Q&A: Does EAT. Franchise in the UK?

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The sandwich market is booming the UK at the moment, so in this article we’re going to find out if you can start an EAT. franchise and capitalise on the high demand.

EAT. is a UK-based sandwich shop chain which has 95 branches in the UK, 75 of these being in London. There are also locations in Manchester, Edinburgh, Kent, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow Bristol and many more places. The brand has been creating and serving delicious recipes for over 20 years now and it’s an expert in the sector. EAT. boasts a menu that changes depending on the season, with food being made from scratch every day. The first EAT. opened in Villers Street in London, next to Charing Cross railway station in 1996. But can you start an EAT. franchise in the UK?

Does EAT. franchise in the UK?

Unfortunately, no. Due to financial struggles and the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak it has actually closed all of its locations across the country.

The sandwich business market in the UK

The British sandwich market is valued at a staggering £7.85 billion, according to The Sammies (The British Sandwich Industry Awards). The Sammies is the main event in the UK sandwich and on-the-go food industry. It’s no wonder that sandwiches are such a popular choice at lunchtime. Versatile in nature, they come in all different shapes, sizes and varieties, and are easy to make and can be eaten on-the-move without any cutlery.

The humble sandwich was born back in 1762, when the Earl of Sandwich wanted his meal to be placed between two slices of bread, to avoid interrupting his card game. Ever since, the sandwich has been enjoyed by peckish Brits, young and old.

Similar franchise opportunities

There are lots of sandwich shop franchises in the UK. Let’s take a look at three of these in more depth below.


Subway is the UK’s biggest sandwich retailer in terms of sales and one of the most recognisable brands in the world. It has more than 44,500 outlets across 112 countries, despite being founded in 1965 with a start-up fund of just $1,000. Subway has been through half a century of radical change and enormous growth to emerge as one of the biggest chains in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry.

  • Becoming a Subway franchisee: Subway is looking for savvy entrepreneurs with a passion for the brand. You should have expertise in the market and display good time management and communication skills. You also need to abide by its procedures and follow the training and site selection processes.
  • How much you need to invest: In order to be accepted as a franchisee, interested entrepreneurs will need to make a minimum investment of £85,570. However, you can get help with funding from one of Subway’s financial partners, so if you have good credit standing, you could get bank loans that cover up to 70 percent of the cost.
  • What you get for your investment: In order for you to be able to run your own Subway franchise confidently, the brand provides a two-week training course that is carried out in one of its many training centres across the globe. Even after your business gets off the ground, Subway continues to provide support in the form of e-courses and communicates through newsletters. There is help with finding the perfect location but bear in mind that setting up a store could take anything from two months to a year. Don’t fret though – Subway will be there for you every step of the way.

Bagel Corner

Next, we come to something completely different - the bagel. Beginning life in 2010, Bagel Corner aimed to make the most of a sudden explosion in demand for alternative fast food providers. The sandwich shop franchise was founded in France and has expanded quickly to encompass 30 stores across the country.

By offering a service that emphasises its high-quality produce, ease of use and quick turnaround, Bagel Corner has developed a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. Within a few years, the business became the leading bagel chain in France, and now considers itself ready to expand beyond the country’s borders.

  • Becoming a Bagel Corner franchisee: With the aim of establishing 100 stores worldwide by 2020, the franchise has started searching for potential master franchisees in several countries, including the UK. Its focus on quick service makes it ideally suited to the UK market, where more and more people are taking their lunch ‘on the go’ or squeezing it into a busy work schedule. Its strong brand, appetising menu, and variety of store models make Bagel Corner one of the most exciting master franchise opportunities in the UK.
  • How much you need to invest: Bagel Corner franchise units require a minimum of £500,000 to set up, which includes franchise fees of £15,000.
  • What you get for your investment: After you’ve invested, you’ll be enrolled onto a 10-day training programme and have access to ongoing franchisor support to make sure you’re always operating at maximum efficiency.

Baguette Express

If you're looking for a more affordable sandwich shop franchise but still want to compete with big names, Baguette Express may be the perfect choice. Its business plan is simple: a large choice of fresh food items baked daily and sold in an inviting environment for one fantastic price. Franchisees can rely on multiple revenue streams by offering food targeted for the morning, afternoon and evening, such as breakfast rolls and wraps, salad boxes and coffees.

Baguette Express has steadily grown since 1999 and now operates 50 outlets in the UK. It has also seen success internationally, having opened four branches in Dubai.

  • Becoming a Baguette Express franchisee: Franchisees can opt to open a kiosk, quick-service takeaway or large restaurant with capacity to seat over 100 customers.
  • How much you need to invest: This franchise requires a total investment of £60,000.
  • What you get for your investment: Baguette Express will provide a template for your business plan and support franchisees with site selection, store fit-out and procuring equipment and stock.

Start a sandwich franchise today

Although it isn’t possible to start an EAT. franchise, there are lots of other sandwich franchise opportunities out there that you can explore. You might also be interested in our full list of food franchises or our UK franchise directory, which has more than 300 exciting opportunities.

>> Read more articles on the Food and Beverage sector

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