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has undertaken some big changes over the past 18 months to ensure all operate to the same standard. As Withers explains: “When my


father started the business we were selling just the recipe without controlling the standards, but we realised that the downfall of that approach was that some people did it well, while some did it badly. “So we introduced controls and


closed poorly-operated businesses throughout the country, while at the same time opening brand new stores with all the new controls in place and offered the older stores a new training programme to convert. “The programme offers an in depth, month-long course that gives new franchisees experience of working in their actual kitchen environments, cooking and processing the food, as well as operating and managing stores. It is intense, but a necessity.


“It is not just about buying a machine


and cooking some chicken, it’s about delivering a good product with good service. Anyone can fry chicken, good, bad or indifferent, but consistently delivering it well is the difficulty. That is what they are buying into when they join and it has led us to the stage where we have more than 700 stores in 70 countries.” Arthur Withers launched the company following an American holiday which


took him to Greenville, Carolina, where he was served a fried chicken that he “fell in love with at first bite”.


He had the foresight to acquire the recipe and as he continued his trip around the southern States went on a riverboat cruise in Montgomery, Alabama. The combination of this Mississippi steamboat cruise and the taste of the fried chicken gave birth to his idea of creating Southern Fried Chicken.


Back in England, the launch proved to


be timely as in the 80s fish and chip shops were beginning to suffer from the growth of such chains as McDonald’s and KFC with which traditional English stores couldn’t compete.


With the help of his son Andrew, the


brand began to take shape. They worked from their garage and, as they recall, as they were usually covered in flour after hours of experimenting with different ingredients, they had to change their clothes before going back into the house. They created the recipes and cooking processes that are still in use today. The taste and image that the founder had so admired in America’s deep south had been perfected and a new brand created that through his vision has become one of the few home-grown franchises to become a truly international favourite.


i sales@sfcexpress.co.uk www.southernfriedchicken.com


April/May 2013 www.franchiseworld.co.uk 13


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