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What is a turnkey franchise and why is it so important in fast food franchising?
Anthony Round writes:
A turnkey fast food franchise is one where the franchisor provides all the assistance needed to open a new quick service restaurant (QSR). This includes store location, legal work – including gaining or ensuring the correct planning permission is in place – unit design and crucially the fit out. Franchisees are literally given the keys to the unit which is ready to go!
Unless potential franchisees are incredibly experienced, having these important details taken care of will ensure speed to market and contribute to a higher success rate during the launch phase of a new restaurant.
Experienced franchisees opening a new site, will also benefit from the franchisor’s connections and buying power. For example, Burger & Sauce uses a specialist property agent to help proactively locate the best units, in prime locations, often before they are advertised on the open market.
Franchisors will also know from experience what works best in terms of unit design. They will usually use approved, reliable contractors for the fit out of the whole store which can minimise costs and ensure a quality finish. If you’ve ever watched a property refurbishment programme on the TV, you will know how stressful things can get. Without experienced support and a dedicated project manager, work can easily go over budget and the timeline stretched beyond what can be reasonably expected. Having all these aspects taken care of is a huge benefit for franchisees.
Gaining planning permission can also be a lengthy process and so working with a franchisor which provides this service for franchisees can be particularly important. As experts, they will already understand the likelihood of gaining the correct permission in certain regions and be able to pursue the opportunities which are most likely to come to fruition quickly.
Being simply “given the keys” to the new unit, which is ready to go, means the franchisee can then focus on staff training and day-to-day running of the new restaurant without getting bogged down in admin even before they’ve launched. Starting any new business is a steep learning curve and can also be a testing time, therefore, having a turnkey option will remove a lot of the challenges right at the outset when franchisees need to concentrate on building their business.
Anthony Round is the franchise director of Burger & Sauce and has worked in the franchise industry for over 30 years with brands like Domino’s Pizza, Papa Johns, Yum! Brands, GDK and the CO-OP.
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