The COVID pandemic has thrown up all kinds of unexpected challenges for UK businesses, particularly those in the food service, personal care and events sectors, who have experienced many closures and restrictions across 2020 and 2021. Still, food service is beginning to bounce back, and if you have a passion for Asian food, starting a noodle bar franchise could be a sound and sensible investment.
Franchising offers you the chance to run your own business and largely call the shots without all the risks associated with going it alone. You’ll have plenty of training and support along with that flexibility, allowing you to weather storms that some businesses can’t survive. Think about it like this: In 2018, less than 1% of franchise units closed citing commercial failure as the reason [British Franchise Association]. Here is the state of franchising in the noodle bar sector in 2021...
The noodle bar industry and Asian restaurant sector in 2021
As has been the case for most franchise businesses, noodle bars and Asian restaurants have had to adapt and change in order to survive the pandemic, from introducing takeaway options, to changing hygiene procedures, to investing in new tech. Some of the noodle bar trends at the top of the list in 2021 include:
- Ghost kitchens
- Subscription services
- Mobile and van-based services
- Diverse dietary options
In terms of popularity, the noodle bar’s place in the global food market is growing in 2021. Many UK customers are turning to noodles and Asian food as a healthier and more exciting option that remains tasty, familiar and accessible. Brands like Wok&Go epitomize this post-pandemic demand - the franchise has experienced speedy growth since its inception, and has now expanded into Ireland and Pakistan.
From instant ramen noodles favored in college dorm rooms to high-end gourmet dishes found in trendy Asian-fusion restaurants, noodles function as a staple for diners of all races, ages and income levels. Noodle dishes can also accommodate a wide range of tastes, [and] can also include a wide range of meats, vegetables and sauces for special diets.
– Gerald Hanks, Chron
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- 5 Mouth-Watering Asian Food Franchises in the UK
- Q&A: Does Ichiran Ramen Franchise in the UK?
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The post-pandemic outlook for noodle bar franchise businesses in the UK
Though food franchises initially suffered, many have since been able to bounce back, including noodle bar franchises across the country. It’s understandable if you’re apprehensive about entering the industry after such an unprecedented disruption, but with customer demand extremely high and set to continue rising, it’s less of a risk than you might think. The economic outlook of noodle bars is optimistic on a global scale heading into the latter half of 2021 [Research and Markets].
Many of the changes made during COVID are here to stay, and the best thing you can to do adequately prepare yourself for an investment is complete plenty of research - on the market, on the specific franchises that appeal to you, and on what your day-to-day role as a franchisee and noodle bar owner might look like in 2021. You should:
- Research the competition
- Find gaps in the market
- Communicate with your franchisor about how you’ll market your franchise
- Communicate with your franchisor about your expected time to profit
- Ensure that all guidelines and operational rules that you receive have been updated to reflect changes made during the pandemic
Regardless of the year that you’re investing and the surrounding economic climate, you should be sure to do your due diligence - but particularly in a year like 2021. Make sure you’re fully aware of the franchise of your choice’s financial situation before you sign on any dotted lines, and be careful not to over-invest by failing to account for not just the initial investment amount, but the ongoing running costs of doing business (especially prior to achieving profitability).
Advantages of running an Asian food franchise
As you can imagine, many people are looking for job stability post-pandemic, and though it might surprise you to hear this, franchising is one of the most stable career opportunities out there. At every stage, you have a built-in team to turn to for support. Your franchisor is equally as invested in your success as you are, because your success is their success, and vice versa. This article has already touched upon the high demand for Asian cuisine in the UK, but other advantages to starting a noodle bar within the franchise model are:
- The chance to be your own boss
- The opportunity to benefit from a pre-existing customer base and brand reputation
- The programme of training and support that fully equips you for success
- The in-built support of a proven business model
- The diverse, varied working life of a food franchisee
- The chance to work in an industry that you’re truly passionate about
- The chance to meet the needs of customers and improve their days, every day
- The many opportunities for growth and diversification
Even the disadvantages of franchising in the noodle bar sector can become advantages with the right attitude and drive to succeed. Every difficult customer is a lesson learned, and every mistake made is a new piece of information acquired about how to handle the situation better in future. If you think you have the passion you need to succeed in the sector, don’t let anything put you off making your investment and starting your franchise journey.
Passion is what drives you. Passion keeps you going despite the difficulties that your business will inevitably come across. I had many opportunities to throw up my arms and simply give up, but my passion caused me to keep going. I couldn’t think about anything but making my business succeed.
– Mike Kappel, Forbes
>> Read more:
- 5 Tips for Developing Your Employees into Future Franchisees
- Being a Successful Franchisee Means Adopting an Entrepreneur Mindset
- 7 Common Habits of Successful Franchisees
- Mythbusters: Common Misconceptions About What Makes a Successful Franchisee
- Five Tips for Boosting Your Self-Confidence as a Business Owner
- Traits of an entrepreneur
Franchise opportunities in the Asian food sector
By now, you should know whether or not franchising in the noodle bar sector is a viable and suitable option for you. If you think it is, it’s time to look into the wide range of investment opportunities that are out there and waiting for you. Consider brands like Camile Thai Kitchen (a sustainable, home delivery focused Thai chain with a £100,000 minimum initial investment amount) and Wok to Walk (a wok kitchen chain with, again, a £100,000 minimum initial investment amount).
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©