Franchising in the U.K. with UFG

Franchising in the U.K. with UFG

United Franchise Group operates in over 80 countries and has set its sights on the U.K. for its newest franchise expansions

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If you distill United Franchise Group (UFG) down to the core numbers, you get a handful of very impressive headlines. The group has more than 1,600 in 70 countries. This is backed up by over 35 years in the franchising business, across a portfolio of nine varied, dynamic brands.

But far from ready to rest on its laurels, UFG is continuing to grow the presence of its many brands with targeted U.K. expansion – namely, for Fully Promoted and The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill.

Right time, right place
Fully Promoted began life as EmbroidMe, which was founded in 2000 and opened its first store in West Palm Beach, Florida. This promotional product business was rebranded as Fully Promoted in 2017, and now at almost 350 stores globally, it’s a franchise model with proven success.

Not just success, but ongoing demand. According to IBISWorld, the U.S. promotional products industry is estimated to be worth more than $17bn, due in large part to the desire of businesses to increase brand awareness through effective, measured means. UFG already had a strong presence in the U.K. with its other B2B brands, such as Venture X and Transworld Business Advisors, so the time couldn’t be better to grow Fully Promoted within the country.

“We already have several of our brands operating in the U.K.,” says Tipton Shonkwiler, international director at UFG, “and now with Fully Promoted, the brand will have some built-in clientele throughout our own network. The other brands we have can take advantage of additional marketing strategies that Fully Promoted will be able to help them with – in terms of branding, event marketing, and overall promotion – so the timing is really good.”

But in a landscape of many franchise opportunities, why choose Fully Promoted, specifically? For starters, the brand boasts several industry accolades and honors that support its multi-decade swath of experience. It’s also a concept that’s as comfortable relying on experience as it is with staying on the cutting edge of the latest changes in technology and marketing needs.

“We’re now familiar with the market and have sourced vendors, so we have everything in place to make franchise growth easy”

Perhaps the biggest boon of the franchise, however, is the unique advantages that come with being a part of the UFG family. These include, but are not limited to: proven eCommerce solutions; a team of advisors to guide franchisees through every step of their entrepreneurial journey; strong purchasing power and an even stronger supply network; unparalleled brand equity; a dedicated research department to maintain the most current products and services; and millions of dollars already invested in the latest, industry-leading technology.

An appetizing offer
Fully Promoted isn’t the only brand that allows franchisees to take advantage of UFG’s bespoke benefits. The group entered the food and beverage market with the acquisition of Jon Smith Subs in 2016, and in 2018, added to its portfolio with The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill – the latter of which is now eyeing exciting U.K. growth, and is looking for savvy, dynamic partners to take Greek to London.

“We’ve already established an audience for Jon Smith Subs in the U.K., so we have an interest in our food brands,” says Shonkwiler. “Adding The Great Greek will be a great opportunity to expand our food brands, and as we’re now familiar with the market and have sourced vendors, we have everything in place to make franchise growth easy.”

According to Shonkwiler, UFG is currently on the lookout for a successful master license partner who will work on a development schedule that will see 30 to 40 The Great Greek units open in the U.K. – with an initial interest in central London.

If consumer trends are anything to go by, Mediterranean food is steadily growing in popularity, with Whole Foods previously stating that Middle Eastern cuisine would be a top culinary trend due to an increasing demand for fresh, healthy, flavorful food. The Great Greek brings an in-demand cuisine alongside brand longevity and decades of experience to the franchising market, making it a surefire option for entrepreneurs looking to enter the Mediterranean food market.

Tip of the iceberg
As mentioned previously, UFG’s portfolio is vast, and the group houses franchises that cover almost every sector one could think of.

Signarama, the group’s original brand that began franchising in 1987, offers signage and marketing solutions on the back of a wealth of experience and expertise. SuperGreen Solutions, meanwhile, provides cost-reduction services through green initiatives, appealing to a modern focus on conservation and environmental friendliness.

With regard to the U.K., Shonkwiler concludes: “We’re at a good spot where we have a solid framework, and now we want to expand. We want to add Fully Promoted and The Great Greek to round out our portfolio, because it’s a good time to do so, and there can be a synergistic relationship with our other brands.”

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