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FTC supports Champagne+Fromage in its franchise

Champagne+Fromage is a family business founded in 2011 with the opening of our artisanal French bistro and delicatessen in Covent Garden.

FTC supports Champagne+Fromage in its franchise


Can you introduce yourself ( background, concept, products, etc..)

Champagne+Fromage is a family business founded in 2011 with the opening of our artisan French bistro & deli in Covent Garden. This was followed by the opening in Brixton Village in 2013 and Greenwich in 2015.

We have taken the wine bar and bistro concept, kept the best bits and re-thought just about everything else. The result is a unique atmosphere that combines exquisite produce with a unique, highly eclectic, and traditionally rustic aesthetics. Our stores are bespoke, different from each other and inspired by the environment of their locations. We believe in the magic combination of Growers Champagne and Cheese: great together any time…and the proof is in the tasting!


Why did you choose the UK for your project ? 

Great Britain is the biggest Champagne market in Europe after France.

There has always been a growing interest in sparkling wines, including Champagne, in the UK and consumers are increasingly exploring and appreciating different varieties of sparkling wines, creating a market for establishments that specialize in these beverages.

The UK attracts tourists from around the world, and many visitors have been showing a strong interest in experiencing and enjoying Champagne. Additionally, certain demographic segments within the UK have a higher level of disposable income and they normally spend on beverages. Finally, the UK has a diverse culinary scene, and there is a trend toward appreciating and pairing wines with several types of cuisine.


Why choose French Touch Commercial to support you in this process ? 

French Touch Commercial is the perfect partner for us because their French background is in perfect tune with our brand and their extensive experience in the UK will give to us and our franchisee the possibility to find the perfect location for our new sites. They have access to listings and their negotiation skills can streamline the process, saving time and ensuring we secure a suitable space. They also provide market analysis, legal compliance guidance, and support throughout the leasing process, contributing to the overall success of our venture.


What made your brand successful?

We are the only brand in the world specialised in the Champagne and Cheese Experience.

We want to change the perception that Champagne is for celebration only. Champagne is a wine and as such can be drunk anytime, by itself or with a meal. It is the perfect pairing with cheese, much more than red or white wine. We are all about quality products that we source directly and in exclusivity from France. Our independent producers make Champagne with passion and exuberance, following the traditional methods of artisanal winemaking where focus is in the “terroir”. Our cheesemakers are artists in their own right and represent many different styles.


What are your development plans? 

With regards to the franchising, the first site will open in spring. “I don’t think we will be looking to go mainstream as we’re a niche concept that won’t work everywhere, but we’re looking at ten to 15 sites in the UK in the long term,” Frigerio told The French Touch. “We’re looking at five in London and ten in the rest of the UK – in cities like Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge. These are cities with similar demographics to Bath, where we have our Comptoir + Cuisine French bistro. It will probably work better in the south than the north, but it could definitely go into cities like Chester, Liverpool and Manchester. We are also looking to go abroad in a couple of years – countries like France, Belgium, Italy and Germany, where champagne consumption is similar to the UK. Year one will be London, years two and three the rest of the UK, and then abroad.”

We will use the concept’s Greenwich site – which opened in 2015, four years after its debut Covent Garden location – as a blueprint for expansion. “We want to work off the Greenwich model, which has one floor with no kitchen or chef,” he said. “It means less complexity and reduced cost of labour, which is an appealing format. With no extraction, it will also be easier to find locations. As far as London goes, we don’t have the locations yet, but we’re looking for high footfall areas like Carnaby Street in Soho. We’re identifying franchisees and we’re looking to launch the first in April, and then open one every quarter.”


Let’s talk a little more about your franchise project? Why would a franchisee will join your brand rather than another?

Champagne+Fromage is a proven business model and franchisees will benefit from our experience. We have crafted a successful business model that has proven its worth. Not only it is an authentique French Experience but most importantly it does not require a kitchen or a chef and therefore it will be simple to manage and at the same time very profitable.

We will be there with our business partners every step of the way, offering guidance and support to ensure that the franchise thrives. The Investment will be tailored to property, and we will work with our franchisees to ensure the right fit for each location and budget. We demand an upfront franchisee fee of £15,000 for one site and an ongoing royalty of 6% of sales for use of the brand name and business development support.


On your side, what do you expect from your franchisees? 

The relationship between franchisors and franchisees is a delicate balance that relies on a set of expectations to ensure the success and cohesion of the entire franchise system. At its core is the adherence to a standardized business model. We expect franchisees to faithfully follow operational procedures, maintain product or service quality, and uphold customer service standards. This consistency across all franchise locations is essential for fostering customer trust and loyalty.

Financial commitments form another crucial aspect of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. Franchisees are expected to fulfil various financial obligations, including upfront franchise fees and ongoing royalty payments. These financial contributions serve as the lifeblood of the franchise system, supporting growth initiatives, marketing efforts, and ongoing operational improvements.

Active participation in local marketing efforts is a key expectation from franchisees. While we conduct overarching marketing campaigns, franchisees are responsible for promoting the brand within their communities. This involves adhering to established marketing guidelines, utilizing approved materials, and engaging in local advertising to enhance brand visibility.

Participation in training programs is another cornerstone. Franchisees undergo training to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the business model, customer service standards, and any proprietary systems unique to the franchise. Continuous training will also be expected to keep franchisees abreast of industry developments and maintain operational excellence.


