European Master & Multi-Unit Franchising Conference Debuts in London

November 9, 2018

The first-ever European Master & Multi-Unit Franchising Conference debuted this past October 23-24 in London. The conference, which drew 173 registrants from 15 countries, was produced by Franchise Update Media and MFV Expositions and was held at the Park Plaza Victoria London.

The two-day event focused on providing educational sessions and networking opportunities to multi-unit/multi-brand franchisees and master franchisees looking to expand in Europe or enter the U.S. market. Attendees included both U.S. and European multi-unit and multi-brand franchisees, as well as franchisors, consultants, suppliers, and attorneys specializing in international franchise growth and development.

Catherine Monson, CEO of the U.S. brand Fastsigns International, opened the conference with a keynote speech called “U.S. & Global Perspectives.” Fastsigns has more than 675 overseas locations spread across 8 countries, and is looking for more.

The tracks and content, tailored to the needs and interests of expansion-minded global franchisees, included a blend of master and multi-unit franchisee topics and experiences, as well as the most current data to help attendees make the best decision on how to grow their business in a new country.

Sessions and panels included the following: Multi-Unit Franchising vs. Master Franchising; Why & How Franchise Brands Grow Outside their Home Country; Updates on International Franchise Law with a Focus on the U.S. and Europe; The International Multi-Unit Franchise Agreement; and more.

The second day featured two concurrent breakout session tracks: one for multi-unit franchising (Choosing the Right Brand; Building Infrastructure; and Growing from Management to Leadership); and one for master franchising (Franchisee/Franchisor Relationship and the Master Franchising Agreement; Building Infrastructure with Budgets for Selling Franchises; and Franchise Sales Process and Programs). Panels for these sessions included both U.S. and European franchisees, franchisors, attorneys, and consultants.

“The show for us was very interesting, and the networking dinner/cocktail was also fruitful. The level of different people who were speaking was great and we have learned a lot,” said Marc Hostyn, a master franchisee in Belgium for Bagel Corner. “In one word, it was a success.”

The reception and dinner was hosted by HSBC UK Bank. In all, there were nearly 30 sponsors who participated in the event, from both Europe and the U.S., along with 50 franchise brands and product and service providers on the Expo Hall floor.

“I thought the conference was executed exceptionally well,” said Ted Torres, a longtime U.S. multi-unit hotel franchisee. “The content was truly high-level and amazing. Personally, I learned a lot not only from the main panelists, but also from my fellow panelists. For a first-time production in London, the team did an exceptional job.”

“It was a really good show for us,” agreed Shery Christopher, director of franchise development at Brooklyn Fitboxing, a brand founded in Spain with 87 units there, two in the U.S., and a lease signed for a third.

Christopher, based in Tucson, Arizona, spent 20 years as a franchise consultant focusing on bringing international brands to the U.S. She said Brooklyn Fitboxing had never attended a franchise trade show before, and that it was a good experience and generated a lot of interest from multi-unit operators in both England and the U.S.

“I think it turned out really well. They did a great job with it. They had some really good speakers and multi-unit operator attendees who had important things to say and share with the audience. I hope it will grow as the Las Vegas multi-unit show has.”

With plans for a 2019 European Master & Multi-Unit Franchising Conference already in motion, the goal is to continue providing an event that provides an intimate forum for international franchise business leaders to grow profitable franchise enterprises, based on the facts and on the experience of successful European master franchisees and multi-unit operators.

Source: Franchising

Coup for OnTheMarket as it signs Britain’s biggest franchise agency

October 23, 2018

OnTheMarket has this morning announced that franchise giant Belvoir will list all of its 300-plus branches on the challenger portal.

This includes the full range of Belvoir sales and lettings properties through its Belvoir, Northwood and Newton Fallowell brands.

“We have for some time believed that the property portals landscape was ripe for disruption. OnTheMarket is the first serious contender for several years to be injecting genuine competition in the interests of agents and property searchers alike” says Belvoir’s chief executive Dorian Gonsalves.

“It is agents who provide the portals with the majority of their content and income. It is also agents who serve their clients and property searchers on the ground in selling, letting, buying and renting property” he continues.

“I’m very pleased to be announcing our strategic support for OnTheMarket as an agent-backed business and am confident that with agent momentum building it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Karen Millen buys Coasts UK operations out of administration

October 12, 2018

Under Karen Millen, Coast will trade primarily across its various websites, in concessions across the UK and through wholesale and franchise partners. Coast’s solus stores and the concessions on mainland Europe are not included in the deal.

