Kettering town centre Subway to close

January 29, 2020

Fans of all things cheese and toasted soon won’t be able to get their Subway fix at Kettering’s High Street branch.

The sandwich giant has confirmed the store at numbers 15-17, next to HSBC, is to close on July 1.

But there are already plans to open a new store to “deliver a better experience for customers”.

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

A spokesman for Subway said: “We can confirm that the Subway store at High Street, Kettering, will be closing on July 1.

“The franchise owner is actively looking for a new location to open a store in the new Fresh Forward decor and deliver a better experience for customers in Kettering.

“The franchise owner looks forward to sharing further updates with the local community and to welcoming loyal customers back to his store once a new location has been secured.”

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

There are three other Subway stores in Kettering – in Silver Street, Northfield Avenue and Linnell Way – with another found in the petrol station near the police building just off the A43.

It’s hoped the High Street unit won’t be empty for long with plans already submitted to Kettering Council to make use of it.

Applicants Fortress Two Limited want to change part of the ground floor to a flat. It would reduce the retail area from about 150 sq m to 90 sq m

Related: Subway Franchise

The plans say it would lend itself to either a restaurant or cafe or use as a financial services unit.

Planning documents added that any use of the unit after 6pm – when Subway currently shuts – would be beneficial for the area of the town centre.

By Sam Wildman

Source: Northants Telegraph

Warrens Bakery to ‘focus on growth’ after agreeing Company Voluntary Arrangement

January 28, 2020

Crisis-hit bakery business Warrens has agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its suppliers and landlords.

A CVA is a process that enables a company to negotiate the repayment of its debt, rather than filing for liquidation or insolvency.

Warrens said its suppliers and landlords had voted overwhelmingly in favour of a CVA, based on the company’s growth strategy, financial forecasts and long-term relationships.

The move follows the announcement of a major restructure by the business, which made a loss of almost £1m in its last reported financial year.

Since the announcement, it has shut 22 company-managed shops and closed its factory in St Just, stating it was no longer economically viable. Its workforce has fallen from 500 to around 350 under the plans.

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

The business also made 60 staff in production and distribution roles redundant last summer.

Warrens continues to operate 44 managed shops, and said it was committed to profitable manufacturing at its factory in Callington

“We are particularly grateful for all the support we received from bakery industry participants, which reinforces what a special sector this is, including through periods of adversity,” the company told British Baker this week.

It described the CVA as an “exciting opportunity to reposition the business”.

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“We can now focus on growth without the limiting constraints we inherited some years back,” Warrens stated. “Going forward, as well as growing our franchise arm, we will actively develop our own stores estate.”

The business has recently partnered with travel site operator SSP to open a 300 sq metre store in Gatwick Airport, and has said it planned to ramp up its focus on hospitals and travel hubs.

Warrens said the Cornish pasty would remain at the core of its business but it planned to also develop its range to meet consumer demand for a variety of products and price points.

In its latest accounts filed at Companies House, for the year ended 30 June 2018, the business made a loss of £915,000 compared to a £31,000 loss the previous year.

Warrens won the Craft Bakery Business Award in the 2018 Baking Industry Awards.

By Vince Bamford

Source: Bakery Info

Controversial food franchise Chick-Fil-A to push on with UK expansion despite closing Scottish restaurant

January 27, 2020

Controversial American fast food franchise Chick-Fil-A is to push ahead with plans to open a ‘permanent’ outlet in the UK – despite furious backlash over their funding of ant-LGBT causes.

The fried chicken restaurant closed its only Scottish location in the food court of the Macdonald Aviemore Resort earlier this month after a “pilot” period.

The decision to open the franchise in October quickly attracted criticism after it emerged the chain pumped millions of dollars into organisations which actively oppose same-sex marriage, leading Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie to organise a boycott of the hotel brand.

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

However, the restaurant has insisted the Aviemore outlet did not close as a result of public pressure, stating the closure was “in line” with their plans to trial the franchise.

A Chick-Fil-A spokeswoman said: “The Chick-fil-A at Macdonald Aviemore Resort officially closed its doors on January 18, 2020 in line with our plan for a temporary pilot licensed location.”

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“It has been our pleasure to serve guests at this pilot restaurant for the past several months, and we are grateful to Macdonald Hotels for allowing us the opportunity to learn from each and every customer.”

She added: “These insights will help us immensely as we look to having a permanent location in the UK in the future.”

Related: Chick-fil-A Franchise

In 2017, the fast food brand contributed over $1.8 million into anti-LGBT organisations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which requires staff to accept “sexual purity” and opposes same-sex marriage.

The founder of Chick-fil-A was also known to fund organisations that supported gay and transgender conversion therapy, while his now-CEO son claimed that same-sex marriage was an act of arrogance against God.