What advice would you give to someone looking to open a business or restaurant in the UK?

Research the local market, understand your target audience, create a solid business plan, and ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. Building a strong online presence and focusing on customer experience can also contribute to your restaurant’s success.

Brexit has introduced a range of factors that may affect the decision to open a restaurant in the UK. Changes in trade regulations and tariffs could impact the cost of importing ingredients, potentially affecting your operational expenses. Supply chain disruptions may also arise, affecting the availability and cost of certain goods. Economic uncertainties stemming from Brexit may influence consumer spending habits, which is crucial for the success of a restaurant. It’s essential to conduct thorough market research and assess how these factors align with your business plan to make informed decisions


A word to conclude?

We are extremely excited to work on our Franchising plan.

It will allow our brand to grow rapidly by leveraging the passion and the commitment of our franchisees. This scalable model will enable us to reach new markets and expand our brand presence more efficiently than through our operations alone.

We truly believe that many more people will fall in love with our Champagne and Cheese Experience!!

A Real Estate Perspective on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in Commercial Properties in England and Wales

While the government deliberates on the feasibility of scaling back some of its “Net Zero” ambitions, one area that still stands is the energy performance targets for commercial buildings in England and Wales. As you may already know, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for commercial premises must be classified as at least “C” by 2027 and at least “B” by 2030 – with some exceptions, but the focus of this article is not to explore those.

Considering the age and design of many buildings in England and Wales, significant building works are to be expected in the country’s real estate sector to comply with the future energy performance objectives set by the law. Buildings with energy performance ratings of A or B are relatively rare, especially in older shopping centres and commercial streets in cities like London.


The questions we are going to explore are the following:


  1. How would this affect you, as a potential tenant of commercial premises?

(Existing tenants will already be subject to the clauses in their existing leases when it comes to the sharing of the costs of necessary building work to bring the premises in line with the new requirements.)


  1. What should you and your real estate agent consider when negotiating the most important points of the Heads of Terms in a new commercial lease?


What do the changes to EPC categories mean for a potential tenant?

  • First and foremost, it is crucial for a prospective commercial tenant to inquire about the Energy Performance classification of the premises at the viewing stage. The landlord agents should legally have an EPC certificate for you to view, and the lease terms should specify the energy performance level (as confirmed by the EPC). EPCs should be registered in a central government database to allow you to search for an existing EPC for a specific location.


  • Next, if the EPC and/or provided information reveal that the premises do not meet the legal requirements for 2027 or 2030 (energy performance levels C and B, respectively), it is important to examine the “recommendations report” usually attached to the EPC. This report lists suggested building work to improve the energy performance of the rental premises.


  • After that, it is advisable to assess with your design contractor and/or the architects the potential building work required to meet the 2027 and 2030 objectives, and consider their feasibility. Considerations should include the lighting and the air conditioning system which may need replacing, and the quality of the store’s storefront.


  • Once you have considered the necessary work, you will have to think about the authorizations that will be required: will planning permission be required or should a written approval from the landlord (obtained according to the required formalities) be enough? What would then be the timeframe to get the planning permission, and would this impact on your move-in date?


  • Finally, an important question arises: who will pay for the work? Will it be the tenant or the landlord? Will the costs be shared? Will a rent-free period or another incentive be negotiated? The answers to these questions will depend largely on the negotiations you have with your future landlord regarding the terms and conditions of the lease and, possibly, the popularity of the specific location in the real estate market. In practice these points are often the most challenging, as prospective tenants don’t pay enough attention to the energy performance of the premises and might overlook or underestimate the impact it would have on their budget.


Considerations on the Heads of Terms for a Lease Agreement


Some landlords have a policy not to carry out any building work and let the tenant carry the responsibility. Tenants for their part often feel, and rightly so, that the landlord ought to contribute to the tenant’s expenses if they significantly improve the leased premises. At an early stage, ask your future landlord his position on the question. Avoid in the Heads of Terms statements like “the parties’ lawyers will resolve the issue.” It is unlikely that the lawyers will come to an agreement on this if their respective clients’ positions disagree with each other. After reviewing the EPC and considering the five points mentioned above, it will be your responsibility to negotiate the terms related to energy performance as well as having the responsibility for, and financial burden of, the work.


  • Some owners may, for example, agree to undertake the work required, or to a financial contribution, or to an additional rent-free period to help cover the cost. This is the solution most tenants would prefer, however careful consideration has to be given, when the landlord carries out the work or covers the cost, to the consequences for any future rent review and how the cost of the work might be incorporated in the rent (if at all). Your agent should advise you on the possible consequences to the revised rent and what increase might be considered as “fair”.


  • When leasing premises in a shopping centre (or as part of a larger real estate complex), it is important to remember that, as part of the leasehold costs, you will likely be required to contribute to the costs of improving the energy efficiency of the entire shopping centre. Make sure this is considered in the Heads of Terms.


In conclusion, there is no perfect solution. However, while searching for your commercial property, keep in mind the points mentioned above and address the relevant issues in the Heads of Terms. Compliance with the energy performance requirements as set by the English legislator will, hopefully, therefore not be too challenging.


Original article written by our real estate law expert, Alexander Harris, and translated and adapted by our French group.

Feel free to contact us for any legal advice in this area.


Article based on information available as of December 21, 2023.

French Group, Browne Jacobson

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