As a result around 600 members of staff will transfer to Coast however around 300 are still left with an uncertain future. Coast was owned by Aurora Fashions, which also owns retailers Oasis and Warehouse. The retailer had numerous concessions in House of Fraser and was owed millions after the department store chain itself collapsed earlier this year.

Karen Millen said it is “confident that it can leverage its product expertise and existing global relationships to drive growth potential across Coast’s sales channels”.

Beth Butterwick, CEO of Karen Millen, said: “We are excited to be welcoming over 600 Coast employees to the Karen Millen family. With its beautiful fabrics, stunning colours and signature designs, Coast is a much-loved fashion brand that has dressed women for all occasions since 1996. Our expertise and infrastructure puts us in a unique position to create a lean and profitable business, ensuring it remains a thriving destination in department stores and online.”

Source: Retail Sector

World Franchise Associates Signs Deal With Great Harvest Bakery

September 14, 2018

World Franchise Associates has signed an agreement with Great Harvest Bakery to exclusively represent it globally. Great Harvest Bakery will be represented for development opportunities in Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Gulf Cooperation Council, United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada.

World Franchise Associates is an international franchise development consultancy, marketing and media company. It assists franchisors to enter new international markets and provide international franchise advisory services to corporate and private investors.

Paul Cairnie, Chief Executive Officer of World Franchise Associates, said, “Great Harvest is an exceptional brand for investors. Everything is made fresh, on-site and locally—nothing frozen or packaged. The brand’s freedom franchise model allows for flexibility for success including menu, pricing, local decor/design. And the brand’s partnership with Artisan Italian Coffee Roaster Caffe D’arte offers a superior full line coffee and espresso program”.

Started as a bread bakery in Montana, Great Harvest Bakery Cafes has transitioned to a place where customers can sit down and enjoy a freshly made sandwich. The company bakes all of their bread from scratch, with fresh milled Montana wheat. The brand has become successful because of its five simple ingredients, including freshly milled, perfect kernels of wheat.

Source: Franchise India

Clydesdale tipped to start buying spree after investors back £1.7bn Virgin Money takeover

September 11, 2018

Shareholders have backed Clydesdale bank’s £1.7bn all-share takeover of Virgin Money, and top investors believe it could start a buying spree.

The combination of the two FTSE 250 lenders will create a bank with six million customers and £83bn worth of assets. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

A top 10 investor in Virgin Money told The Telegraph he expected the tie-up to be the first of many.

“The combined group will have quite a lot of surplus capital,” he said. “CYBG has a chance to create a challenger bank that actually has some heft and can compete effectively against the big banks.

“Another takeover is unlikely in the next few months, but early to mid next year they could be in a position to do another deal.”

Investors in both firms voted in favour of the deal today, with more than 99pc supporting it. However, some Virgin Money shareholders rebelled against a resolution giving the bank’s chief executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, a £619,000 redundancy payout, on top of a termination payment of £1.1m.

She will also receive a bonus owed to her of £1m, taking her golden goodbye to more than £2.6m. The vote passed, but with 13pc voting against.

Ms Gadhia will not join the board of the combined bank, but will work with it as a consultant for up to 18 months. Clydesdale chief executive David Duffy will lead the enlarged firm.

City sources said TSB could be a tempting next target for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG) – despite its high profile IT woes – as well as the smaller lender OneSavings Bank.

City analysts have previously told The Telegraph TSB’s IT meltdown made it more likely Spanish parent Sabadell would sell the UK bank.

“If a third party came along and looked at the business there’s a much higher probability that they would sell now,” John Cronin at Goodbody said.

The top 10 investor, speaking ahead of today’s vote, said the integration of Virgin Money should be “relatively straightforward” as it has few current account customers to transfer, potentially paving the way for a buying spree.

Source: Telegraph

The rise of the franchise

September 11, 2018

Franchises are popping up everywhere – that’s the whole point of them. Whether it’s an automotive company, a fast-food establishment, or a chain of pubs, many business hopefuls use franchising as their route to market. There are currently over 120 industries that have franchised companies, with the franchisee normally receiving help with their site selection and development support, operating manuals, brand standards, quality control, training and business advisory support from the franchisor.

Here, we look at some of the UK’s top franchises, how they got there and what we can learn from them:



The first Wetherspoon was opened from a former bookmakers’ store in North London in 1979. It was initially named Martin’s Free House, before changing its name to Wetherspoon earlier the following year. The company’s chains initially only expanded in North London.

