The journey of franchising with Chicken Cottage

Do you know what makes Chicken Cottage different? They marinate their chicken for a minimum of 24 hrs before they finish it on the grill with your choice of Peri-Peri sauce or you can have it plain. The first Chicken Cottage restaurant was opened in Wembley, North London in 1994 and it was there the Chicken Cottage concept began to take shape. They now have over 75 stores worldwide across 10 countries.

Moreover, it is UK’s First Halal Fast Food Chicken Chain that serves only Fresh, Grade A, Hormone and Antibiotic Free Chicken. Ian Jeffrey, Senior Manager – Global Development, Chicken Cottage tells us how Chicken Cottage was launched with their signature grilled and fried chicken, and has since expanded into the world of desserts and international flavours.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

The brand was established back in 1994, when then the founders opened a few stores in London, and following requests from close family and friends, so started the journey of Franchising. Chicken Cottage has been built upon strong family values.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

The founders spotted a gap in the QSR sector, this being based upon customer requests for Halal food. Our loyal customers crave our authentic unique flavour, a real east meets west fusion, with 100% all muscle Halal chicken, covering both fried and grilled chicken.

3. What inspired the brand name?

The Brand name was inspired by the founders focus on family, it was very much focused around the homely feel and design of the stores.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

The logo has evolved since the inception of the Brand, the logo design has become very easily recognisable throughout the UK, and in particular London. With the location of many of the London stores being in tourist areas it has helped the brand be recognised around the world too.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

We are very proud of our founders vision of creating a QSR brand focused on Halal. By having this at the core of brand values we are able to offer a promise to each of our customers that they, no matter in which country they visit they will be able to have quality Halal chicken.

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

Diligence, a franchisee who diligently follows the processes rules, utilises the tools provided, and takes on board the help and support that we as the Franchisor offer will be a tremendous asset to the company, the brand and ultimately the customers. Positivity and Passion, it is exceptionally important that franchisees are highly-motivated and positive-minded, being able to use their energy to drive the business forward.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

There are many variables with this, the success of any Brand is down to fully utilising the tools that we as the Franchisor give you in support, this including the EPOS system, training manuals, attending training courses and seminars, if you are maximising these tools the ROI on a individual unit is approx 2-3 years.

Related Read: Chicken Cottage strengthens presence across East Africa

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

As with most people I feel the biggest challenge that has affected me has been the pandemic, it has been a time when I have had to reflected on what I know and how I do things, it has challenged me in how I operate, manage time and communicate, I very much enjoy the face to face contact and strongly believe it is a essential part of communicating and building relationships.

8.1 What is your best achievement?

When I joined Chicken Cottage we started a project around the introduction of a new menu layer, Ice Cream & Desserts, at the time we were a very small team so with the amount of work to undertake such a project was immense. We wanted to ensure it was done properly, not only putting in some products but putting products that we would become recognized for. Not only has the Ice Cream and Dessert been successful, but they have become consistent sellers in the UK, we are now looking to launch these in our other global markets.

9. How does your business day start?

One of the joys of working at Chicken Cottage is the many different challenges we encounter, none of the days will start the same way, it can be a call with a Franchisee, a video call with prospective Franchisee or a catch up with the team.

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

Having been involved in franchising for 20 years I have been very lucky to have many outstanding moments, I’ve been involved in so many successful restaurant openings, however if there was 1 standout moment it would be the Franchise Agreement we have just signed with Express Kitchens, a subsidiary of AAH Limited to open 50 outlets across East Africa, with the first 4 stores to open this year in Kenya.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

The foundations have been set in the past 12 months for substantial global growth, we have invested in the support structure for our existing franchisees, while at the same time building the expertise within the team to further grow the the brand around the world. Over the past 3 months we have had interest from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South Africa. I am very much looking at growing the Chicken Cottage Family around the world.

12. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

I bring myself back to the earlier question about the qualities we look for in a franchisee, Positivity and Passion, there is no point in going to business if you are are not passionate about it. If you are passionate you will radiate the positivity of the venture to your team and ultimately your customers.

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