of fast food”, Leon is growing at a rate of about 15 new locations a year.

It announced plans to open at least 50 sites between 2016 and 2020 and has a longer-term goal of having 500 restaurants up and running by 2026.

“It has, for many years, been an ambition of ours to be in Ireland but we needed to wait until we found Irish partners who can give Leon the love and focus it deserves. Stuart and his team are ‘Leon’ people. They are positive, courageous and like a good time,” said Mr Vincent, the chain’s chief executive.

Overall, Leon has raised about £60 million (€68 million) in funding to date, which includes £25 million in development capital from Spice Private Equity and Active Private Equity last year.

Source: Irish Times

Revealed: The five international food franchises set to take the UK by storm

June 26, 2018

The next big food franchise will come out of Latin America, experts have claimed, with a number of chains eyeing up global dominance in the next few years.

Peruvian sanguches, completos and plátano mixto have been tipped as some of the foods that are likely to disrupt the fast food scene across the world.

Hispanic takes on hot dogs and doughnuts have also been cited as potential disrupter franchises.

Western franchises have dominated the fast food sector across the world up to now, with McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway among the biggest companies in the world.

Krispy Kreme was launched this century and now has over 400 sites across the US, with the doughnuts also widely supplied in garages and convenience stores around the world.

But recent research published in the International Business Review suggests the global franchise picture is changing.

The research focused on the huge expansion of Brazilian franchises as well as others in Latin America.

And according to Leonardo González Dellán, the fast food scene is ripe for expansion.

He said: “The bottom line is that franchises that originate in emerging markets are doing better in other emerging markets than ones that originate in more economically developed countries (MEDCs).

Venezuelan chain Churromania (Image: Trip Advisor)

“This is because these businesses do not see high levels of corruption or inefficiencies in doing business as unacceptable obstacles to opening up.

“Indeed, the evidence suggests that Brazilian franchise chains, in food and other sectors, do not see corruption as necessarily inhibiting their ability to do business in emerging markets and the least developed countries in Latin America.

“In short, they are better able to deal with problems around contracts, complex or contradictory regulations and political instability.

Peruvian chain Pasquale Hnos (Image: Facebook)

“More generally, emerging market multinationals (MNEs) are more prevalent in less developed countries compared with traditional MNEs – they turn their own experience into a competitive advantage.

“With these business experiences behind the teams who have made a success in the Latin America look set to take the world by surprise”.

Doggis are as big as McDonald’s in Peru and other Latin American (Image: Instagram/doggis)

There are a number of key chains that are growing and look set to rapidly expand across Latin America and ultimately the world.

They represent the first sustained challenge to come out of the emerging economies to long dominant US franchises.

Some of these chains are not yet in a franchise model but their competitive advantage and the pressing need for a reinvention of the Latin American food sector, will propel forward.

Five to watch

Baleadas Express

Honduras – served on flour tortillas, quick, fresh and very well regarded locally and in 100 restaurants across the country. They also serve hot dogs, plátano mixto, and enchiladas and are ripe for expansion.


This Venezuelan company opened in 1997 in Puerto La Cruz and has a foot hold in the US in Florida and Texa. It will be the next big thing in doughnuts.

The Californian Burrito Company

This company was founded in Buenos Aires in 2006 and has spread its operations across the region with openings in Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Uruguay joining its four other stores in Brazil.

Pasquale Hnos

Founded by the most famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, these five joint sells primarily Peruvian sanguches, chicha morada and Peruvian desserts.


Quick service hot dogs that are as big as McDonald’s in Peru and other Latin American countries, know as “completos” – topped with a guacamole-like paste made with avocado and mayonnaise. Set for world domination.

Source: Mirror

Do you fancy owning your own Subway? Here’s how you can make that happen

June 20, 2018

If you have ever dreamed about running your own sandwich empire by being in control of a chain of Subway shops then now could be your chance.

The fast-food chain is on the lookout for new franchisees to run around 75 new stores they wish to open across the region.

In ambitious plans bosses at Subway state they want to grow their portfolio of shops from 215 to 300 in the next five years, creating more than 750 jobs in the process.

At the moment all of the stores in the area are owned by franchisees – who employ 2,000 people.

To get started you’ll need money to invest in buying a restaurant, as well as one-off “franchise fees” which can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

Franchisees also need to be prepared to make a long-term commitment to running their fast-food outlet – with McDonald’s for example demanding a 20-year contract.

However, running a franchise can be a seriously lucrative venture, with one entrepreneur telling of how he went from earning £25 a week to becoming the biggest McDonald’s franchisee holder in the country.

The new Subway stores will be opening in Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

All development of Subway across these areas is overseen by regional development agent Neil Denny.

He said: “We have ambitious plans to grow in the region, so I am really keen to hear from local people who are looking to fulfil their dreams of owning their own businesses and becoming their own boss.

“We are the number one QSR brand in the world and offer an excellent opportunity for ambitious individuals keen to join a world-renowned brand with a tried and tested franchise model.

“Franchising is a safer route to business ownership, offering many of the advantages of independent start-ups, but with the added reassurance that the system really works and there is a robust support infrastructure in place.

Inside a typical Subway store - could you see yourself owning one?
Inside a typical Subway store – could you see yourself owning one? (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“Many of our franchisees start out with little or no experience in the food industry, but all possess a strong work ethic, customer-service focus and a passion for Subway.

“All our new franchisees undergo extensive training and are provided with ongoing support and guidance by our experienced team. It’s testament to the success of our franchise model that over 70% of new stores are opened by existing franchisees.”

Neil said: “We believe there is still room to grow. To succeed we need the right people, with the right blend of leadership, team work, customer service and ambition to become new franchisees and help us deliver our growth target.”

(Image: Handout)

Neil added: “The new store decor provides franchisees with a new opportunity to open a modern and customer-focused store. I’m excited about working with even more local entrepreneurs to open more stores throughout the region.”

Across the UK and Ireland, Subway has plans to increase the number of stores to 3,000 by 2020, creating around 5,000 new jobs.

Source: Liverpool Echo