The founder and business director of Seeds Consulting, a U.K.-based consultancy specializing in QSR operations, provides some insight into the country’s food obsession.
KM: Compared to other European countries, what stands out about the U.K.’s food franchising scene?
MF: I am sure most operators will agree that the U.K. is the most competitive and sophisticated industry in Europe, if not worldwide. Most cuisines and concept types are represented across the spectrum, from QSR to fine dining. London is constantly colonized by American, European and, more recently, Far Eastern well capitalized champions. It’s like a perpetual World Cup.
Such level of competition means that, to operate, both domestic and international brands need to be on top of their game in their operation, marketing, and business development. No surprise new entrants are entering the market themselves with local management teams.
KM: What are some of the main trends in 2021?
MF: Delivery is a big trend, accelerated by COVID-19. Being able to deliver is no longer enough; you need to have a way to incorporate it in your main business model and master all the areas that count: ratings, prep times, packaging, local marketing, and supporting tech.
Instagrammability is also a big trend. We have seen brands going from zero to hero purely based on their ability to generate online following.
KM: How can emerging brands stand out amidst fierce competition?
MF: Traditional fast food brands are usually referred to as “red brands” because of the color of their logo. Additional red brands entering the U.K. market face a “red ocean” (one full of sharks eating each other), where they will need, regardless of their carefully chosen strategic positioning, to steal market share from extremely well-established market leaders and household names in a market populated by brand driven consumers.