The company opened its first pub which had a no-smoking bar in 1991 in North Finchley, before moving more into Central London, with their first pub in Liverpool Street Station. The following year, the first airport pub was opened in Heathrow and in the same year they were also named J D Wetherspoon plc, opening their 50th pub.

After that things started to move even faster, moving out of London in 1993 and opening pubs in Bracknell and Norwich. By 1994, the chain had reached an impressive 100 pubs and ventured as far north as the Midlands. The business kept expanding and moving into new territory throughout the 90s, with further establishments opened in Manchester, Wales and Scotland. 1998 saw the 300th pub open and its rapid expansion saw them reach 500 pubs being open by 2001. The 600-mark was reached in 2002 as the breakfast revolution got underway as all pubs opened six days a week to serve the first meal of the day.

The company proved it was adapting to change when they added free Wi-Fi to all of their pubs, and in 2007 the first wedding was held. The 700th pub was launched in 2008, with the 800th following in 2011 and 900thin 2013. Nowadays, the company employs over 35,000 staff, and owns 948 pubs and hotels.

Key business features

Festival spirit: Wetherspoon is a great advocate for embracing the festival spirit. They currently are involved in a biannual beer festival with 60 beers on tap.

Key travel locations: The chain makes sure it positions its pubs in key travel locations, including train stations and airports. You can currently find them in Aberdeen, Birmingham International, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Liverpool John Lennon, Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow and Stansted airports, and near train stations around London, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Meal deals: Wetherspoon offer some great meal deals which are extremely popular. They include the initial Curry Club and Steak Club, Chicken Club, Fish Friday and Sunday Brunch and offer a drink alongside them.

What can businesses learn from Wetherspoon?

We see that location is crucial and people absolutely love offers. Wetherspoon’s have succeeded most by being flexible and adapting to their environment.



In the 1930s, John Gregg began a delivery service, delivering eggs and yeast on his pushbike to families in Newcastle upon Tyne.

It was after having this delivery service that helped local families bake their own bread for over 10 years that John Gregg opened a small bakery on Gosforth High Street in 1951. It was a single shop with a bakery at the rear. This allowed Greggs to begin baking quality bread with flour that was milled from specially selected wheat for that distinctive Greggs taste and texture.

When his father died, Ian Gregg took the reins of the family business in 1964. Under Ian’s leadership, Greggs developed a good reputation for selling products which were quality and of great value. The company also started to grow in size by buying regional bakery retailers across the United Kingdom and, by the 1970s, they had shops in Scotland, Yorkshire and the North West.

The company’s expansion was well underway by 1984, when there were more than 260 shops in four areas of the country. For the first time ever, Greggs was on the Stock Exchange and they continued to expand, opening shops in the Midlands, Wales and North London.

During the noughties, Greggs continued its rapid growth. By investing in a large Technical Centre, the company was able to focus on developing an array of new recipes while improving old favourites.

Key business features

Keep it local: Today, Greggs has almost 1,700 shops nationwide, while still being rooted in their local communities. That means that, while there is the popular national range, regional favourites can be found in their stores depending on where you are.

Lookers Group


John Looker initially sold bicycles, parts, accessories, and the odd used car when he founded the company in Manchester in 1908. By 1910, the business had forged with a garage owner in the centre of Manchester. Primarily a Ford dealer until the First World War, the company was thriving so much that the garage had to be rebuilt in 1911 to accommodate all the business that it had generated.

It was appointed a distributor of Austin motor vehicles in 1918 and continued its growth by acquiring a number of garages in Lancashire and Cheshire. John Looker retired in 1929, but the business didn’t falter. During the Second World War the Austin factory was committed to the war effort as the country fought.

Fast forward a few decades and the business’s first major acquisition took place in the 60s when the Group moved into Yorkshire. By 1973, their headquarters had moved from Hardman Street to Chester Road – their current base today. At the same time, the company became a listed company on the London Stock Exchange.

Lookers is now one of the top three motor vehicle retailers in the UK with a host of Motability deals, representing 32 manufacturers and selling car types at 150 franchised dealerships.

Key business features

Value your people: the Group received top employer UK 2017 and 2018 accreditations and recognises that you must look after your own to be a success.  By acquiring several local businesses, including Benfield, the Group understood the need to keep the local feel of the businesses while softly implementing their own touch.

