Top 7 fast food franchises

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Fast food franchise uk success

Us Brits have always loved a treat from the Chinese, chip shop or pizza place. But the rate at which we consume fast food has increased massively over the past decade. If you’ve always considered entering the lucrative industry, read on to learn more about the seven best fast food franchises in the UK.

The number of fast food outlets grew by 34 percent between 2010 and 2018, and the average number of takeaways per 100,000 people rose from 47 to 61. Sales were up too, with those coming from fast food and takeaways growing by 20.6 percent in 2018, compared to a growth of just 7.2 percent for ‘full service’ restaurants, showing that our appetite for speedy snacks has never been greater.

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Raj Pattni, Head of Insights Platform at Barclays, explained why many fast food brands are doing so well.

“Restaurant chains have faced more challenging trading in recent years, with property overheads up, business rates rising and consumer spend weakening. At the same time, consumers are increasingly opting for the convenience and affordability of fast food outlets and eating at home.”

As the industry grows and grows, now seems like the ideal time to become a fast food franchisee, as you can get involved in the sometimes-costly business of food for a much more affordable price. Here are some of the best opportunities out there right now, from the top performers to the plucky newcomers.

Top fast food franchises

Some of the UK’s top brands are fast food businesses. Though many are no longer welcoming franchisees in the UK (having built up a strong network already), there may still be resale opportunities worth keeping your eye out for across the country. Here are some of the biggest and most iconic fast food brands operating in the UK.

1. Domino’s

Domino’s is the UK’s leading pizza brand and started with a simple business idea to deliver hot, freshly made pizzas in as short a time as possible. From this humble goal, Domino’s now has over 1,000 stores across the country serving nearly 90 million pizzas every year.

  • Becoming a Domino’s franchisee: The business has been able to grow at an extraordinary speed thanks the franchising model. What’s more, 90 percent of the franchises in the UK are owned by franchisees who were once employed by the business. Click here to get started.
  • What you get for your investment: You’ll take part in a four-week Franchise Development Programme so you know how to run your business confidently.

2. Nando’s

The unique Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce was developed when Portuguese explorers were introduced to the African Bird’s Eye Chilli. The Nando’s founders opened their first restaurant in South Africa in 1987 and brought the concept to the UK in 1992. Now with over 1,000 restaurants worldwide, this exciting brand serves the most-loved chicken dishes in the country.

According to recent Market Force research, Nando’s tops the polls for speed of service, value for money and atmosphere.

  • Becoming a Nando’s franchisee: Unfortunately, Nando’s doesn’t have any plans to offer fast food franchise opportunities in the UK in the immediate future, as it’s only open to franchisees in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. However, if you’ve got your heart set on a chicken franchise, there are lots of other brands that you can consider.

3. McDonald’s

If you’re looking to make your fortune with arguably the most recognisable fast food brand in the world, you’ll need to be committed and patient.

  • Becoming a McDonald’s franchisee: The application process alone takes three to six months, with any prospective franchisees needing to attend at least one ‘Insight Day’ before beginning their application. But, as the fast food giant’s business potential has been proven repeatedly in hundreds of countries, plenty of banks are willing to lend the necessary capital to get your business started. However, McDonald’s is selective about those it welcomes into the brand, seeming to choose those with a strong history in management or corporate environments with the skills to oversee a busy restaurant of up to 70 people. Learn more and sign up here.
  • How much you need to invest: You need to make an upfront investment of £100,000.
  • What you get for your investment: As well as being able to operate under one of the world’s most iconic brands, you can make the most of its highly successful training and marketing opportunities.

4. KFC

The Kentucky Fried Chicken brand is recognised worldwide, with nearly 14,000 restaurants in 112 countries. The first store was opened in the UK in 1965 and now there are 850 locations across the country. Approximately 75 percent of KFC restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees, who sell 690 million pieces of the Colonel’s secret recipe chicken a year.

  • Becoming a KFC franchisee: There are four types of restaurant that you can own as a KFC franchisee. There’s the standard restaurant in city centre locations; the drive-thru for roadsides and retail parks; food courts for busy shopping centres; and express stores for residential areas. The sites have different requirements with varying investment costs.The franchise asks that you have previous experience in the hospitality industry and are eager to further the brand’s growth across the UK. According to the KFC website, it’s currently put its franchisee recruitment on hold, but keep checking back here in case the opportunity reopens.

  • How much you need to invest: You need to have £5 million of assets and £2 million in liquid capital.
  • What you get in return: Proven training systems and support network.

5. Papa John’s

As a leading pizza delivery chain, Papa John’s offers thick crust pizza, dough-based snacks, drinks and desserts. Founded in the US in the 1980s, Papa John’s expanded into the UK in 2000 and now has more than 5,000 branches across 45 countries worldwide, achieving an annual revenue that exceeds $3 billion.

  • Becoming a Papa John’s franchisee: Investors looking for a slice of the action do not need previous experience with a food franchise as long as they are business-oriented and have good communication skills. Click here to learn more and sign up.
  • How much you need to invest: A minimum investment of £100,000 and £18,500 in franchise fees will be required to get a Papa John’s store up and running.
  • What you get for your investment: New franchisees will benefit from a six-week training scheme that includes marketing support, as well as a royalty reduction programme and free oven.


Wolf’s business model caters to the demand for affordable food that can be prepared quickly and eaten on the go. Wolf has been in operation since 2015 and offers healthy, Italian street food made from locally sourced ingredients. Wolf prides itself on its high-quality offering; for example, all meat is bought from farms that adhere to high animal welfare standards and is marinated for at least 24 hours.

  • Becoming a Wolf franchisee: Find out more and get the process started here.

  • How much you need to invest: Investors can choose to be a standard franchisee or a master franchisee, but a total investment of £200,000 is required to launch a Wolf outlet.
  • What you get for your investment: The Italian food franchise was created with the franchisee in mind. New franchises demand low levels of skill but are high-quality operations, so franchisees can sell competitively priced Italian street food from the get-go. In addition to this, strong branding, a four-week intensive training programme, ongoing store support and a marketing plan uniquely developed for the franchise’s specific territory will equip franchisees with all the necessary tools to flourish in this competitive industry.

7. Subway

Subway is a very well-known brand in the UK, but you might not have realised that there are more than 43,000 stores in over 110 countries! This is a huge global business, and it’s looking to expand even more with the help of franchise partners.

  • 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. Click here to get started.
  • 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.

Start a fast food franchise today

As shown above, there are many businesses in the fast food world that you can make your fortune with. Whether you’re looking to get behind the grill yourself or take a hands-off approach that still reaps the returns of the multi-billion-pound fast food industry, we have a wide range of options to suit all. Find your ideal fast food franchise with us, right here.

>> Read more articles on the Fast Food sector

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