What are the most successful franchises in the UK?

Bryan Brown | 12 July 2021 | 3 years ago

What are the most successful franchises in the UK?

After an intensely challenging past 18 months or so, many entrepreneurs have started ‘side hussles’ or want to redirect their focus with new businesses that are more ‘bomb-proof’.

Franchises are good business options that can give you quick traction if they are established. The franchise consultants Lime Licensing Group have a dynamic list of franchises updated monthly, which is a good starting point.

Having a list of franchises in front of you will start questions rattling off in your head. First up will no doubt be: “How do I decide which is the best one?”

Franchise choices from pre-covid research will have mostly fallen off the “best one” shortlist. The franchise industry has changed significantly in the wake of the new economy. Due diligence of past results will not be a good projection as the future in a post-epidemic is an anomaly. See our article on “Due diligence when buying a business” to see the benefit of a due diligence process.

Even if the franchise survived the epidemic in reasonable shape, the future will most likely bear different results to the presented historical facts. This is not only true of franchises but businesses in general.

What franchises are successful options in the UK?

The events industry predicts a strong come-back of fete’s, music festivals and large sporting events later in 2021 with society’s lockdown fatigue. If that does occur then, an events franchise would be a top consideration, but projections are tough to quantify. This is not to say that there is no chance of this happening. If the lockdown regulations drop and the pandemic is kicked to the sideline, then the events industry will definitely flourish.

No doubt you are as fatigued as other business people with the constant “if” and “pandemic” mentions, so let’s look at the businesses that always work.

Window cleaning

Window cleaning is a simple, must-have business that continues even during a pandemic. Its attractiveness is increased by the fact that most clients “subscribe” for repeat price packages.  There is nothing mind-blowing about the business model nor the service concept, but it is a solid, low assets option.

Online community

Another great option which suits a pandemic OR non-pandemic environment is an online community centre such as See No Bounds. This was started after the founder woke up paralysed one morning. He created the business model to a community of people who are forced to adapt and diversify. It is now a B2B burgeoning business and is UK’s first Online Community Centre and is expanding nationally. It is being referred to as “ on steroids.”

Funerals & healthcare

Other franchises that had only a minor effect, or thrived, from the pandemic were Full Circle Funerals, Percurra and Wolf Healthcare. They are relatively immune from market forces.

Car-related businesses

With international travel restrictions and a pervading fear of the risk of travel, you may see brands that do car roof box hire benefiting. Road trips are definitely on the increase, deeper appreciation of home countries and visiting family and friends (when permitted).

Mental health businesses

Another industry that has seen an upturn in clientele is the mental health industry. A franchise advocating mental health awareness will be relevant during and after the pandemic. One such franchise, The Cuddle Club, is a powerful animal therapy solution through the “power of pups” and is expanding nationally.

Which franchises are the most profitable in the UK?

If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us is that not all businesses are created equal.  After such a confidence-rattling year, entrepreneurs want to invest in businesses that are lucrative both this year and in the future.

Here is an overview of global and local franchises. The top-performing franchises were heavily weighted with international brands, possibly due to their huge financial resources but possibly also due to astute marketing:

Top 100 Franchises in the UK 2020/2021

This list was compiled by Franchise Direct after they examined hundreds of franchise brands across the United Kingdom:

1 McDonald’s USA Fast Food
2 Autosmart United Kingdom Automotive
3 Domino’s USA Pizza
4 Pizza Hut USA Pizza
5 Molly Maid Canada Cleaning
6 KFC USA Fast Food
7 Fantastic Services United Kingdom Home Services
8 Expense Reduction Analysts United Kingdom Business Consulting
9 ServiceMaster Clean USA Cleaning
10 Jan-Pro USA Cleaning
11 Burger King USA Fast Food
12 Swarovski Austria Retail
13 Subway USA Sandwich
14 Skechers USA Fashion and Alterations
15 Auntie Anne’s USA Bakery
16 Starbucks USA Coffee
17 Century 21 USA Property & Estate Agency
18 Sandler Training USA Training & Business Coaching
19 ActionCOACH Australia Training & Business Coaching
20 TruGreen USA Gardening

This is an extract from the top 100 franchise brands. You can find the full list of the Top 100 here.

