The Best Fast Food Franchises in the UK

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Fast food franchise uk success

Originally posted on 02/10/2017. Updated on 20/03/2019.

Burgers, fried chicken, fish and chips, pizza, curry – the UK is a nation of fast food lovers, and everyone has an opinion about which is the best. Consumer preference for cheap, on-the-go food has persisted, despite there being more emphasis on health and weight control.

With nearly 57,000 casual food diners on English high streets alone, whatever type of fast food you prefer, you’re never far from a big brand name that can satisfy your hunger. And you’re not alone if you like fast food. The BBC Good Food Nation Survey discovered that on average people consume fast food twice a week and an unbelievable 16 percent of 16 to 20-year-olds have fast food at least twice a day. Also, figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that nowadays, the UK high streets have the highest concentration of fast food outlets in nearly a decade, with an increase of 34 percent since 2010.

With this rate of growth, it’s definitely worth considering fast food franchise opportunities.

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What are the advantages of running a fast food franchise?

There are two main benefits to buying a fast food franchise. The most obvious advantage is the immediate brand recognition that you’ll receive - and the loyal customer base that comes with it. So, whether the brand is well-known for being the cheapest fast food franchise or the one with the best fries, an established and trusted brand name should help your business get off the ground and producing profits much quicker.

Don’t underestimate how crucial consistency is for fast food lovers. Choosing to eat in a restaurant of a reputable brand, customers know that they’re almost guaranteed a good experience. The burger or slice of pizza they order will be of the same quality as the last one they enjoyed, and it’s that certainty that keeps customers coming back for more.

The other huge advantage that fast food franchise opportunities offer is the comprehensive training package that you’ll have access to. This allows franchisees with no prior experience of the restaurant industry to purchase a fast food franchise and become equipped with an in-depth knowledge of how to make the business a success.

Our Top Fast Food Franchise Opportunities

Understanding the benefits of fast food franchises is only the beginning; take a look below at our top fast food franchise opportunities currently looking for franchisees.

Papa John’s

Papa John's franchise

Papa John's

Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.

Papa John's is an international pizza franchise with over 5,000 stores worldwide in more than 40 markets.

£100,000 Minimum investment
Restaurant, Coffee Shop & Pub
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The international pizza delivery franchise operates over 5,000 outlets in more than 40 markets across the globe. And, with its annual global sales surpassing $3 billion, people clearly can’t get enough of its cheesy treats.

Founded in 1984, the chain promotes the slogan ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ and, as global sales have demonstrated, this idea must be shared by hungry Brits who rely on Papa John’s to get their pizza fix.

With heaps of experience in the pizza industry and a good franchise model, the brand has laid a solid foundation for a lucrative future and plans for growth - with the UK leading the brand’s international expansion.

Since the opening of its first UK franchises in 2000, the feedback from customers has been so exceptional that Papa John’s (GB) Ltd has been named best UK pizza delivery operator six times by the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association.

Papa John’s is keen to get its franchisees off to a flying start, supplying a free oven, a royalty reduction programme and targeted marketing support. Typically, investment is between £170,000 and £225,000, of which £100,000 should be in liquid funds. In addition, there is a franchise fee of £18,500.


The iconic American brand has been around since 1934, dishing up breakfast, burgers, toasties, desserts and milkshakes. The UK was first blessed with Wimpy when it crossed the Atlantic in 1954. The company saw success on foreign soil until it established itself as a globally recognised brand in 1970.

The multinational chain, which has over 1,000 branches in 23 countries, is eager to keep its food offering as inclusive as possible and in 1985 it became the first burger chain to offer meat-free burgers. There are now numerous vegetarian and gluten-free food items on its menu. A minimum investment of £220,000 and franchise fees of £10,000 are required.

The following franchises are not currently looking for franchisees in the UK. However, they are three of the biggest, most iconic fast food brands operating in the UK, so watch this space for franchising opportunities in the future.


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 selling 690 million pieces of chicken a year to Brits who can’t get enough of the Colonel’s secret recipe.

There are four types of restaurant that you can own as a KFC franchisee. There’s the standard restaurant in city centre locations; 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. However, the investment will be significant when you buy any KFC fast food franchise, so you must be certain that this brand is the right fit for you before you sign on the dotted line.


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. The business has been able to grow at an extraordinary speed thanks the franchising model. And 90 percent of the franchises in the UK are owned by franchisees who were once employed by the business.

One of the main advantages of starting a pizza franchise is that not only will it be recession-proof, but it will actually grow in times of economic hardship. This is because when Brits need to tighten the purse strings, nights out are replaced by less expensive evenings in front of the TV with a takeaway pizza. And as one of the cheapest fast food franchise opportunities, Domino’s is well worth a look.


The unique PERi-PERi sauce was developed by Nando’s when Portuguese explorers were introduced to the African Bird’s Eye Chilli. The 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. What more do you want from a fast food restaurant? But unfortunately, Nando’s don’t have any plans to offer fast food franchise opportunities in the UK in the immediate future. However, if you’ve got your heart set on a chicken-related fast food franchise, there are lots of other brands that you can consider.

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