It will come as no surprise that the British love their fast food, making this the most popular sector for self-employment and opening up franchise branches of well-known brands. Thousands of new fast food franchise UK outlets open each year, and the takeaway market in the UK amounted to a whopping £21.4bn in 2022. In fact, one in five people in Britain eats out or orders in at least once a week, causing rising demand for a QSR franchise (quick-service restaurant).
This means that ambitious entrepreneurs have successfully opened not just one but multiple new fast food franchises in the UK. That way, they can enjoy the benefits of being their own boss with the backing of a successful business model. The options are numerous, depending on your chosen location – which is something quick service food franchise companies can help you to pin down to maximise your potential.
They also support you with staff training, creating your website and other marketing activities, as well as providing insights on insurance, Health & Safety and food hygiene compliance – the sort of weighty topics that trip up many independent fast food operations.
It would be impossible to start the list of franchise fast food options without mentioning potentially the most prolific supporters of this type of business start-up, McDonald's and Subway. The Brits love their pizzas too, making Dominos, Pizza Hut delivery and Papa John's household names – and keen supporters of franchisees.
However, there are many more niche players on the list of curbside pickup fast food companies willing to support new business start-ups, some of which position themselves as “convenience” food rather than fast food, such as Pret A Manger. Or how about a Burrito Bar Franchise?
Here are a few fast food franchise ideas to think about:
Explore a world of diverse and enticing fast food franchises that cater to various culinary preferences, from beloved American classics and tantalising Greek delights to swift Italian indulgences.
Open a fast food franchise embodying the true essence of the USA, serving beloved classics like juicy burgers, crispy fries, and irresistible milkshakes—a delectable slice of Americana that will keep customers coming back for more.
Create a flavourful Greek food franchise, captivating taste buds with sizzling gyros, tantalising souvlaki, and fresh Mediterranean goodness, transporting customers to sun-kissed shores and the enchantment of Greece.
Ignite your entrepreneurial spirit with a swift and savoury Italian fast food franchise, where mouthwatering pizzas, comforting pasta, and delectable gelato embody the essence of Italian culinary artistry, leaving patrons craving the taste of Italy.
Embark on a culinary venture with an Indian fast food franchise, infusing vibrant tastes into every bite through crispy samosas, zesty chaat, and savoury dosas that create a symphony of flavours, delighting the senses and captivating food enthusiasts.
Seize the opportunity to open an Asian fast food franchise, offering a thrilling culinary expedition across Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese flavours, featuring sizzling stir-fries, creative sushi, and an array of unexpected delights that promise an unforgettable and diverse dining experience.
You could also explore franchise opportunities in the realm of fast food catering to specific dietary preferences and consumer demands, including healthy options, vegan choices, organic offerings, halal burgers, and the mobile experience of food trucks.
Join the market of health-conscious consumers by opening a fast food franchise that prioritises nutritious ingredients and mindful preparation, offering a range of wholesome meals to satisfy the cravings of those seeking a balanced lifestyle.
Tap into the growing demand for plant-based options with a vegan fast food franchise, serving delicious meat-free alternatives that cater to the ethical and environmental values of conscious eaters.
Embrace the organic movement by opening a fast food franchise focusing on organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, providing flavorful meals for health-conscious individuals who prioritise environmental sustainability.
Cater to the needs of the Muslim community by opening a halal burger franchise, offering a diverse menu of halal-certified burgers and quality ingredients to provide a welcoming and inclusive dining experience.
Experience the exciting world of food truck franchising, delivering culinary delights on wheels to various locations, capturing the attention of food enthusiasts and providing a unique dining experience with a touch of culinary adventure.
Two of the most trendy types in this quick service industry are American fast food franchises and Chicken fast food franchises. You may recognise some popular names under the first label, such as Mcdonald's, while KFC falls under the second category.
Don’t be fooled by the American fast food franchise label. It doesn’t mean the food is imported from the US. Instead, you have UK home-grown ingredients and beef prepared and made into the same meals you’d find overseas. Even Subway would fall into this category, along with giants Burger King. One of the top US fast food franchises in the UK is 12th Street Burgers & Shakes, delivering that American-style burger everyone loves.
