Is Speedway A Franchise? [Ultimate Guide!]

Is Speedway a Franchise? Well, if you live in the United Kingdom you might ask that question, considering that the iconic fast food restaurant chain is currently offering franchise opportunities to aspiring business owners. The brand has been around for more than 80 years and continues to grow today, so it’s safe to assume that the company is doing something right.

But is it possible for someone to own a piece of the iconic brand? How about starting a business with the purpose of bringing the Speedway experience to your door? Is that something that could be purchased in a retail franchise setting? Let’s take a closer look at the UK business opportunity and what you can expect if you decide to invest in this exciting foodie lifestyle brand.

A History Of Thrilling Superfood Flavors

You might be wondering how some of the most well-known food brands came about, what made them special, and whether you’ll be able to recreate the same winning formula in your restaurant. Well, the short answer is ‘yes’ and ‘of course’. It’s fair to say that without the innovation and drive of men like James Whitehead and Frank Meade, the likes of KFC and McDonald’s may not exist today. While some companies were founded on an accident, which then turned into a profitable venture, others like Speedway were built on the back of careful research and strategizing.

Whitehead and Meade were two Oxford graduates who worked for a bank in the City of London. After gaining experience in the investment banking world, the two friends opened a small office in Covent Garden in 1906. Their aim was to provide better service for customers and make quick, easy profits – a winning combination that has served them well over the years.

The two men soon began developing their ‘new ways of selling eggs’ and expanded their business to include quick-service restaurants. They used the latest food technology available at the time to master the art of ‘ultra-cooking’ – a technique that would become standard in all their restaurants. This involved cooking food quickly using high-pressure steam technology and specialized equipment. The men named their company ‘Speedway’ after the London bus service that runs past their old office in the city. And thus, an iconic British brand was born.

The UK’s First And Largest Fast Food Chain

If you’ve ever been to London you’ll know exactly what kind of restaurant the Whiteshead and Meade’s were running back in the day. The greasy spoons they founded in London soon became popular throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, and in 1921 they opened a restaurant in New York City. It wasn’t long before the company’s annual revenue reached £2.7 million, giving it a healthy profit margin. At the time, this was a significant amount of money, even for a company as established as theirs.

These days, you’ll hardly ever see a restaurant in London that doesn’t feature the iconic red and white stripes on their awning. It’s a familiar sight throughout the UK, and even overseas visitors will know what type of establishment they’re looking for when they see those charming orange and white colors. This isn’t something that happened overnight – it took a while for the ‘ol red and white striped awning to become an emblematic part of the British fast food scene.

An Opportunity To Start A Business From Scratch

While it was certainly possible to purchase a franchise or license for quick service restaurants in the early 20th century, there were restrictions – typically, you had to be 18 years old and had to reside in the country you were operating in. These days, it’s much easier to startup a business in a location that is already prepared for quick serve restaurants. In fact, there are entire business communities built around the concept of providing services to food-related businesses, should you decide to take that route.

Franchise Restrictions Have Changed

The UK has changed a lot since the early days of the 20th century, and so has the way businesses are operated and the restrictions placed on them. For example, nowadays most restaurants are required to be branded with an all-natural vegetable oil – typically rapeseed or soybean oil – and are prohibited from frying many foods in unhealthy oils. They also have to make sure that the food they serve is prepared in a safe manner and is of a good quality. Having a food safety manager on staff is now commonplace and something that all fast food chains, even small family operations, must have.

How To Operate A Quality Restaurant

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (the FSA for short) has set down a series of guidelines that every restaurant (takeaway and chain stores) must follow. This includes things like using only fresh, natural ingredients, preparing food in a safe manner, and serving food that is of a good quality. Restaurants must follow these guidelines to attain a good food rating from the FSA. The agency also sets down various restrictions (for example, the minimum wage for employees and the types of food that must be served) that must be followed per location.

Many Franchises, One Company

Today, if you decide to purchase a piece of the iconic Speedway pie you’ll be joining a diverse group of businesspeople who have decided to share their passion for food and their commitment to quality. The company currently operates more than 170 outlets across the UK and is one of the country’s most profitable food businesses, generating an estimated £18.9 million in annual revenue and paying over £600,000 in annual profits. This makes it one of the most successful burger chains in the country. In January 2021, it was announced that the company is looking for franchisees to open 30 new restaurants across the UK over the next five years.

The Bottom Line

Is fast food, and particularly American-style fast food, something that you’ll want to get involved with? Or is it something that you want to stay away from, especially if you’re looking to establish your own business? The fact is that you’ll rarely make a significant amount of money from the outset with a fast food restaurant, especially if you want to make it a going concern. However, if you want to test the waters and see what the market will bear, then now might be a good time to do so.

What do you think? Is Speedway a franchise that you’ll want to get involved with? Let us know your thoughts by engaging with us on social media or by dropping us an email at [email protected]

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