The franchise market in the UK is probably the most active and developed market in Europe. According to a 2009 report by NatWest and the British Franchise Association (BFA), the UK franchise industry is worth £ 11.4 billion a year ($ 17.1 billion or 13 billion dollars a year), 6 billion euros), compared to 1 billion pounds in 1984 (1.5 billion dollars or 1.2 billion euros). Currently, 838 franchisors are active on the market and bring together 34,600 franchisees.
Since Ireland and the United Kingdom are neighbors, sharing the same language and more or less similar cultures, these two are closely related. Dr. Stephen Anderson, Commercial Counselor, US Commercial Service, Dublin, Ireland, explains, “Until the 1990s, US companies often traveled to the UK, which was the gateway to Ireland for them. Thus, the potential of the Irish market has never developed. Today, the opposite is true: Ambitious Irish companies obtain the rights to enter both the Irish and British markets. The reason these companies have a greater chance of success is that they refine their projects by setting up a franchise network in Ireland and are then ready to introduce it into the larger UK market. Although the economies of Ireland and the United Kingdom are not the same, it is possible to study them in parallel.
According to the NatWest and BFA report, a significant amount of franchise research is done online with 43% of franchisees consulting a specialized website when they plan to open a franchise unit. Following the decline of the UK economy and the increase in the number of skilled workers who lose their jobs, the quality of potential franchisee applications has improved. Previously, the lack of appropriate franchisees was the biggest concern of franchisers. It is now in third place after a lack of business following the decline of the economy and a lack of financial options.
Food franchises in particular have no problem entering the markets of the United Kingdom and Ireland as these two markets are important consumers of food, seeking a variety of catering offers because of the multiculturalism in the UK. United Kingdom, while Irish culture is increasingly interested in new food options. However, Bill Holohan of Holohan Solicitors in Ireland advises: “Hurry up slowly … there are things that will sell in Ireland and others will not. For example, we [the Irish] are one of the biggest consumers of ice cream per person; however, we are not fans of frozen yogurt. It is impossible to succeed in entering a foreign market without first doing a lot of research on the economy, the market and the society of the country where you want to set up.
Another franchise consultant in the UK, Dugan Aylen of Franchise Recruitment Services Ltd. says: “The biggest problem for foreign brands looking to invest in the UK is a lack of local knowledge. This may include the location of an advertisement so that it generates the desired number of applications at an acceptable cost per application. One of the most important aspects of UK franchise recruitment when it is conducted by foreign brands is to work closely with an experienced consultant who can manage, analyze and process inquiries on a day-to-day basis, Nowadays, to directly employ a franchise consultant in the United Kingdom who understands the culture and decision-making process of British or Irish citizens. A UK franchise consultant is a reliable choice for foreign franchisors and it would seem that this increases the probability of success of the brand in the chosen market.
With the UK economy out of the crisis, the franchise sector will continue to grow. Although Ireland’s economy has not yet emerged from the crisis, it is hoped that it will improve thanks to the growing optimism of the United Kingdom. The franchise market in the UK is a springboard for many US franchisers entering the European market and will certainly remain so for years to come.