Shisha bars are rising in popularity across the UK. Often considered a fun place to relax and unwind with friends and family, they’re becoming an increasingly lucrative investment option here in the UK. Let’s find out more about joining a shisha bar franchise.
First of all, what is shisha? A shisha – also known as a hookah – is a glass-bottomed vessel with one or more flexible pipes connected to it and it originates from the Middle East. Tobacco smoke passes through the water at the bottom of the shisha before it’s inhaled by the smoker. This kind of pipe is known for its strong smoke flavourings, which include bubblegum, vanilla, apple and mint.
Although there aren’t any recent studies on the number of shisha bars in the UK, it’s thought the figure rose sharply between 2007 and 2012, from 179 to 556. This is an increase of 210 percent, and demonstrates the growing popularity of shisha among consumers in the UK. If the trend has continued on this upwards trajectory, joining a shisha bar franchise could be a very lucrative business move.
Why join a shisha bar franchise?
- People use shisha to relax – Shisha has been enjoyed as a pastime for centuries, but in today’s fast-paced world, more and more people are turning to it at the end of a busy day.
- People perceive them to be more exciting than regular cigarettes – Many consumers opt to smoke shisha as an alternative to normal cigarettes. Not only do flavoured shishas taste better than traditional cigarettes, but they also release a pleasant aroma as they’re smoked. As a result, shisha bars have become a popular place for smokers and non-smokers to socialise together.
- Shisha bars bring cultures together – When you start a shisha bar, you have the chance to experience and celebrate Middle Eastern culture. By playing typical music and serving traditional food dishes, you can tap into it, giving Middle Eastern consumers an authentic experience and providing other customers a glimpse into a different culture.
- You can meet new people – Because shisha bars attract people from a wide range of backgrounds, you’ll have the opportunity to mix with lots of people. When you’re focusing on growing the business 24/7, this social aspect of the job can be fun, helping to make every day different.
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Things to bear in mind
There’s a lot to think about if you’d like to join a shisha bar franchise. Here are just a few things to bear in mind:
- People go to shisha bars to relax with friends, often while chatting, playing games or watching TV, for example. As a result, you should provide a comfortable seating area and promote a laidback atmosphere for your customers. Many shisha bars set up sofas and chairs with cushions and space heaters.
- The Health Act 2006 makes it illegal to smoke in enclosed spaces, so you won’t be allowed to create a smoking area with an enclosed roof. Instead, it should be partially or fully open-air.
- Traditionally, shisha contains cigarette tobacco, so it contains nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. That means shisha smokers are putting themselves at risk of heart disease, respiratory disease and cancer. And the level of risk is particularly high, given that the average shisha session lasts for an hour or more, during which you inhale the same amount of smoke that you would from 100 cigarettes. Despite this, people still visit shisha bars on a regular basis, but you should be aware of the health implications and avoid covering up the risks or making exaggerated claims.
- As shisha bars involve more hazards than a traditional bar or restaurant, you’ll need to take responsibility to assess and control the risks. If you employ more than five people, you should complete regular risk assessments and train staff to manage and respond to incidents.
You’ll also need to think about:
- Building regulations
- Statutory nuisances such as noise and smells
- Fire safety
- The Licensing Act 2003 for the provision of regulated entertainment and late-night refreshment
- Health and safety measures
- Revenue and Customs for duty liable on tobacco products
Top shisha bar franchises
Opening a shisha bar can be tricky, due to the various regulations and perceived risks it involves. However, this type of business is rising in popularity, particularly amongst younger consumers, so it’s definitely a franchise opportunity worth considering.
Choosing to invest in a shisha bar franchise eliminates some of the difficulties involved in getting an independent business up and running. As the franchisor will have experience in opening other shisha bars, they’ll have all the necessary knowledge to make sure your business fully complies with the rules and regulations.
There aren’t many shisha bar franchises out there, but here are two of the best ones looking for franchisees today:
1. Shisha Shake
Shisha Shake offers a complete turnkey business opportunity for investors.
- Becoming a Shisha Shake franchisee: Your chances of being accepted as a Shisha Shake franchisee will be significantly improved if you have previous business experience, a proven track record of success and personal financial qualifications. You should also be motivated and passionate about the brand. To learn more, click here.
- How much you need to invest: From an investment perspective, the initial franchise fee is £10,000, but the minimum cost of setting up your business will be in the region of £50,000. You’ll be expected to pay an ongoing royalty fee once you’re up and running, calculated as 20 percent of gross sales, as well as a two percent marketing fee. You’ll also be required to buy all your business’ consumables and branding materials from an approved Shisha Shake supplier.
- What you get for your investment: Shisha Shake covers everything from location selection, planning, design, staff recruitment and training. Franchisees are enrolled onto a comprehensive, bespoke training programme lasting a minimum of four weeks and involving one-to-one and hands-on training in all aspects of the business. Also, when you open your bar, an experienced member of staff will join you to provide support and help train your new team.
2. The Canopy
The Canopy is another popular shisha bar looking for new franchisees. The brand has been operating since 2006 and prides itself on the service and atmosphere provided within its restaurants.
- Becoming a The Canopy franchisee: All entrepreneurs who invest in The Canopy are granted an exclusive territory, so you can become a franchisee safe in the knowledge that no other investors will be able to open a bar in your town or city. If you’re looking for a challenge with the support of an experienced franchisor, then Canopy could be just the opportunity for you. To learn more, click here.
- How much you need to invest: If you decide to become a franchisee with Canopy, you’ll need to make a one-off franchise fee of £20,000 plus VAT. The great news is, there are no ongoing costs or expenses to pay to the franchisor, so you keep all the profit you make.
- What you get for your investment: As part of the franchise package, you’ll receive four weeks of training alongside your manager and staff. You’ll also get help to choose the perfect location for your new business with the support of a legal team that will assist you in any lease or purchase negotiations.
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Get started now
If you want to become a shisha bar owner, it’s worth doing your research to make sure it’s the right step for you. If you can get the formula right, you could set up a highly profitable franchise unit, as this is a sector on the up.
Once you’re sure it’s the path you’d like to go down, you’ll need to find a territory that has the potential to generate enough income for you and your employees. If you don’t think a shisha bar would do well in your local area, you’ll need to look further afield to find a suitable location. Don’t forget, it’ll need to be somewhere with a partially or fully open-air smoking area.
After this step, it’ll be down to you to choose which shisha bar franchise you’d like to join and make sure you adhere to all the necessary regulations.
To browse our full range of franchise investment opportunities, visit our directory here.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©