By James Delaney

Source: Herald Scotland

Plans submitted for a new Wimpy in Haverhill

January 26, 2020

A planning application has been submitted to turn the former Job Centre in Haverhill High Street into a Wimpy restaurant.

The building has been empty since May 2018 when the Job Centre was relocated to Haverhill House.

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

The application to convert the building from an office space to a restaurant has been submitted by Kemal Nafi, of Duddery Hill, Haverhill.

If approved by West Suffolk Council, the local planning authority, the fast food restaurant would employ three full/time and four part/time staff and be open from 8.30am to 10pm every day of the week.

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

There had been a Wimpy in Queen Street, Haverhill, for decades until it closed in May, 2017.

The same family had held the Wimpy franchise for about 30 years but decided to sell the business.

The new owner of the property then had other plans, said a spokesman for Wimpy at the time, meaning that the brand was then lost to the town.

Related: Wimpy Franchise

The building is now occupied by another restaurant, Jenny’s.

By Steve Barton

Source: Haverhill Echo

The last Chick-fil-A in the UK is shutting down after months of nonstop protest

January 24, 2020

The last Chick-fil-A remaining in the United Kingdom is shutting down after four months following protests over the chain’s history of espousing anti-gay rhetoric and donating to anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

The franchise, tucked away in a luxury hotel in the Scottish Highlands, spawned outrage nationwide when it opened.

The fast-food chain had previously opened another location in the U.K. that closed abruptly barely a week after opening. It also spawned protests when it opened in a shopping center.

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

The first bisexual man elected to the Scottish Parliament, Patrick Harvie, called on the hotel chain to shut down the franchise when it opened late last year. Harvie is also co-leader of the Scottish Greens party.

He pointed out that a different location gets a lot of business from Parliament and urged his fellow legislators to pressure the chain into dropping the controversial fast-food chicken franchise.

“MSPs, as well as visiting delegations from other countries, often use their hotel on Holyrood Road, and many organizations hold briefing events there when the space inside Parliament is full,” he told The National. “So we have a special responsibility to challenge them to drop their association with this toxic U.S. company which funds campaigns to undermine LGBT+ people’s safety and human rights.”

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A statement on the hotel’s website confirmed the location’s closing, describing it as a “pop-up.” When it opened, there was no indication the restaurant would be temporary.

LGBTQ activist Scott Cuthbertson started a petition when the location launched that eventually garnered over a thousand signatures urging the hotelier to dump the restaurant chain.

Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A – and current CEO’s father – donated money to anti-gay groups like the Marriage & Family Foundation, the Georgia Family Council and the ex-gay therapy group Exodus International. As recently as 2017 Chick fil-A donated $1.8 million to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a group that opposes same-sex marriage, and to The Salvation Army, a group with its own history of anti-LGBTQ actions.

Related: Chick-fil-A Franchise

The company has faced repercussions for its donations, getting forced out of college campuses and airports and protested in schools and in Canada. At the same time, conservatives made Chick-fil-A a symbol for their fight against LGBTQ equality.

The chain recently announced they would reconfigure their charitable-giving guidelines to exclude groups with anti-LGBTQ policies. The decision to backtrack after years of nonstop support from the religious right caused evangelical leaders and politicians to immediately attack the chain they had previously fought to defend so vociferously.

By Bil Browning

Source: LGBTQ Nation

Slim Chickens to replace Ed’s Diner at Bluewater Shopping Centre

January 23, 2020

A new southern fried chicken restaurant is set to open at Bluewater shopping centre. The Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) will convert their Ed’s Diner, located in the upper mall by the Showcase Cinema, into a Slim Chickens, also owned by BRG.

It is set to rebrand next month, according to Big Hospitality .

Job adverts have been posted on Indeed for two kitchen team members and a front of house employee.

We could be seeing a lot more Slim Chickens in the UK as BRG, who used to run Giraffe in Bluewater too, look to expand the franchise this year.

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

Slim Chickens prides itself on fresh hand-breaded chicken using homemade recipes cooked to order and served in a “friendly Southern hospitality”.

The menu features wings, tenders, chicken sandwiches, wraps and salads.

As a meal, these come with fries, Texas toast, bottomless soda and a choice from a variety of house sauces including garlic parmesan and cayenne ranch.

Meals are priced from £7.45 to £13.45 if you are really hungry.

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You can also get a variety of sides and milkshakes, with beer fans rejoicing at Camden Hells for £3 with a meal.

All this topped off with a jar dessert containing different variations of brownie if there’s still any room.

Founders Greg and Tom launched their first Slim Chickens venture back in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkensas.

They now have more than 80 branches in America and have opened six UK stores in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Brunswick, Soho and James Street in London.

Bluewater is set to be number seven and the first of its kind in Kent.

By Andy Robinson Senior Reporter

Source: Kent Live

Inside Love Brownies in Canterbury – the new café entirely dedicated to the chocolate treat

January 22, 2020

A new café has just opened in Kent – and it’s good news for chocolate fans.

That’s because the brand new opening in Canterbury city centre is entirely dedicated to gooey, fudgy brownies.

Love Brownies, in the former Kent Reliance in Rose Lane, is the chain’s ninth franchise in the UK.

The store, which opened on Thursday (January 16), sells a range of weird and wonderful chocolate brownies – as well as the classics.

Just some of the flavours on offer include salted caramel, coconut, double chocolate, morello cherry and raspberry.

All of its brownies are gluten-free, and a range of vegan options are also on offer.

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And it doesn’t stop at brownies either, as it also offers a breakfast and lunch menu as well as coffee and famously indulgent hot chocolates.

Writing on Facebook, a spokesman for the company said: “Canterbury we are open!

“Indulgent brownies, milkshakes and hot chocolate that has to be tasted to be believed! We also offer a tempting range of breakfast and lunch options.

“Visit us on Rose Lane, Whitefriars shopping centre.”

Love Brownies was founded in 2009 by Chantal Teal, who is also the businesses head chef.

Starting out as an online gifting site, the first shop was opened in 2016 in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and quickly became a well-established venue offering delicious luxury chocolate brownies, cakes and beautifully packaged chocolate gifts along with freshly brewed coffee.

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Now operating a franchise model, Love Brownies has outgrown its original kitchen, which is now a larger café, and opened a commercial kitchen right in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

With capacity for producing 10,000 brownies per day, all locations are supplied with hand-made brownies on a next day delivery basis, ensuring fresh, top-quality brownies at every single venue.

A mission statement on the Love Brownies website reads: “We want every single one of our cafés to be the absolute best that it can be – wherever you live you deserve the complete Love Brownies experience (trust us, it’s a real treat!).

“This means that behind the scenes we have an amazing team of colleagues, suppliers and contractors all working hard to get things tip-top.”

It adds: “Love Brownies is a delightful place to enjoy breakfast, lunch and of course, an award-winning brownie.

Related: Love Brownies Franchise

“Whether you’re a tropical coconut connoisseur or like your brownies fruity and opt for fresh raspberry or zingy orange, we have something for everyone. Oh, and our hot chocolate is to die for.

“But a visit to Love Brownies isn’t just about experiencing a taste sensation. Yes, that’s top of the list, of course. But we want to make sure you always leave feeling like you can’t wait to come back.

“Making sure that we have colouring-in and games to occupy little ones whilst they enjoy their babyccino, stocking our loo with emergency supplies in case you get caught short, and making sure that your brownie is on the house if you pop in on your birthday – these are things we think set us apart from the rest.”

Love Brownies is open seven days a week.

By Lauren MacDougall

Source: Kent Live

Domino’s Shares Gain 14% in 6 Months: Will Growth Continue?

January 21, 2020

Domino’s Pizza, Inc. DPZ is riding high on solid brand positioning, international expansion and various sales building initiatives. With a decent share price appreciation, Domino’s is currently a profitable investment choice.

Shares of Domino’s have outperformed the industry in the past six months. The stock has gained 14% against the industry’s decline of 1.8%. Moreover, an upward revision in earnings estimates for 2020 reflects analysts’ optimism in the company’s growth potential. Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2020 earnings has moved up by 0.5% to $10.55 per share. Let’s delve deeper.

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

Robust Same-Store Sales & Unit Expansion Bode Well

The pizza category is a fast-growing segment in the U.S. quick-service restaurant industry and Domino’s is one of the largest pizza chains worldwide. In the United States, the company is the market leader in the delivery segment and ranks second in the carry-out division. Notably, the third quarter of 2019 marked the 34th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales, domestically.

Since Domino’s earns a chunk of its revenues from outside the United States, it remains committed toward accelerating presence in high-growth international markets to boost business. The company’s international growth continues to be strong and diversified across markets, courtesy of exceptional unit level economics. Notably, the third quarter of 2019 marked the 103rd consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales in its international business. Globally, Domino’s opened 829 and 1058 net stores in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Also, in the first nine months of 2019, the company opened 574 net new stores.

Related: Food Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Furthermore, many international franchisees are steadily generating robust returns. Apart from the established markets such as Canada, Japan, Italy, the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland and South Korea, the emerging markets like Brazil, China, Indonesia and Turkey have been posting solid growth. Australia, Russia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia are also gaining momentum.

Domino’s continues boosting sales through regular limited time offers (LTO). Moreover, the company is investing heavily in technology-driven initiatives like digital ordering to boost sales. By the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, the company will launch GPS tracking technology. Meanwhile, it has started driverless pizza delivery services in Houston, TX.

