I've been speaking with Georgie Collins, Head of our US Desk and IP team, as she steps off the plane from her recent trip to the States about the explosion across the UK of North American brands and how we are supporting our clients coming to do business in the UK.
Georgie commented that despite the current economic climate, the UK is still an attractive place to establish and grow your brand and adds that there is a long tradition of American brands having huge success in the UK from McDonald’s to Subway. Our clients are telling us that the key is being able to find the right partners to nurture and develop their brand be that franchise, supply, logistics, legal or marketing. Current challenges include recruitment, increasing costs (the NLW increase having been announced most recently), regulation and finding the right locations.
Also from our International team, Rob Cowling highlights how the current strength of the dollar vs. the pound is making now such a great time to invest into the UK. He says that the current situation allows attractive real estate to be secured on more favourable terms getting more for your money at a time when capital value growth and yields remain in good shape. Retail landlords up and down the country are also looking to secure new and exciting brands to attract consumers and offer something different. The 11-hour queues witnessed for the launch of Popeyes in Nottingham combined with their recently announced expansion plans, shows that Britain’s appetite for American fast food shows no signs of slowing down. Wendy’s and Carl’s Jr are also jumping on the bandwagon and WingStop, a business that is relatively new to the UK, is doing extremely well and expanding fast.
New brands do however need to understand the complexities of the UK planning system and Claire Petricca-Riding, Head of Manufacturing, Environmental and Planning at Irwin Mitchell, points out that’s where we can really add value. Understanding hospitality and retail whilst looking at the bigger picture when it comes to planning applications, or just ensuring that a wide enough search has been undertaken is essential to protect the longevity of a successful site. As Claire says - no one wants to find they have just launched in the wrong location!
A central part of a brands success in a market place of consumers making decisions fuelled by their ethical and environmental road maps is ensuring that a brand’s culture and values are reflected in any new market. How employees are treated is going to be key to this. McDonald’s Director of Operations was recently quoted talking about building and designing sites based on employee needs rather than those of their customers, happy employees equal happy customers.
So clearly a lot for new brands to think about when entering the UK market but so much opportunity and potential for success that it is clear to us at Irwin Mitchell that this trend, which started decades ago, is here to stay.
American brands have found UK success, with more openings in the pipeline. Here's why they're igniting cravings country-wide
Despite the onslaught of business closures, rising food price inflation and spiralling energy costs, North American QSRs (quick-service restaurants) have managed to stay surprisingly bullish in a ruthless UK market.
Over the past five years, Texan chicken wing brand Wingstop, Canadian coffee and pastries chain Tim Hortons and, more recently, Louisiana fried-chicken concept Popeyes have been accelerating their UK expansion plans.