Franchising, Agency and Distribution

The British Franchisee Association's market survey has shown the UK’s franchise sector is operating at record levels, turnover, employment and numbers of franchisee-owned businesses are all at their highest recorded levels.

Franchising contributed around £15 billion to the UK economy last year and employs over 620,000 people, according to the independently researched British Franchise Association/NatWest Franchise Survey 2015.  In short, franchising is one of the success stories of the UK economy.

The complimentary areas of commercial agency and distribution arrangements show similar success with many overseas operators choosing to sell into the attractive UK market and many domestic businesses moving away from the more traditional sales force model.

Ashfords Franchising Team is nationally recognised for its sector expertise and understanding, providing a full range of services to franchisors and franchisees, licensors and licensees, commercial agents, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers.

We act for franchisors, distributors and retailers in most sectors from food retail through to professional services, leisure and lifestyle to healthcare and industrial services to logistics.

The work we handle includes the set-up and creation of franchises and distribution arrangements, grants and termination, sale and purchase, 'master' and 'development' agreements, intellectual property, joint venture and 'hybrid' agreements, disputes and litigation  and property matters. We act for a full range of UK and overseas clients, from' high-street' names through to master and individual franchisees.

We are affiliates members of the British Franchise Association.

Specialisms

 

  • Franchise set-up and creation - we advise Franchisors and potential Franchisors on business concept set-up, operating structures, franchise agreements, operating manuals and franchise grants.  We provide advice on corporate structures and asset holding
  • Franchise grants and termination - we advise both franchisors and franchisees in relation to the taking and the grant of franchise opportunities
  • Sale and purchase of franchise businesses - we advise both sellers and purchasers in relation to the sale of franchise units and franchisor networks
  • Master Franchise Agreements and Area Development Agreements - both domestic and International
  • Property - We act for franchisors and franchisees in relation to the purchase, leasing and sub-leasing of commercial premises.
  • Distribution Agreements and Commercial Agency Agreements - all aspects of commercial agency (including compensation claims), the drafting and negotiation of distribution and agency agreements, termination
  • Reseller, Joint Venture and other Hybrid Arrangements - we have created alternate-form 'business concept' based arrangements, including brand licensing, reseller arrangements and corporate JVs,  across a wide range of sectors
  • Franchise Disputes - We provide a full range of dispute services to both Franchisors and Franchisees including advice on rights under agreements, breach notices, termination notices, misrepresentation claims, breach of confidence,  injunction and termination claims.  The team have brought and defended a number of franchisee group actions.
  • Regulatory - we regularly advise Franchisors on regulatory matters through our Business Regulatory Consultancy team
  • Restrictive Covenants - we provide expert advice in relation to the drafting and enforcement of Restrictive Covenants.  We are regularly engaged to enforce restrictive covenants against former employees
  • Trade-marks and licensing - Our in-house trade-mark attorney will deal with the registration of intellectual property rights and can advise on licensing and prosecution of IP rights
Relevant Experience
  • Acting for Subway for over 11 years, handling in excess of 500 new site locations and 600 existing store transfers
  • Acting for a franchisor in relation to their restructure in 12 overseas territories and in relation to expansion into a new territory
  • Franchise creation and appointment of developer for well-known convenience food retailer
  • Enforcement of restrictive covenant against rogue franchisee through injunction proceedings including committal proceedings
  • Breach of confidence action against former franchisees
  • Advice on set-up of new retail franchise concept
  • Representation of 22 franchisees in group action against well-known high street food outlet
  • Advice in relation to launch of US leisure concept to UK market
  • Action against former franchisees in reprographic sector including the gaining of a Search Order and a Freezing Order
  • Advising on first grant franchise of well-known London restaurant

Key Contact

Andrew Perkins

Partner

[javascript protected email address]
+44 (0)1392 334112


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