While KFC, Nandos and Chicken Cottage are popular Chicken fast food franchises and brands, there are plenty of others opening up in the UK. Some examples are Southern Fried Chicken and Rooster Shack. With poultry becoming an alternative to beef and other meats, these restaurants are finding innovative ways to do new things with chicken. Even chicken kebabs with delicious sauces and vegetables are becoming the new craze.
Here is a more extensive overview of the types of fast food franchises you can invest in:
Bring to life your take on the iconic American classic with a burger franchise, serving up juicy patties, delectable toppings, and a range of mouthwatering variations to satisfy the cravings of burger enthusiasts.
Take customers on a flavourful journey with a burrito franchise, offering an enticing fusion of ingredients wrapped in a warm tortilla, creating a portable and customisable meal that caters to diverse taste preferences.
Leverage the savoury goodness of a chicken franchise, serving up crispy and succulent chicken dishes that range from fried chicken to grilled options, providing a variety of flavours and textures for poultry lovers.
Dive into the delightful world of fish and chips with a franchise specialising in this beloved British culinary tradition, offering crispy battered fish fillets, golden fries, and a range of delectable seafood options.
Satisfy customers' appetites for classic street food fare with a hot dog franchise, serving up perfectly grilled sausages nestled in soft buns, adorned with an array of toppings and condiments for a delicious handheld meal.
Showcase the chewy goodness of freshly baked bagels with a franchise that celebrates this versatile breakfast staple, offering an array of flavours and fillings, from sweet to savoury, providing a delightful start to the day.
Lean into the timeless appeal of pizza with a franchise that crafts delectable pies, offering a variety of crust styles, tantalising toppings, and irresistible cheese combinations to satisfy pizza lovers of all ages.
Explore the vibrant flavours of Mexican cuisine with a tacos franchise, where soft or crispy tortillas are filled with a medley of ingredients, such as seasoned meats, fresh vegetables, and zesty salsas, creating a fiesta of taste sensations.
Delve into the world of Middle Eastern cuisine with a falafel franchise, serving up crispy chickpea or fava bean patties, wrapped in warm pita bread and accompanied by a variety of flavorful sauces and toppings.
Satisfy cravings for savoury grilled meats with a kebab franchise, offering a mouthwatering selection of marinated meats, skewered and cooked to perfection, served with aromatic spices, fresh vegetables, and delicious sauces.
Capitalise on the beloved side dish that has become a fast food staple with a franchise dedicated to serving crispy and golden french fries, offering a variety of seasonings, dipping sauces, and creative toppings to enhance the fry experience.
According to a May 2023 ScrapeHero report, Co-Op Food is the largest fast food franchise or chain of stores in the UK, with 3,883 locations in the country. Greggs comes in second with 2,238, while Subway is third with 2,227 and McDonald’s fourth with 1,393 locations.
While these sound enticing to start a new fast food franchise with exciting meal deals, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. Many of these brands have high requirements, with massive investments needed. Instead of aiming for these, it’s best to choose a brand that’s also well-known but which needs a lower investment to get you started.
The average cost of a fast food franchise in the UK can vary significantly depending on various factors such as the brand, location, size, and specific requirements. However, it is generally estimated to range from £80,000 to £500,000 or more. While some franchises help mitigate some of these costs, the franchisee’s initial investment may help offset these installation fees. Some more established brands can rise higher, such as McDonald's up to an estimated £1.5 million, while a Subway franchise is about 222,000.
Embarking on the path to open a fast food franchise in the UK unveils a captivating journey of qualifications and requirements tailored by each franchise holder. Beyond financial stability and robust business skills, success hinges on embracing the brand's guidelines, securing a fitting location, and aligning with franchise-specific decor, quality control, service standards, and menu options. By intertwining these essential elements, a formidable groundwork is laid for a prosperous and distinct venture.
We’ve already produced an extensive article on how to start a fast food franchise. Fortunately, we make the process easier for new franchisees who have little to no experience in this fast, casual industry. As a summary, here’s what you need to do before you embark on this journey:
• Perform extensive research to determine which fast food franchise and niche you want to go into
• Make the right investment in the franchise without overinvesting
• Review the provided franchise agreements and make sure they suit your needs