Franchising is the icing on the cake

Posted 06/06/2016 : By: Support

Entrepreneur Tarek Malouf launched The Hummingbird Bakery in 2004 in response to what he saw as a lack of any places in London to enjoy the taste of truly authentic American-style baking. Now, the brand is being rolled-out across the globe.

The Hummingbird Bakery is an American-style bakery which was set-up to bring the authentic taste of American home baking to London.Malouf’s vision for the bakery and love of American baking transpired to be something that not only people from London, but people from across the globe came to share.The company opened the doors of its first branch on Portobello Road back in 2004 and it has since opened a further six branches across the capital.With demand for its products soaring, and people from across the globe wanting a slice of the action, Malouf knew he had to explore new avenues to continue growing the business.This led to the bakery launching its first overseas franchise model, and investors flocked to invest. Already the company has established a presence in the Middle East, with two branches in Dubai, and Malouf has ambitious plans to continue growing the brand overseas.He told BQ: “Our overseas growth has been entirely due to franchising. This has allowed us to expand our brand outside the UK without having to invest as a joint partner which could be costly or very time consuming.”And it doesn’t stop there. “Our franchisee will be opening in several more Middle Eastern countries over the next few years, with one in Riyadh by the end of the summer and also another location in Dubai in late 2016,” he added. “We are discussing some Japanese options with a company there too!”Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakery are a great example of how franchising can help small UK businesses grow overseas. According to the latest research by the British Franchise Association (bfa), the contribution of franchising to the UK economy is now reckoned to be £15.1bn, an increase of 46% over the past 10 years and up 10% since the last survey in 2013.The research also showed that a record 97% of franchisee-owned units reported profitability, with 56% saying they are ‘quite’ or ‘very’ profitable. This is definitely reflected by the success of The Hummingbird Bakery however, as with all businesses, it has had to overcome challenges to ensure the franchise was a success.Speaking about the challenges he has faced, and how he overcome them, Malouf added: “Our main challenge is to ensure that our brand standards and procedures are being adhered to by people that are thousands of miles and several time zones away. The only way to overcome this is to be persistent with building two-way communications with your franchisee.

“Keep on calling, keep on giving feedback and let them know when they are straying away from what has been agreed. But important to give them time support too with suggestions and also practical help when they might need some design advice or any materials sent over in an emergency.”