WorkBuzz also has the Best Franchise Awards for top performers. The award system is unique as they are based on feedback from thousands of actual franchisees. WorkBuzz has each franchisee completes a Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark survey rating their franchisor holistically. All the data is strictly confidential.

The 2020/21 Best Franchise Awards were sponsored by Lloyds Bank. In partnership with Coconut Creatives, WorkBuzz announced the 2020/21 winners:

Best New Entry – We Love Pets

Best Franchise – Under £2m Network Turnover – Pink Spaghetti

Best Franchise – £2-10m Network Turnover – Razzamataz Theatre Schools

Best Franchise – £10m+ Network Turnover – Right at Home

WorkBuzz Hero – Martin Jones, CEO of Home Instead.

The WorkBuzz Hero award

This WorkBuzz Hero award recognises individuals who have had a consistent, huge impact on both their franchise networks and their industry.  During 2020, Martin formed a Covid Taskforce to support Home Instead’s 200+ plus franchise offices, 17, 000 clients and 12, 000+ CAREGivers! That is franchisor leadership at a Masters level.

During this time, the franchisee’s client satisfaction levels soared to 97 percent of clients, and 98 percent of the clients said that their CAREGiver had helped keep them safe during the pandemic. This type of franchisor care makes it a very attractive franchise option, including its ability to be relevant during a crisis.

Martin also keeps upping his knowledge levels which filters down as a benefit to all franchisees.  In our article “What are business development skills” [insert article hyperlink] we list self-improvement as a key success factor to the development of your business. If your franchisor is constantly developing, your franchise will never stagnate.

Martin voluntarily served as the Chair of The Silver Line charity, the Age UK trustee and was a Member of the UKHCA Board.  In addition, he is a trustee of the Care Workers Charity, wherein he champions the role of caregivers. This franchisor walks the talk!

This is a good demonstration of what to look for when choosing a franchise to purchase.  With such powerful franchisor support, a franchisee will recuperate quickly from a crisis and will choose loyalty over price in the future.

SukI Dehal, Head of Franchising for sponsors Lloyds Bank noted the bank’s pride at being involved in such a meaningful award system. Cognisant that the judging process had to be re-evaluated for the unique 2020 conditions, it still delivered valuable evaluations with inspiring stories of dynamic adaptations by franchisors and franchisees.

All the franchises that were evaluated maintained their highly competitive edge which, again, made judging tough but exciting with deeply impressive results shown by all top runners.

If you want your franchise to participate in the Best Franchise Programme and Awards, then you should register by following this link:

WorkBuzz applies the benchmark system by inviting existing franchisees to participate in an anonymous online survey. They are required to answer 32 questions about their franchise ownership experience covering a broad range of topics from training and support to shared goals and how the experience of being a franchisee compares with their expectations.

From this exciting look at positive outcomes from 2020, where to for the future?

Which sectors will change?

Casual dining businesses

We can all safely say that casual dining businesses may never be the same again. They will have a low attractiveness as a franchise in 2021/2022 if they are a strictly “eat-in” venue. If their business model includes a vigorous takeout channel or potential, then that alters their value significantly. We are not talking about a ‘call us, and we’ll make a plan with take out’.  We are talking about a professional take out channel within the business model. This will boost profits as well as make the business more robust in the face of a crisis.

Personal services

Personal services such as medical and beauty have changed and will continue to do so. The demand for the service will prevail, but the service delivery will continue to evolve into a new format. As will any face to face business format.

It will be interesting to see the evolution of the traditional sales rep position versus online ordering and bot chats.

You may find that some of the best franchises for 2021 are not established brands. As ‘buy local’ gains huge momentum, it may well be a new franchise that takes the crown. Many of the best franchises do not advertise, only those “in the know” hear about the opportunities and grab them up, like a hot property is grabbed by estate agents before it even hits the market.

To put yourself ahead of the competition, it would be prudent to register with one or two franchise brokers if you are seeking a franchise opportunity. At Business Advice, we give expert advice on how to grow and improve your business. Read more of our professional business advice now!

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