Most Popular Food Franchises in the UK and How Much They Cost

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The world of franchising is constantly growing and evolving but, year after year, one constant remains – the popularity of food franchises.  The UK food and drink industry generates a huge £230 billion each year and employs around 450,000 across 10,000 businesses – many of which are franchises.

Why are food franchises so popular?

No matter what’s going on, food remains a central part of our lives, and many people use food as a treat in terms of visiting a restaurant or ordering a well deserved Friday night takeaway.

In addition to the treat factor, there’s the added convenience of being able to grab a quick lunch on the go from one of the UK’s many fast-food restaurants – something we rely on more and more as our lives become increasingly busy.

Food franchises continue to be the go-to for many customers largely due to consistency – consumers know that they can visit a food brand anywhere in the world and receive the same meal at the same high quality.

Why buy a food franchise?

For those looking to tap into the lucrative and rewarding world of franchising, the food sector is a great option.

Becoming a food franchisee gives you access to the branding, reputation and customer base of a large and respected company, almost guaranteeing you success before you even open your doors for the first time.

Food franchising is also pretty much recession-proof as, even during tough times, consumers tend to continue to treat themselves to their favourite food.

As a food franchisee, you’ll also enjoy ongoing support within a tried and tested business model.

The 5 most popular food franchises

In the UK, there is a wide range of food franchises to choose from and, in this article, we’re going to take a look at the most popular of these, and how much it costs to get started with them:


The UK’s favourite pizza franchise has in excess of 1000 outlets and serves a staggering 90 million pizzas every year.  It is possible to grab yourself a slice of the action as a Dominos franchisee, A Domino’s franchise will cost you £280,000 in initial start-up fees, and you’ll need to have an additional £120,000 in liquid funds.


With 1300 outlets in the UK, McDonald’s franchise remains one of the most popular fast food choices for us Brits.  Despite its popularity, McDonald’s is pretty selective about who it sells franchises to and, the selection process can take up to six months.  If you’re lucky enough to bag yourself your very own set of the golden arches, it’ll set you back £100,000 in start-up fees.


This world-famous finger-licking good brand has around 850 UK outlets, 75% of which are owned by franchisees who serve up 690 million pieces of chicken each year.  Unfortunately, KFC franchise opportunities are only for those with fat bank accounts as you’ll need to have £5 million available in assets and £2 million in liquid capital.


The popular Subway franchise empire has over 43,000 outlets across 110 countries and is a firm favourite with franchisees.  If you’ve got the bread, you can bag yourself your very own branch of Subway for an initial investment of £85,570.


Relative newcomer, Wolf, has been serving healthy Italian street food to UK customers since 2015 and specialises in great food made from locally sourced ingredients.  To get a bite of this increasingly popular franchise opportunity, you’ll need an initial investment of £200,000.

Ready to open a food franchise?

As you’ve seen from the above, if you want to win at food franchising, you’ll need a fair amount of wonga; however, this is offset by the fact that there are considerable profits to be made in this sector.  For your initial investment, you’ll receive training, support and everything you need to get started.

As a food franchisee, you’ll be responsible for running your business, including hiring staff and promoting your business and will also need to pay monthly fees to the franchisor, which are usually made up of a percentage of your sales or profits.

Today, more and more people are focusing on achieving a better work/life balance by exiting the traditional world of employment in order to go into business for themselves.  Buying into a franchise allows you to do just that, without the significant risk associated with starting something brand new and, therefore, an unknown entity.

If you’re considering buying a food franchise, always study the terms and conditions carefully and seek legal advice before signing a contract.

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