While these are just three examples from a huge pool of successful franchises, it’s clear that the franchise world is going to continue growing, regardless of the industry you choose. By providing you with a ready-made business model and allowing you to keep your skills sharp while joining an already thriving business, you may feel as though you have a greater chance of success. So, budding business owners out there, make sure you research any possible franchises that could be of interest to you before jumping in feet first with your idea!

Source: SBNN

To franchise or not to franchise?

August 22, 2018

Considering a new career in the franchise world? Here are some questions you should answer to understand if the franchise business model is right for you.

Are you new to business?

If you don’t have any formal experience of running your own company, franchising may be one of the best business opportunities available to you. That’s because you’ll be working under a brand that already has significant market exposure and operates with a proven business model.

This minimises your risk and increases your prospects of achieving a profitable and sustainable business.

If you were to start an independent business from scratch, you’d have to go through all the trials and tribulations of turning the concept into a business model and achieving brand recognition.

This can be very costly and time-consuming, especially if you’re new to enterprise.

Do you want to be part of a robust business network?

Being a franchisee doesn’t just give you the opportunity to run and operate your own company under a franchise business model.

You’ll also have the chance to network with fellow franchisees, gain insights into how they’ve built their companies under the same brand, and be part of a large, supportive community.

In fact, franchisors often arrange networking events free of charge and encourage maximum participation. After all, it’s in their interests to get franchisees to exchange ideas and find new ways to drive the network forward, especially when more people are buying into a franchise with the same brand.

This means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stay up-to-date with your industry and learn about the latest trends and ideas.

Plus, gaining new business contacts and sharing your ideas can help you stay motivated and focused, especially when your franchise is still in its early stages. On the other hand, a solo entrepreneur might not have the opportunity to attend these types of events and learn from other business leaders face to face.

Is there a specific industry you’d like to work in?

The chances are you’ll enjoy a much higher sense of job satisfaction if you run a franchise in an industry that you’re passionate about and/or have experience in.

For example, someone with experience of managing a restaurant or who has a passion for food is more likely to enjoy running a catering or restaurant franchise, whereas a former athlete or exercise enthusiast may find success running a gym franchise.

Is the franchise model you’re considering going to survive?

Make sure you research the franchise industry so you can determine whether the underlying business model is sustainable.

For instance, some franchise models can become obsolete when a competitor comes up with something much cheaper and more efficient. Consider the viability of a video rental franchise in the early 1990’s, before the invention of the DVD player in the early 2000’s. And things continue to change. Investing in a DVD franchise now would be a dangerous move, as sales have fallen drastically thanks to the boom in digital downloads.

Are you looking for ongoing training opportunities?

To remain competitive and offer the best business opportunities, franchisors must continually invest in research and development. This enables them to innovate their product offering and keep their customers happy.

As you can imagine, it’s in their interests to provide you with ongoing training and support so you can maintain a high level of operational efficiency and sustain your franchise model.

Are you happy to operate under someone else’s concept?

A franchisee has to be comfortable carrying forward a predetermined concept and representing a brand that was created by someone else.

Your franchisor will have clear guidelines for how you market the brand and communicate with your customers/clients, as this will ensure all franchisees are consistent.

For quality control, you’ll also need to work with a list of suppliers that have been approved by the franchisor, even if you wouldn’t necessarily choose these suppliers yourself.

Do you have enough money to finance your franchise business?

Before buying into a franchise, make sure you meet the franchisor’s financial requirements and have enough working capital to fund your franchise’s day-to-day operations.

While franchisors will tell you what the minimum requirements are for the investment, you’ll still need extra money for getting the business up and running, and to pay for legal fees and any moving costs.

Many franchisees finance the majority of their investment with their own money. However, large franchisors will often have good relationships with UK banks, which may be willing to offer more favourable lending terms to franchisees, so you don’t have to miss out on the best business opportunities.

Source: Start-Ups

John Clark Motor Group acquires Volvo Dundee from Barnetts Motor Group

July 31, 2018

John Clark Motor Group has continued the growth of its representation with Volvo Cars UK with the acquisition of Barnetts Motor Group’s Volvo Dundee dealership.

The Aberdeen-based AM100 retail group followed up its opening of its first franchised site with the Swedish brand in February – a new Volvo Edinburgh franchise in Edinburgh – with its new addition this week.

Previously located at Riverside Drive, Dundee, the new franchise opened its doors in a temporary facility at MacAdam Place ahead of the opening of a new facility, which will subscribe to Volvo’s latest VRE design code, in 12 months’ time.

