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Julian Chambers hired to head UK franchise strategy

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Regus has become the first serviced office provider to enter the UK franchise market, with Julian Chambers driving its strategy


“When Costa Coffee started their franchise journey, they had 300 or so stores in the UK,” says Julian Chambers, Regus’ new Head of Franchise Strategy in the UK. “Then, franchising helped drive growth. By the time I left Costa last year, they had nearly 2,300 UK stores (a mix of franchise and company).”

In September 2018, Regus made history by becoming the first serviced office provider to enter the UK franchise market. The flexible workspace provider signed a multi-million-pound partnership with franchise experts ACCA Global – which will see ten cutting-edge Regus centres open in the UK over the next four years.

It’s an exciting development, and a vital one, if the surge in demand for flexible workspace across Britain is ever going to be met. For franchisees, it’s a chance to reap the benefits of the rapidly growing flexible workspace industry.

Having spent the past 12 years as Head of Franchise for Travel, Leisure and Ireland at Costa Coffee, Chambers offers a wealth of franchising experience and a robust vision for Regus’ future.

“My current scope is to set up a franchise growth channel in the UK to accelerate the pace of growth,” he says. “We’re looking to grow in a very similar way to Costa by setting up individual franchisees with Regional Development Clusters right across the UK.

“They will each open, own and operate a minimum of five Regus centres to start with but, over time, we believe it could be significantly more, as these franchisees start to realise the potential of our brand across different geographical areas.”

Julian Chambers

Chambers says that Regus has already signed up six UK franchise partnerships. These franchisees have experience with brands including Starbucks, Pizza Hut and Anytime Fitness.

“Some are considering leasing office buildings and converting to Regus, where others are considering acquiring freehold interests in properties,” says Chambers. “What they have in common is that they are all very ambitious and driven by the opportunity to grow in a sector that is new to franchising. It also gives them an opportunity to diversify and balance their businesses.”

For franchisees who are considering adding flexible workspace to their UK portfolio, 2019 is the right time – the equivalent of working with McDonald’s before the golden arches became an instantly recognisable sight. It’s estimated that, by 2030, 30% of all corporate real estate portfolios will be flexible working space.

At the same time, embarking on a franchise journey within a less familiar industry requires a trusted partner, whose experience and support can be banked on. Fortunately, with its global network of more than 3,000 flexible workspace centres, and 30 years’ experience of operating in the UK, Regus makes an attractive potential partner.

“With the most popular of franchise opportunities, the big pull tends to be based on the strength of the brand – how well-known it is and if it has a proven business model,” says Chambers.

“Regus – and its parent company, IWG – tick those boxes for franchisees. IWG is the global leader in workspace as a service, and most franchisees will always say they want to be with the market leader.

Regus works with franchisees throughout the process, offering support on everything from installation to marketing and operations. The brand’s franchising model marks a new chapter that will propel the UK’s flexible workspace industry forwards, and Regus looks forward to welcoming British franchisees on this journey.


Discover how you could franchise with Regus here