How does the Co-operative franchise model work?

Franchisees will need to meet certain criteria before they can start their own Co-op business. First, they must already operate a store with weekly sales of at least £20,000 (not including VAT and Lotto, Paypoint and Post Office sales). The store must cover a sales area of over 2,000 square feet and have a warehouse of more than 800 square feet.

Co-operative food franchisees get a store design similar to the mainstream Co-op brand in terms of space, style, layout and merchandising. The package also includes Co-op EPOS and behind-the-scenes services, automated replenishment and planograms for your store. Franchisees benefit from a seven-day delivery service and a 24/7 helpdesk service.

Why do customers choose the Co-operative food franchise instead of its supermarket competitors?

Being part of the Co-operative food brand will give you access to an excellent, ethically sourced, fairly-traded, own-brand product range, which plays an instrumental role in greatly increased profits and long-term growth.

Franchisees also benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of the Co-op’s retail operations and the wholesale business of Nisa. This means that franchisees gain from this combined expertise for food supplies.

Co-operative food helps its franchisees in other ways, too. For instance, it also introduces the idea of category management and shopper missions when considering the range of products. This approach helps franchisees to understand consumer behaviour and choices. It also helps franchisees to benefit from customised data and market analysis to ensure that their stores are giving the customers what they want.

Can franchisees receive initial financial support?

Co-operative Food is long established and banks are likely to look upon such a renowned franchise in a favourable light. In fact, the support from head office will go beyond getting the finances required: premises will undergo a refit to be transformed into a Co-op store, which Co-operative Food will work with retailers on and contribute elements – principally the EPOS and Co-op fascia and branding. More important for the company is location, and choosing partners who are aligned with Co-op values and principles.

What training and support does the Co-op franchise team offer franchisees?

Co-operative Food provides all the necessary training you will need to develop your business sustainably. This will include full training on how to operate a Co-operative food franchise, such as the technology for looking at staff rotas, absences and contracts or how to record and use sales data in the store for efficiency and profitability. There will also be guidance on touch screen technology used in the store and how staff can benefit from its use.

Much of the training is delivered online, but while it is comprehensive, franchisees will also be expected to show initiative as they develop the business with an ongoing ability to train themselves in the context of support from the operations teams.

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