Related: Domino’s Pizza Franchise

Focus on Franchising Favors Earnings

Domino’s has a wide franchise network, both domestically and internationally. Reducing the company’s ownership of restaurants and focusing more on re-franchising minimizes its capital requirements and facilitates earnings per share growth and ROE expansion.

In addition, free cash flow continues to grow, allowing reinvestment for increasing brand recognition and shareholder return. In fact, the company has increased dividend by 25%, 24%, 23%, 21% and 20% in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, after initiating regular dividends in 2013.

Moreover, Domino’s is less susceptible to food inflation courtesy of franchising compared with other pizza companies with global operations. The company’s recapitalization deal also makes cash available for potential special dividend and share repurchases, subject to the board’s approval. During third-quarter 2019, it announced a new $1 billion share repurchase program.

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

Crussh on hunt for new CEO as Shane Kavanagh leaves business

January 20, 2020

The CEO of London-based health food chain Crussh is leaving the business after fours year at the helm to take on “a new challenge”.

The fast food retailer has kicked off a search for a new boss to replace Shane Kavanagh and lead the next phase of growth at the company as it aims to become a national and international fmcg brand.

During his time as CEO, Kavanagh has grown Crussh’s 28-store, London-focused estate to 35 outlets, including the brand’s first sites outside the capital, in Birmingham and Bristol. He has also forged franchise partnerships with food-to-go group SSP and facilities management giant Sodexo, as well as launching an exclusive retail range with Sainsbury’s.

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

Crussh rolled out a selection of its health pots and wraps in more than 300 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK earlier this month, following a successful trial last year.

Crussh executive chairman Jonathan Hart praised Kavanagh for his role in the “transformation” of the healthy food and juice chain.

“Under Shane’s leadership Crussh has successfully evolved a strategy of franchise, concession and product supply, which is now delivering significant results,” he said. “In tandem with this, Shane has navigated the core business through the most turbulent times ever faced by London’s food-to-go marketplace.

“With the prospect of rapid growth for our product supply business, we now have a fantastic opportunity to develop Crussh as a national and international fmcg brand alongside our company-owned franchise and concession stores.

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“Crussh has the potential to significantly build on its leadership in the healthy food-to-go sector and we are looking forward to finding someone with the skills and experience to take Crussh on to this next exciting phase of our development.

“We have an outstanding team at Crussh and I would like to thank Shane for creating a great future for Crussh and for leading the business with such passion and energy. He leaves with our best wishes.”

Kavanagh will leave his CEO role at the end of February, retaining an advisory position while a new boss is recruited. Hart will lead the business and, together with the rest of the senior team, will pick up Kavanagh’s responsibilities until a replacement is found.

Founded in 1998, Crussh Fit Food & Juice Bars runs 35 outlets across London, the south east, Bristol and Birmingham.

By Edward Devlin

Source: The Grocer

Marlborough burger joint ruffles feathers with saucy sign

January 19, 2020

OWNERS of a burger franchise which recently opened in Marlborough are baffled by a row over their signs.

The Bite Me burger and chicken restaurant, which opened just before Christmas on Kingsbury Street pledging to bring top quality burgers and chicken to the town, has got one of its near neighbours in a pickle.

The sign with its slogan Get Plucked, with the tagline ‘Chicken. It’s Our Plucking Business’ is ruffling some feathers, with offended people claiming the sign is inappropriate for a town like Marlborough, and is out of keeping with the town.

“I come out of my front door and see this,” said Daisy Southend, of Silver Street.

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“I find it really rather offensive and it irritates my eyeballs on a daily basis.”

Bite Me sells a range of what it describes as up market mini burgers and operates as a franchise business across the UK and globally. The sign is part of their international branding and is used on all its premises.

A Bite Me spokesman said: “I am honestly surprised by this reaction.

“The restaurant is proving very popular, and has been full most nights since it opened. And is is very popular with an over 60s age group.

“We have just opened a branch in Dubai, which is quite a conservative place, and we haven’t had anyone complain there!”

The row is now extending beyond the controversial sign back to the original planning application put in to allow the premises to be used as a restaurant.

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“We were told this restaurant was going to be a Raymond Blanc Brasserie,” said Daisy. “Not this tacky burger joint.

“I feel we agreed to one thing and got another.”

The original planning application also included the renovation and conversion of the old barn behind the restaurant and Ms Southend claims this was ‘sold’ to residents as being for the Brasserie Blanc chain.

At the time the company told the Gazette they were ‘in talks’ about a possible move to Marlborough but have since said they now have no intention of moving to the town.

The application for the barn, and an extension and the formation of four bedrooms, was approved in February 2018.

Bite Me says the barn is scheduled for renovation work later this year.

A spokesman said the barn would be used to increase the capacity of the restaurant.

Daisy Southend is still not happy. “It’s just not the right thing for Marlborough,” she said.

Source: Swindon Advertiser