Why Would You Franchise in the U.K.?

Why Would You Franchise in the U.K.?

Don’t be put off by Brexit procrastination, says Brian Duckett of The Franchising Centre. The UK has a proven record of franchise success and may be the ideal location for your next expansion

The commercial property market is a nightmare. Candidates take forever to make a decision. Roll-out is slow until there’s evidence of success. And now there’s the perceived threat of Brexit. That’s what some prospective investors say of the UK.

So why would you bring your franchise to the UK when there are many other places to go?

Let’s start by getting Brexit out of the way. Nobody knows what’s going to happen with that but anyone taking on the master franchise for the UK is going to be operating that business in, and usually only in, the UK.

Therefore, whatever the UK’s trading relationship with other countries, what matters is the UK. If there is demand for the product or service which is the subject of the franchise, then there’s no reason not to go ahead.

Brexit may be used as an excuse from a candidate for delaying making a decision but it will not be a valid excuse. Find out the real reason for their reluctance, answer that objection, and away you go.

Brexit effect

Many US, Canadian and Australian brands have chosen the UK as their first step into Europe, subsequently using it as the location for a European head office. Will Brexit affect their ability to easily move from there to other European markets? 

As far as I know, there has been no mention of restricting the export of business formats from the UK to EU countries; the only potential restriction seems to be on the movement of people. Anyone buying a master franchise to operate in Spain is likely to be Spanish and is likely to be operating solely in Spain, so again no problem.

With more than sixty million people who need to eat, buy clothes, maintain their properties and businesses, educate their children and look after their old people, the UK itself is one of the world’s largest economies. It’s also a mature franchise market. There is no restrictive, franchise-specific legislation.

There are however many experienced franchisors and franchisees who understand how franchising works. Both parties are actively supported by the banks, which have seen the continuing growth and success of franchising here over the last thirty years or more, and by a thriving British Franchise Association.

There are now a number of franchisors, and indeed multi-unit franchisees, who are looking for additional opportunities. Some franchisors are building multi-brand franchise groups by acquiring existing networks from within the UK or master licences from overseas.

Some multi-unit franchisees are considering trying out life on the other side of the relationship by becoming a franchisor or master franchisee. These people are good operators;  they understand franchising;  they have the money or the track record to borrow the money;  and the banks are willing to consider lending it.

A few words of caution – and a guide to benefits

Firstly, it’s true to say that UK buyers rarely get carried away with enthusiasm and are unlikely to do a deal quickly. They will take a long time getting into the detail of how everything will work and will check out the performance of a franchisor both in their home market and in other international territories.

They will probably want to see evidence of some market research having been done on the UK market and they will want to know what support will be available, online and in person, once they start trading.

The good news is that once they make up their mind to proceed, doubtless having prepared a comprehensive business plan and budget, they will do so with efficiency and effectiveness both in building the brand and building their franchised network.

The second caveat is around payment of the initial fee for the rights to operate in the UK market. In days gone by the banks would include this element in the amount which they were willing to lend. This is now less likely as they take the view that such amounts are an equity investment by the new business owners.

Everything upfront

This doesn’t mean that the normal country exclusivity fee cannot be obtained but it often means that the suggestion will be that is paid in a number of instalments. These could be linked to time, number of units opened or other criteria but there will be delays.

In my opinion this is not a bad thing. I would always prefer to pick the right master franchisee who will build the business over time than simply pick the one who has the money to pay everything upfront.

To finish on some more positives, the UK has some of the best franchise consultants and lawyers in the world, some of whom have their own networks in many other countries. For franchisors coming from English-speaking countries the particular advantage is that the UK can indeed be used as the first step towards global presence.

Once a business has proven it can travel, firms such as my own can introduce it to associates around the world who in turn will help to find the local franchisees. This is often done from a database of qualified potential investors but can also include advice on how best to market the opportunity in a particular country.

Lastly, let’s look at the UK’s track record in welcoming overseas franchisors to its shores. Around twenty per cent of the franchised networks currently operating here have their parent offices in another country.

This shows that many concepts which originated elsewhere have been adapted to our market by people who understood franchising and who were committed to making those concepts succeed.

Useful links:
5 more reasons to consider a UK franchise

Global Franchise Meets.

An inspirational new web video series where we meet the business leaders and influencers in International Franchising.

you may be interested in

franchise directory

  • TaxAssist Accountants

    Business & Professional Services, Financial Services, <100K, Featured

  • Cafe2U

    Food & Catering, Coffee, Take-away, <100K, Featured

  • 800 Pizza

    Food & Catering, Fastfood, Pizza, Take-away, Featured

view more
Connect with Linkedin Logo
Global White Logo Click Here
Close button


Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order. Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.


We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.


Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.


We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.


This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.


Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at globalfranchisemagazine.com/terms-conditions


By using our site, you consent to our online privacy policy.


If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page


If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below. All correspondence relating to the Website should be sent to: Global Franchise 21/23 Phoenix Court Hawkins Road Colchester Essex CO2 8JY Email: subscriptions@aceville.co.uk