Chinese Food Franchises Opportunities in the UK - What's Available?

17/03/2019 08:00 | Start a business

chinese food franchise

The number of Chinese food outlets in the UK has grown drastically ever since the opening of the UK’s first Asian food restaurant over 100 years ago. Chinese cuisine has long offered Brits quick and nutritious food options and the sheer versatility of the many sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter dishes means that there is something to suit every taste.

Chinese cuisine incorporates a huge range of different meats, including dog, rat, frog, snake, scorpion and insects, and utilises organs that many British diners are unaccustomed to eating, such as kidneys and intestines. Some dishes even contain boiled blood. Versatility is also found in Asian cooking techniques; for example, fish is commonly steamed, stewed, boiled, stir-fried, deep-fried, sautéed, roasted and even pickled.

In 2015, Mintel announced that Chinese was the UK’s favourite World cuisine. Given that Chinese is also the most popular takeaway option in the UK, it is no surprise that 78 percent of Brits are thought to have consumed Chinese food at home within the last three months, while 12 percent eat Chinese food at least once a week. In recent years, street food trends have prompted the rise in popularity of specific Asian foodstuffs such as bubble tea, bao buns and Hong Kong-style egg waffles.

However, many Brits also opt to make their own Asian dishes, as soy sauce is now sold in the same quantities in the UK as British favourites such as mint and apple sauce. Sales of green tea bags are also on the rise, with almost one in ten people drinking the beverage at least once a day (Mintel).

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Chinese Food Franchises

Clearly, Chinese food outlets have the potential to be extremely successful if the business gets the formula right. While fast food and takeaways are always in demand, there is a growing market for health foods and more nutritious options, as well as vegetarian and vegan dishes. Entrepreneurs should keep their target market in mind when selecting their business model, as it can often be disadvantageous to aim to cater for everyone by offering a range of sub-standard dishes, as opposed to concentrating on mastering a specific type of food.

Chinese Fast Food Franchise

Wok&Go

This UK-based franchise takes food inspiration from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan and restaurant inspiration from New York. These traditions combine to create healthy and speedy Asian dishes that can be eaten at high tables or taken away in a box.

Customers can choose from noodle and rice dishes, wraps, salads, soups and Asian ice creams. The food franchise even offers customers the chance to create their own food box, selecting their favourite type of noodles or rice and fillings, including meat, fish, tofu, and fruits and vegetables, topping it off with a sauce like black bean, hot chilli, oyster or teriyaki.

Wok&Go also prides itself on its high-quality food, quickly cooking individual dishes after they have been ordered. Since its birth in 2008, Wok&Go has opened 18 locations across the UK, in the North West and North East as well as in Southern England and Wales. What’s more, there are plans to develop internationally and introduce the brand into Kuwait and Dubai.

Franchisees must make an investment of £200,000 and pay franchise fees of £15,000. This will go towards support with staff recruitment and training and the appointment of a dedicated area manager, who will visit the franchise twice a month to ensure the quality and consistency of the brand.

Wok to Walk

Wok to Walk is a similar Asian food franchise that offers nutritious food and speedy service. Customised boxes can be made from varieties of noodles and rice, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, sauces and toppings of nuts, seeds, jalapeños and other garnishes. Since being founded in Amsterdam in 2004, Wok to Walk has cultivated a collection of over 100 sites worldwide and only uses high-quality, fresh, MSG-free ingredients.

This brand is particularly interesting, however, because its website provides an interactive table of nutritional information which enables customers to meet their health goals. Website visitors can select multiple ingredients or the contents of their recently-purchased takeaway box. The ingredients’ calorie counts and carbohydrate, protein, fibre and fat contents are then automatically added up to provide a combined figure.

This food franchise is looking for franchisees and master franchisees, and one unit requires a minimum investment of £100,000 to open, plus £45,000 in franchise fees. In return, franchisees benefit from a comprehensive training scheme.

Mooboo

Bubble tea is another hugely popular trend that has found its way from Asia to the UK. Leading the charge are bubble tea franchises like Mooboo, which sells teas in more than 70 different flavours. This includes savoury teas, fruit and milk variations of bubble tea and blended ice ‘smoothies’ in exotic flavours, including lychee, matcha, coconut and taro.

Founded in 2012, this drinks franchise has built up a social media following of more than 27,500 people and an average turnover of £79,000 per unit. Franchisees must make an initial payment of at least £39,950, which will cover franchisee and license fees, as well as costs incurred by start-up processes and stock orders. A yearly fee of £30,000 should also be paid. Franchisees will be equipped with all the knowledge necessary to run a Mooboo franchise efficiently – this includes training in products, business operations, marketing and IT.

Bubbleology

Another bubble tea franchise is Bubbleology, which was founded one year earlier than Mooboo, in 2011. Today, the brand has stores across the UK, US and Middle East and has developed a sister brand, Waffleology, which harnessed the trend for bubble waffles – light, fluffy waffles twisted into a cone shape and filled with sweet treats.

With an investment of £120,000, entrepreneurs with some industry experience can become franchisees and regularly visit the Bubbleology headquarters in London to gain additional knowledge and experience. What’s more, business partners and customers alike can feel good about being involved with the franchise, as it donates money to international organisations that build wells in the poorest areas of Africa.

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