Chris Clark, John Clark Motor Group’s managing director, said: “We are looking forward to opening a new home for Volvo Cars in Dundee and welcoming customers to the showroom, as well as some of the existing Volvo Dundee staff into the John Clark Motor Group.

“They are a brilliant team of people and we intend to invest in further training to ensure they are confident with the products and the systems to ensure a seamless transition of the business.”

The new Volvo Dundee franchise’s future home will be John Clark Motor Group’s former BMW facility and will be revamped and re-occupied once a new BMW facility has been built.

The group said that the site will serve customers with a spacious showroom, ample parking, a seven-bay workshop with an MOT facilioty and up to 65 used vehicles on display.

Paul Lanni, John Clark Motor Group’s Volvo Cars UK brand director, is overseeing operations at the dealership.

He said: “I am personally very excited about the new dealership as we have a great team to work with, some brilliant products, such as the recently launched XC40 and V60, plus some exciting models planned for the future.

“Opening a new site is very challenging and I am pleased to say that we have managed to achieve this in an incredibly tight time scale.

“I am fully confident that with the new team in place the dealership will quickly be fully operational and we look forward to welcoming customers to a launch event in the very near future.”

“All current Volvo Cars Dundee customers will receive direct communication from the group that will reassure them that any current manufacturer service plans or warranties will be honoured.

“Plus any future model orders, will be transferred across to the new business at MacAdam Place.”

The John Clark Motor Group, recently ranked 90th in The Sunday Times Top Track 100.

It now employs 1,344 people and represents 14 brands at 42 dealerships across Scotland.

In 2017, the group’s turnover grew by 5% to £742m (2016: £703m) and sold 28,136 vehicles.

Source: AM Online

Handy man firm looks for people with strong DIY skills for its growing franchise network

July 23, 2018

PROPERTY maintenance franchise Hire A Hubby is looking for people in Portsmouth to join their network.

Hire A Hubby UK started in Australia where they now have more than 350 franchisees and there are currently 18 in the UK.

The company, which specialises in maintenance and DIY projects, is holding an event at 7pm on August 7 at the Holiday Inn, Herbert Walker Avenue, Southampton, for people who wish to find out more.

Dirk Spence, franchise director, said: ‘We are looking to attract individuals with strong DIY and property maintenance skills and who have a desire to own and run their own business.’

Hire A Hubby also offers military personnel a deal to invest their resettlement grant.

Source: Portsmouth

Shelbourne Motors announces Kia dealership for £5m Newry complex

July 18, 2018

SHELBOURNE Motors has completed a partnership with Kia Motors (UK) to bring the global car manufacturer to its new £5 million Newry complex.

Kia is the first manufacturer to be confirmed for the family-owned vehicle retailer’s new state-of-the-art multi-franchise facility that’s scheduled to open in early 2019.

The Kia partnership will see Shelbourne be the dedicated dealership supplying new and used Kia vehicles to customers in the Newry and Mourne area.

The South Korean manufacturer is one of the UK’s top selling car brands, selling more than 93,000 new vehicles in 2017.

Its range includes the compact Picanto and Stonic, the mid-sized family Cee’d; the seven-seater Sorento, as well as the award-winning Sportage.

Nigel Flude, regional franchising manager at Kia Motors (UK) said: “The vision for Shelbourne Motors’ new facility in Newry is truly spectacular and demonstrates a major commitment to the local automotive industry by the business.

“Their exceptional reputation reaches far beyond Northern Ireland and we are delighted to work with such as positive and forward-thinking business that continually strives to deliver first-class sales and after-care experience to its customers.”

The Shelbourne Motors’ 50,000 sq ft development will create 60 jobs when it officially opens, with an additional 100 jobs during construction.

It will include four car showrooms, new car handover bays, lounge-style waiting area with café and a drive-thru service centre with a 28-bay service workshop.

Paul Ward, director of Shelbourne Motors, said; “We’re delighted to partner with Kia to announce one of the world’s most popular car brands as the first franchise in Newry.

“Kia is synonymous with driving comfort, quality, reliability, technology, competitive pricing and the market-leading seven-year warranty. They are a perfect fit for us and will undoubtedly strengthen our position as one of Northern Ireland’s largest family-owned vehicle retailers.”

Shelbourne Motors ( was founded by the Ward Family in 1973.

It currently employs over 130 staff at its 9-acre Portadown headquarters, where it operates Toyota, Renault, Nissan and Dacia franchises, as well as a used car supermarket, accident repair centre and valet centre.

Source: Irish News