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How to Start a Fast Food Franchise

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Fast food restaurants are among some of the most popular franchises globally. Franchise opportunities are an attractive option for those who want to enter the restaurant industry with the backing of an established brand and a proven business model. This article will explain how franchising works and the steps an aspiring franchisor should take to set up a fast food franchise.

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Fast Food Franchising in the UK

Many of the most popular fast food restaurants in the UK use the franchise format. These restaurants include:

  • McDonald’s;
  • Burger King; 
  • KFC; 
  • Subway; and 
  • Dominoes. 

Franchise opportunities are popular among entrepreneurs looking to start their own restaurant businesses. Fast food franchise opportunities offer a range of benefits, including the ability to operate under an established brand. By investing in a fast food franchise opportunity, franchisees can leverage an existing business model with a proven success track record. Franchise opportunities often result in a higher likelihood of profitability and carry less risk than starting a business from scratch. 

Fast food franchisors provide comprehensive training and support to franchisees, preparing them for their new roles. This training includes everything from how a franchisee will conduct day-to-day operations to marketing strategies and staff management. Franchisees will also receive ongoing support from franchisors, including access to marketing materials and operational guidance. A franchisor will aim to help franchisees grow in their roles.

Steps to Start a Fast Food Franchise

1. Assess Whether Your Business is Franchisable

The first aspect you should consider before embarking on a franchising journey is whether you have a franchisable business model. There are no strict requirements on which businesses are and are not franchisable. However, you are more likely to succeed with franchising if your existing business possesses certain qualities, including: 

  • a track record of success; 
  • a replicable business model; and
  • market demand in further locations. 

The following table elaborates on these qualities. 

Track record of success Your business should have a track record of success before you consider franchising. Prospective franchisees look to invest in opportunities that are likely to be profitable.
Replicable business modelReplicability means a franchisee can easily replicate your fast food brand’s operations. If your business’ operations are replicable, all the units across your franchise network will make food that looks and tastes the same and provide service to the same standard. This is particularly important as brand identity and customer loyalty are crucial for fast food businesses. 
Market demand Your business needs to show potential to expand into further locations. Otherwise, developing your brand through franchising is unlikely to prove successful. Conduct thorough market research to determine demand. 

Also, consider whether you have capital ready to invest in franchising. Franchisors must often invest significant capital to jumpstart their franchising journey. You will likely need to invest in aspects, such as:

  • developing a comprehensive training package;
  • seeking professional advice; and 
  • advertising franchise opportunities. 

2. Create Legal and Training Documents

You must have a franchise agreement ready to franchise any business. A franchise agreement is a legally binding document franchisors share with their franchisees. It forms the basis of the franchise relationship, setting out the responsibilities of both parties and the conditions of the agreement. 

At this stage, you will also create a franchise operations manual. This comprehensive manual informs franchisees how they will operate their businesses. In this document, you will share your knowledge about your fast food restaurant and thoroughly explain fundamental aspects of the business, such as operating procedures and the recruitment process. You should also create a training package to prepare franchisees to operate in their roles. 

3. Seek Professional Advice 

Seeking legal advice early can help you identify and mitigate risks, increasing the chances of success for your fast food franchise. For example, a lawyer can draft the franchise agreement and ensure it protects your brand and business interests. They can also help you to register your trade marks to protect your brand’s identity. 

You might also consider seeking the advice of an independent business advisor and an accountant.

4. Advertise Franchise Opportunities and Recruit Franchisees

After you prepare the necessary documentation and are ready to franchise your business, you can advertise opportunities to find prospective franchisees. You may choose to advertise via:

  • word of mouth; 
  • online franchise opportunity directories; or
  • at industry events. 

When you find prospective franchisees, ensure that you conduct due diligence and assess whether they are the right candidate to run a unit of your fast food franchise. 

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Key Takeaways

Many popular fast food restaurants are franchises. If you want to franchise your fast food restaurant, consider whether your business is franchisable. A business in an ideal position to franchise has a track record of success and a proven and replicable business model. There will also be market demand for that business in other locations. 

If your fast food business possesses these qualities, you can do the following:

  • prepare the necessary legal documents;
  • create a training program;
  • seek professional advice; 
  • advertise franchise opportunities; and
  • recruit franchisees. 

If you need legal assistance setting up a fast food franchise, our experienced franchise lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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Jessica Drew

Jessica Drew

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