Where it comes to the world of food franchising there are loads of different options in which to invest and plenty of variety to suit every budget. On top of this food franchising is quite possibly one of the most popular franchising models around. After all food and beverage are things that everyone needs. The food sector (excluding agriculture) increased by 58% between 2000 and 2013 and in 2013, there was a net increase of 5360 in the number of registered enterprises in the food sector.
“Food is a necessity and more and more people either are too time poor to cook at home or see eating out as an affordable treat so there are strong consumer trends supporting the decision to invest in a food franchise,” says Matteo Frigeri of Wok&Go. “Another element that makes it an obvious choice is that food, unlike retail and services, is positively affected by changes in technology.”
For decades, opportunities running the gamut from very modest sweet vending rounds to smoothie and juice bars and pizza restaurants have given franchisees the freedom and opportunity to take control of their own earnings while still working in a supportive franchise environment. The food franchising sector has evolved even further and right now there’s a very broad range of previously unheard-of opportunities out there.
The first thing to think about when choosing a food franchise is you as a candidate. You must consider the skills that you have and what you are good at doing as well as what you would like to do. Food franchises as a whole will largely be consumer facing so if this is something that you are not comfortable with then this might not be your best option.
“The main thing to consider when going into a franchise is funding. How are you going to fund it and ensure you have contingency funds available? Sometimes it now takes a little longer to get a business established,” says Steve Batty of Nosh Retail. “Also are you passionate about the food you are going to sell?”
Researching the market
Researching the market is very important when it comes to choosing a food franchise. You may have settled on the fact that the food and drink industry is the one within which you would like to operate but you must they decide on the product that suits you best. Some areas of the market are often considered saturated with coffee shops and sandwich shops but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for another one. In fact the reason for this is because some of the biggest names in franchising are at the hem of operations that include hundreds or thousands of store and there for have a better brand presence.
If you are not looking to join a big, established brand but want to compete then it pays to do your own brand comparison. Cooking skills aren’t required but people skills and a strong business acumen are essential according to Matteo Frigeri of Wok&Go.
He adds: “Wok&Go offers both managed and unmanaged franchise options. The former implies that the franchisor runs the store on behalf of the franchisee, so the financial criteria are the most important. If the franchisee is also the operator, then a number of other requirements come into play: business acumen, people skills and, above all, the commitment to executing to brand standards and offering genuine hospitality.”
Start your search by researching food franchises from Franchise Direct.
Registering your business
You must register your business premises with your local authority and if you are looking to set up a new business premises, you should register it at least 28 days before opening. If you use premises in more than one place, you need to register all of them.
You must also:
- Ensure your local authority always has up-to-date information about your premises
- Tell your local authority if what you do in your business changes significantly
What the law says
Your premises include all of the rooms or buildings you use in your business.
- You must keep your premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition. The layout, design, construction, site and size of your premises must:
- Allow adequate maintenance, cleaning and/or disinfection.
- Avoid or minimise air-borne contamination (i.e. contamination carried in the air).
- Provide enough working space for you to carry out all tasks hygienically.
- Protect against the build-up of dirt, contact with toxic materials, shedding of particles into food and forming of condensation or mould on surfaces.
- Allow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and, in particular, pest control.
- Provide, where necessary, suitable conditions for handling and storing food while keeping it at appropriate temperatures. Those temperatures should be monitored and, where necessary, recorded.
- Regardless of the franchise you’re looking at, in this sector you have to adhere to all applicable food hygiene laws, which can require training and certification.
The most important food hygiene regulations for your business are:
- Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
- The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (and equivalent regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)*
These set out the basic hygiene requirements for all aspects of your business, from your premises and facilities to the personal hygiene of your staff. One of the key requirements of the law is that you must be able to show what you do to make or sell food that is safe to eat and have this written down.
You must put in place ‘food safety management procedures’ based on the principles of HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point). The HACCP plan keeps your food safe from biological, chemical and physical food safety hazards. To make a plan you must:
- Identify any hazards that must be avoided, removed or reduced
- Identify the critical control points (CCPs) - the points when you need to prevent, remove or reduce a hazard in your work process
- Set limits for the CCPs
- Ensure you monitor the CCPs
- Put things right if there is a problem with a CCP
- Put checks in place to make sure your plan is working
In practice, this means that you must have procedures in place to manage food safety “hazards” in your business. You must write these procedures down, update them as needed and keep records that can be checked by your local authority.
You can develop your own procedures based on the principles of HACCP. Alternatively you can use a pack produced by the FSA or your local authority, or a food industry guide recognised by the FSA, to help you comply with the law.
Training for food handlers
Food businesses must make sure that any staff who handle food are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene in a way that is appropriate for the work they do. The person or people responsible for developing and maintaining the business’s food safety management procedures, based on the principles of HACCP must have received adequate training to enable them to do this.
There is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course or get a qualification, although many businesses may want their staff to do so. The necessary skills could also be obtained in other ways, such as through on-the-job training, self-study or relevant prior experience. Packs produced by the FSA and industry guides to good hygiene practice can also help to train you and your staff.
UK food hygiene certificates don't have an expiry date. It is left to the discretion of the food business operator or environmental health officer to decide whether a refresher course is needed. This may be a result of changes to legislation or technological developments in food hygiene.
The franchisor will usually help you meeting these requirements. Dominic Richards of Bap says the company is constantly updating training material relating to food hygiene regulations. “Our in house training has been tailor made to ensure Bap meets all current regulations. We also find it is better to liaise directly with local authorities as they have different areas to focus upon. Any 'persons in charge' whether a manager or team leader must have the relevant food hygiene training and all managers must attend courses on an annual basis. We would recommend that all franchisees follow the same guidelines to ensure best practice to maintain the brand standards.”
He adds: “We have so many controls in place to ensure food hygiene rules are followed and even improved upon, local authorities tend to be impressed by the paperwork and training programs.”
If you would like advice about obeying food hygiene law, get in touch with your local authority. If you run a small catering business, there are packs available to help you put in place food safety management procedures based on the principles of HACCP. These packs have been produced by the FSA.
There are a number of FSA publications that you might find helpful. These include:
- Starting up – Your first steps to running a catering business food.gov.uk/starting-up
- Food law inspections and your business food.gov.uk/food-law-inspections
You also need to ensure that – in addition to the franchise fee – you have sufficient working capital in place. The franchisor can offer a lot of reliable guidance in these areas, but you should always try to talk to some existing franchisees who have recently set up under the same banner. They will be able to give you a clear and unbiased sense of the challenges and opportunities that you need to be aware of when you purchase your food franchise. You can kick start your search for a food franchise here.
Trends in the Food Industry
Britain went mad for spiralisers and smoothies in 2015 and this trend is set to continue as fast food restaurants go healthy. As diners become more aware of chemicals and additives in their food, fast food chains are adjusting their menus, according to food consultant Baum+Whiteman. Already, McDonald’s and Subway have made moves to make their menus healthier and devoid of artificial ingredients and additives.
Coffee gets creative. The latest coffee trends will perk up even the most jaded java lover with newfangled caffeinated concoctions that range from carbonated coffee to iced coffee mocktails, according to Sterling-Rice Group's 2016 Culinary Trends report. “Coffee is no longer just a hot beverage you have in a cup with breakfast in the morning,” says Andrea Graves, business planning and marketing specialist with the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Centre at Oklahoma State University.
Snacks take centre stage. Nearly a quarter of all snack foods consumed last year were eaten at mealtime, according to NPD group, which expects the trend to continue into 2016. One of the main drivers is the growing number of single-person households, since solo eaters are more likely to opt for snack foods for dinner. When making their selection, single diners prefer single-serve packages and are increasingly turning to healthy snacks, like fresh fruit, breakfast bars, and yogurt.