How to Find the Best Fast Food Franchise in the UK

date icon 4 minutes to read date icon 27th April, 2022

Fast food is one of the most reliably profitable industries to go into in the UK. Especially if you’re starting your new business under a known brand name and are following proven processes.

That’s exactly what the best fast food franchises in the UK will do for you. A franchise gives you the support you need to establish a steady stream of income and grow.

But how do you choose the right UK food franchise for you? Here’s everything to bear in mind when selecting the opportunity you’re going to trust with the start and future of your new business.

Why open a food franchise in the UK?

flying burger

First of all, it’s important to underscore that the fast food industry is a great choice to start a business in.

The UK loves its fast food. A solid 80%+ of new fast food franchises in the UK – the individual locations that open every year – become profitable within the first two years of opening their doors.

When such a high percentage of start-ups and new businesses fail within the first two years, that’s a great rate of success.

This industry is also a solid choice if you have any relevant experience working in restaurants or cafes. Though most franchisors won’t require this of you, having this kind of pre-existing knowledge can put you a step ahead.

However, if you are an owner of an already existing restaurant, then your might consider expanding your restaurant through franchising.

How to choose between food franchises for sale in the UK

1) Get more information

It’s rarely a good idea to go by name alone. Some franchises that are on every high street might be well known, but what kind of deal do they actually give the people who own their individual franchise locations?

Always ask for full disclosure documents before you make your choice. All franchisors are required to provide certain important information to potential new franchisees before any agreement is entered into.

If you’re not sure what the detail means – and some of these documents can feature legal terminology that it’s important to understand – it’s worth talking it through with franchise consultants you trust.

pizza, salad and pasta on a table

2) Talk to existing franchisees

Your potential new franchisor might be required to give you official information about their franchise system. But the best source of information on any franchise is often the franchisees who have already signed up for it.

Get in touch with local entrepreneurs. Ask them about their experience as part of this franchise. How much training were they given? How much support do they receive?

A franchise system that doesn’t want you to talk to its existing franchisees is a bit of a red flag.

3) Consider going beyond the obvious choices

You can find fast food franchises in almost any commercial street in the country. Some of these are big names.

Costa Coffee, for example, is a staple of many high streets. If you can afford the investment, it’s an almost guaranteed way to start a profitable business. But the investment required is around £250,000. A McDonald’s franchise is around £400,000.

If that’s too much for you, don’t worry. Not only are there possible ways to raise capital (and banks believe in these big names for a reason), there’s no need to think that fast food franchise costs in the UK have to be high.

You can find really good options for under £10,000. You can find great options for between £20,000 and £50,000. Some of these offer unique cuisine, processes or the opportunity to get in early with a growing brand.

Franchises like Dum Dum Donutterie and Triple Two Coffee aren’t household names nationwide yet. But given the way they’re growing and the way they operate, they soon will be.

4) Explore a franchise directory

If you want a broad overview of your options gathered in one convenient place, check out a franchise directory. These handy lists let you compare what you get from different franchisors quickly and easily.

Of course, you should then either start the process of working with the franchise consultants you’ve chosen or reaching out directly to the franchisors you’re interested in or the franchisees in their network.

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5) Talk with franchise consultants

One of the best sources of information on a broad array of franchise opportunities are franchise consultants. These experts often work with both individual franchisors as a franchise marketing agency and with franchisees providing impartial advice as to good options of network to join.

It’s worth bearing in mind that a franchisor-franchisee relationship is one that delivers the most value for both sides after it’s been running for a longer period of time. This means it’s not in any consultant’s interests to become known as someone who finds franchisees that are unsuitable or matches people with systems that aren’t right for them.

In turn, this means you can usually rely on consultants for fairly well-balanced recommendations. It’s also not normally in their interests to promote any one franchise at the cost of any other.

burger with fries

Not every food franchise in the UK that’s for sale will be right for every person.

Some might provide better training or more in-depth support, more suited to someone who doesn’t have as much experience. Others might offer something a little different, suitable for areas that are already saturated with middle-of-the-road reliable brands. Still others might have the big-name draw that really sets them apart.

But a franchise business relationship is one for the long haul. You want to be confident that you’re making the right choice going in. If you want to get more information, consider a wide variety of options and talk with the experts. You should be all set to do just that.