UK Developer is available to any established International brand that can evidence they have a proven business model that has traded successfully with an established network of franchisees in its country of origin. This category is open to any franchisor with a development interest in the UK and is keen to benefit from UK industry insights, high quality network and education, along with development support.
Duncan Berry, director at Spa810, talks about the company entering the UK market and its vision for the future.
Tell us a little bit about Spa810…
“Spa810 began in the United States of America in 2012, and have been franchising there for the last five plus years. We saw the UK as a great market to get into, taking over the master franchise a year ago. It’s a growing market, with people spending money on looking good.”
Where did you launch your pilot?
“We launched the pilot in Harrogate, with a local population of 75,000 and a good demographic for us. The treatments we offer at Spa810 have certainly been well received there.”
Why did you feel it was important to become a member of the bfa under the UK Developer category?
“Having been twice elected to the bfa Board myself, I was really keen to have that scrutiny added to the brand that the bfa brings with it. It was important to me that the business was validated by the bfa in terms of what we were doing with the brand in the UK and letting prospective franchisees know it has been looked at by the independent standards body in the UK to give them the certainty and reassurance that we were bringing in a credible, robust business model.”
Can you distinguish what your brand provides for us…
“We are a medispa company. Medispa treatments are results driven so it could be body sculpting with fat freezing, laser hair removal, aesthetic facials, massage reflexology and more, but it’s fundamentally about getting a good result from a course of treatment.”
Have you had to adapt the model at all for business entry?
“One element that we have changed is the skin consultation process. We felt it was important to bring in a skin analysis device which they don’t have in the USA, which helps the therapists to take images of our clients’ skin in different lights so customers can see themselves what is happening with their skin and agree a course of treatment. This gives the therapist and client full confidence that what is being recommended will bring the best results.”
What would your top tips be for other international franchisors looking at UK market entry?
“Firstly, have a feasibility study done. Also look at the competition in not only the national but also the local market you are looking at. Ensure you have enough funding as the process may be costlier and take longer than you may first expect. And also make sure that with the pilot operation you are running, you are investing in a strong team.”
Are you looking to enter other markets?
“We are also looking at the Ireland. Spa810 as a corporate brand in the US will also be looking to get into other European markets in due course. We need to demonstrate a solid business case for the UK before they point to that success and look at other markets.”
Tell us about the origins of Coffee Planet and your role…
Coffee Planet was established in 2005 on the Arabian Peninsula – where coffee roasting began – some 500 years before. Our business originally provided freshly ground coffee and fresh milk vending solutions for petrol station convenience stores. In 2007, we expanded into providing solutions to leading 5* hotels, restaurants, catering companies, airlines and offices. 2008 saw the launch of our roastery – taking control of our 100% Arabica specialty coffee blends and single origins. Since then, Coffee Planet has launched international franchising – offering a range of trading options – and developed across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the UK. In 2019, we doubled our roasting capacity to a 200 tonnes per month – confirming our status as the largest roaster of speciality Arabica coffee in the Middle East. Our sourcing of green beans stretches across 20 countries worldwide – with all our coffee being roasted in our Dubai facility.
As Brand Operations Manager, my role is focussed on developing our commercial presence across as many territories as possible, combining the functions of the Marketing, Training and Product Development Teams in driving brand awareness and customer preference. In addition to sourcing new investment partners, I manage the existing partnerships across all markets. I also drive the marketing calendar activities for the year, attend various international franchise shows and help in locating and developing our own corporate store operations, ensuring all brand standards are met.
Why do you think Coffee Planet would be successful in the UK marketplace?
Consumer tastes and preferences are ever-evolving, and with specialty Arabica coffee being the growth segment in the global coffee industry, our high-grade blends and single origins are well-placed to deliver that customer satisfaction, in tandem with our vigorous food development programme. We have a UK development strategy for 2020 that will build on our first store in Cardiff, with a second site secured in the City and other opportunities being pursued in Bristol, Wolverhampton and various rail network locations. We have a UK management base in Cardiff, with Coffee Planet UK gearing for expansion across several cities.
Have you had to consider adapting the model or your products at all to tailor it to the UK?
The approach to territory development plans is a slightly different challenge to those in other international markets – with the established High Street competition and occasionally modest resources available to hand. However, by regionalising development areas and targeting smaller clusters for investors to concentrate on, we are finding growing interest as we exhibit at shows and open up new discussions.
What are the future plans of Coffee Planet, both in the UK and internationally?
We are currently in discussions to develop new territories in North Africa, mainland Europe, the GCC countries, Southeast Asia and the UK, in addition to growing our presence in both South Asia and the UAE. We are supporting that strategy by investing in new corporate sites within Dubai, to showcase design innovations in the concept and our fantastic 100% Arabica specialty coffees.