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Food & Beverage
£80,000-£250,000 per annum
The first Thorntons shop was opened in Sheffield in 1911 by travelling confectioner Joseph Thornton and his son Norman, who was just 14 at the time.
They started off selling sweets and in the 1920s expanded into chocolate truffles, crystallised fondants and toffee. As its reputation grew for selling the finest sweet treats, so did the business.
Today Thorntons’ national chain of shops sell a range of chocolate boxes, bags and bars, as well as truffles, toffee, fudge, collection boxes, personalised chocolate gifts and hampers. All of its products can be purchased on the company’s website.
The brand claims to be Britain’s largest chocolate maker. In total, the company employs around 3,500 staff in the UK. Italian confectionery maker Ferraro acquired Thorntons in June 2015.
Thorntons has been a full member of the British Franchise Association since 1997. As a full member, the brand has proved a track record of trading, financial and franchising success over a considerable period of time.
All bfa members have to demonstrate their franchises are:
• Transferable (they can be easily replicated).
• Disclosed (all information relevant to the franchise proposition must be made available to potential investors).
How does the Thorntons franchise model work?
This company wants to recruit franchisees who already have an established retail space or are in the process of opening one and would like to include a Thorntons offering in their outlet.
The majority of Thorntons franchises are situated in card and gift shops, a home/living environment, department stores, cafés, coffee shops and post offices.
How big does my shop need to be before Thorntons will consider entering into a franchise partnership with me?
Ideally, your retail unit should be between 1,200 and 1,500 square feet and located in an area with high customer footfall, such as a high street, main street or shipping centre.
If you are unsure whether your shop would be suitable to accommodate a Thorntons franchise, the company is happy to assess the site on your behalf.
How much space does it take to accommodate a Thorntons franchise?
The ‘store in a store’ model used by Thorntons takes up around 350 square feet of retail space on average, which includes a minimum of 65 square feet for a chilled stockroom.
How much does it cost to become a Thorntons franchisee?
Thorntons charges a £1,000 franchise fee for a five-year agreement.
On top of this, franchisees must budget an extra £20,000 for the project management of the fit-out, plus fixtures and fittings.
What’s the earnings potential of a Thorntons franchise?
The company says sales can be anywhere between £80,000 to £250,000 per annum. However, Thorntons states these figures are not guarantees of earnings, as they are based on factors such as store location, retail footfall and the amount of time a franchisee devotes to developing the business.
A husband and wife partnership who already owned an established retail space reported an overall sales increase of 30 per cent after setting up a Thorntons franchise in their outlet.
How does a Thorntons franchisee place orders for their shop?
Franchisees place orders over the phone and can expect delivery within two working days. The delivery system used by Thorntons means franchisees can order and receive deliveries on a predetermined day.
Products are manufactured, packed and distributed from Thornton Park in Derbyshire, where the company has a large warehouse facility.
What skills and experience do I need to become a Thorntons franchisee?
Prospective franchisees must be an experienced retailer or someone who wants to build a successful retail business in the confectionary sector.
All franchisees must be hardworking, entrepreneurial, committed to providing first class customer service and able to follow a proven system of doing business in partnership with an established brand.
What training and support do Thorntons franchisees receive?
A comprehensive initial and ongoing training programme has been developed for all franchisees to complete and covers every aspect of launching and developing a Thorntons franchise.
Support is provided by a team of experienced territory managers, who can assist franchisees with maximising sales opportunities, customer service, brand compliance and seasonal planning.
Thorntons also organises regular franchise forum meetings, where topics such as operations, brand development, sales and improving the customer experience are discussed among the network.
What are the Thorntons franchise terms of agreement and renewal?
The initial franchise agreement lasts for five years and is renewable following this time, subject to agreement between the franchisee and franchisor.
Why is Thorntons a good investment?
The Thorntons franchise is a tried and tested format that has been successfully replicated throughout the UK. Its product offering generates year round footfall and regular repeat business, while the franchisor also provides franchisees with exceptional training and levels of support. These elements mean your chances of success are higher than if you started a similar business as an independent entity.
Positioning itself in the market as ‘an affordable alternative to luxury brands’, Thorntons says it strives to build long term, profitable partnerships with all its franchisees.
For established retailers, a Thorntons franchise within their premises gives them a new product range to offer customers, plus the potential for increased footfall and new sales.
Chocolate is one of the world’s favourite foods and the global market is estimated to be worth £79 billion. In the UK, the sector continues to grow and is worth around £5.3 billion, proving there’s still room for indulgence among consumers. The gifting of chocolate is becoming increasingly popular.
The UK is ranked fourth when it comes to the countries that consume the most chocolate, only behind Ireland (third), Germany (second) and Switzerland (first).
Where in the UK is the Thorntons franchise based?
Thorntons’ head office is in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
How can I get started on setting up my own Thorntons business?
Complete the enquiry form on this page and a member of the Thorntons franchise recruitment team will be in touch.
They will provide you with further information about the business opportunity and ask you some questions about your background, skills and aspirations.
During the recruitment process, you will meet with the Thorntons franchise team face to face and be able to speak to a number of established franchisees in order to find out more about running the franchise.
You are also advised to conduct independent research into the franchise and have the franchise agreement and financial information provided by the franchisor scrutinised by experienced legal and financial professionals.
Request Free Information
Send a free enquiry to Thorntons for further information!