Pop-culture legend Morley’s Chicken serves delicious fried chicken and provides a collective space to both the community and its franchisees
Morley’s Chicken is a household name in the UK. The brand was established in 1985 by Kannalingam Selvendran after he visited a franchise show and was inspired to bring high-quality fried chicken to his local community, and it has grown exponentially ever since. Although well-known for its delicious chicken fillets and wings, the company offers a diverse menu including ribs and beef burgers, with its staple barbecue sauce being a customer favourite.
Morley’s Chicken continues to go from strength to strength, weathering multiple economic crises and proving itself as a robust business model for its franchisees.
Supporting community creatives
Morley’s Chicken shops become an integral part of the community where they are located. Shan Selvendran, the CEO of the company and Kannalingam’s son, says: “At our essence, we are a community brand. We connect with the culture around us organically, and try to support the people around us.” The company elevates and encourages creativity. British rapper Stormzy used the popular chicken shop as the location for his hit single Big For Your Boots, and hip hop due Krept and Konan released Morley’s Freestyle which encapsulates the iconic nature of the brand. Morley’s Chicken is not just a shop serving fried chicken - it’s a home away from home for its customers. It is a restaurant that people return to because they remember being taken there as a child, and it then becomes a spot that they visit with their friends as they grow older. Shan continues: “We’re a very passionate and supportive company. We have connectivity to our supporters and that makes us stand out against other brands.”
The immensely popular Chicken Shop Date dating videos are filmed in Morley’s, where Amelia Dimoldenberg interviews and chats with music artists whilst they enjoy a meal together. The company has supported a local playwright and actor by providing PR and food for his shows, and Abraham Adeyemi’s short film No More Wings, which is set in a Morley’s shop, received numerous awards and accolades including a win at the Tribeca Festival in 2020. Shan adds: “We build relationships with creatives. We have a creative studio upstairs at one of our shops in Brick Lane where we invite fashion artists or music artists, anyone creative, to use the space. If you need it, we’ll support you.”
Lucrative franchise opportunity
The Morley’s Chicken brand has been around for over 30 years, and in that time it has garnered a huge presence in the South London area. Shan attributes the company’s success to the quality and uniqueness of its products. “We offer something a little bit different,” he says. “Our food is a little bit spicier, with some Asian influence in our flavours. At a Morley’s, you’ll get a person in a suit, a person in a construction uniform, a young kid, a mum and her family, and they’re all in there together. It is an everyman brand.”
The company is an authority on chicken, and with something on offer for people from all walks of life, it is a strong business to invest in. It has almost reached its hundredth store, and franchisees can see a return on their investment within 18 to 36 months. “Owning a Morleys Chicken shop means you’ll get a lot of love,” Shan says. “Demand for our products is always there, and we’re looking into introducing some new flavours.” Business owners receive extensive help and support from the franchise. Morley’s Chicken knows how to use marketing and PR to the franchisees’ advantage, as seen when they invited Crystal Palace to film an advert in one of their shops that needed a boost in sales.
Shan explains: “At the head office, we’re the kind of people that pick up the phone before we send an email because we understand how to run a business. We know the pains of running a shop, so we know exactly where you might need help and how to solve problems quickly. We have a proven system that works really well.”
With a strong base in London, Morley’s Chicken has plans to expand throughout the UK and further afield. “We have a bright future,” Shan continues. “Our main goal domestically is to be the number one fried chicken brand in the UK. We want to hit every major city in the country, including Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Portsmouth, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Liverpool, and we would like to see if we can get entry into Scotland as well. We’re open to anything, as long as there’s an opportunity there and growth is available.”
The company is also making plans for developing overseas in Saudi Arabia. “We’re looking for people that are passionate and hard-working,” Shan explains. “We really focus on the quality of our products, and we’re strong believers in our people at every level - internally, externally, our partners, our suppliers, all the way down to our supporters and customers.”
The food on offer at Morley’s Chicken, along with the company’s underdog mentality and community ethos, is what keeps customers coming back.“I don’t think anyone comes into a Morley’s to buy a salad,” Shan says. “You come in to catch up with friends, and to eat some great fried chicken.”
With its high-quality food and its continual hold on popular culture, Morley’s Chicken is a franchise opportunity you don’t want to miss.
At a glance
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
Greater London, Birmingham and East Sussex
£120,000 to £185,000
Minimum required capital: