Kutchenhaus | Insights into kitchen franchise expansion

Following the opening of its 75th showroom, sales and operations manager (South East) of Kutchenhaus Kam Bharadwa highlights growth plans of the franchise

05 Dec, 23

Following the opening of its 75th showroom, sales and operations manager (South East) of Kutchenhaus Kam Bharadwa highlights growth plans of the kitchen retail franchise

Group chat: Kutchenhaus offers expansion insights

Kitchen franchise Kutchenhaus has set out ambitious expansion plans, with a goal to “consistently” grow its network. Having opened its 75th store, it shows no signs of slowing.

Sales and operations manager (South East) Kam Bharadwa comments: “It’s an important milestone to open our 75th showroom and currently we have between 15-20 new showrooms in the pipeline.

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“These are at different points in the journey, this could be signing leases, for example, sorting contracts or finding units.

“Altogether it will make for a busy end of the year and start of next, as undoubtedly some will roll over into 2024.”

Bucking the economy

Its growth is despite a challenging time for the industry, which has experienced economic headwinds. So why has Kutchenhaus proved to be a success?

“Because we’re a franchise business, partners can see the support they’re getting and do not feel alone in the journey. This means they’re more likely to join our network”, explains Kam Bharadwa.

And he points out, of the 20 new franchise openings, there is a even split between new people joining and franchisees opening another showroom, with a third of its franchisees now having more than one store: “This year especially we’ve had a mix of new franchise partners opening their first showroom combined with existing owners opening their second, third, and in one case fourth.

“This speaks for itself as to open a second, third or fourth showroom you are experiencing great success.”

He points out one potential franchisees have been positively surprised about initial investment of opening a Kutchenhaus showroom.

He explains: They’re pleased to find that the figure is often lower than what they had in mind and is achievable to them. They become even more enthusiastic about becoming a partner following this realisation.”

Group chat: Kutchenhaus offers expansion insights 1

Supporting retail

But Kam Bharadwa cites it is the support and strength offered by the group, backed by Europe’s largest kitchen manufacturer Nobilia, which offers franchisees confidence and has helped the brand develop in the UK: “We’re coming from a position of strength, and this gives potential franchise partners peace of mind.”

He continues: “The support we provide our franchise partners really helps them along the way. This is both during the set-up phase and also continues throughout their life as a franchise partner. It involves training, dedicated field support, marketing and technical support.

“Franchise partners may worry that they’ll be left to do it alone – with us, this is not the case.

“We support as much or as little as is needed and there’s a great amount of franchise-to-franchise knowledge sharing too, with experts sharing best practice with one another.

“To understand the strength of the network you just need to take a look at our ‘Excellent’ 4.8 Trustpilot score, based on over 1,500 reviews. People want to be a part of that.”

With the number of Kutchenhaus openings increasing, this year, Kutchenhaus has employed a dedicated showroom opening manager, John Russell, to support its franchisees.

Kam Bharadwa  explains “Having someone with extensive installation and opening knowledge is golden, as it means franchise partners have a dedicated individual to call on who knows how to open a showroom from start to finish.

“John is someone who has been there and done it countless times and supports with getting them up and running more quickly. He is a real asset to the team.”

Target franchisees

So who is the ideal Kutchenhaus retailer?

Kam Bharadwa states “We’re looking for experienced kitchen designers who have a proven track record in the industry, or those willing to recruit such an individual(s), plus independent retailers looking to convert over and investors.

“Once on board, we’ll provide all the training and support needed and help in delivering quality leads.

“We tend to look for people with knowledge and enthusiasm, as customers want people who are experts in their field. A lot can also be learned with our support.

“We have designers who may not have the business knowledge at first, for example, and find their showroom performs really well.”

Group chat: Kutchenhaus offers expansion insights 2

Raising profile

The brand has been raising its profile to attract retailers, having exhibited at Kbb Birmingham and set to return to the show in 2024.

“We’ll certainly be at KBB Birmingham 2024. We’re currently designing our dual-branded stand, for both nobilia and Kutchenhaus.

“Our aim is to deliver a memorable stand which, aesthetically, looks great and provides an entertaining and immersive experience for our visitors”, Kam Bharadwa says.

However, it has also used exhibitions to drive business for its franchise partners, having exhibited consumer shows Homebuilding & Renovating and Grand Designs Live too.

“We’re speaking with people at shows now on a regular basis who say they’ve visited one or more showrooms.

“More exposure at these exhibitions means more growth and we’ll continue to review each year which ones to attend. All leads we generate from this activity go to our showroom network so it’s further marketing support.”

Future goals

When asked what is ultimate end goal is for Kutchenhaus, Kam Bharadwa is keen to focus on taking it year by year.

“We have a target of opening 20-25 new showrooms each year. Ultimately, we want to grow our brand and become the customer’s port of call and go-to for quality kitchens.

“We want customers to have Kutchenhaus at the forefront of their mind and our awareness has certainly grown in recent years, taking us closer to that aim.”

Certainly, its success is mirrored in sales, as Kam Bharadwa reports: “Total sales performance is up on last year and we have several marketing projects in the pipeline.

“These are designed to drive brand awareness and more showroom leads for our franchise partner network in FY24.

“One of these projects is the launch of a redesigned website, which will deliver an improved user experience and encourage conversions in the form of appointment bookings and brochure downloads.

“We’re excited about the future and the next few years of growth for the business.”


Q&A: Kutchenhaus Reading

Franchise partner Dominika Gross has opened the 75th Kutchenhaus in Reading and talks about why she chose this route to opening her own retail business

Group chat: Kutchenhaus offers expansion insights 3

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

A: I started as an interior designer in Poland, where I studied interior architecture and had my own business.

After moving to the UK in 2018, I landed a role as a kitchen designer. Interior design has always been my passion, and I quickly found designing kitchens to be very rewarding and fulfilling.

I made a decision to specialise as a kitchen designer from then on.

Q: Why did you decide to become a franchise partner, rather than open your own independent retail business?

A: I was looking for my next challenge when I met Kam Bharadwa and we talked about me owning a showroom.

He was very informative, helpful (and funny!) and talked me through where to start, what it would entail and how I’d be supported by the team along the way.

We discussed my background and professional experience and decided it was a great fit.

Then, with Kam’s support, a great opportunity opened up to start working in the Croydon showroom as a designer, prior to opening my own showroom.

Here I was able to learn more about the business from owner Ronnie Adjei.

Q: What particularly attracted you to the Kutchenhaus franchise?

A: Among all the brands I’ve sold, nobilia stands out as a business that’s recognised by customers for offering excellent-quality, German engineered products, which are still affordable.

Kutchenhaus as a brand shares those values and is growing rapidly, so I was interested in learning more.

While doing my research I realised becoming a franchise partner means you get the best of two worlds – you are able to run your showroom independently, giving it some unique characteristics, whilst still being part of a bigger company.

So, effectively you have your freedom and also someone in your corner.

Q; How long did it take from first contact to opening your own showroom?

A: The first conversation I had with Kam was in January this year.

Once I’d decided to become a franchise partner, I started looking for the best location and found a retail unit that was under development which felt like a great fit.

We were happy to wait for it to be finished so our journey took a little longer than other franchise partners, however I had no doubt it would be worth it.

Q: What has surprised you the most on this journey?

A: How great and empowering it all feels. It is without a doubt a big undertaking, however, thanks to help and support from everyone involved, this project is going smoothly, and no challenges feel too big to cross.

This was the natural next step for me, and I feel that whatever happens, there is someone within the Kutchenhaus world who has been there, done it before and can help.

Q: What, if anything, would you have done differently?

A: Nothing comes to mind so far.  A lot of effort went into the design of the Reading showroom, and I’m sure we will have the urge to tweak and change things, trying something different and new, although that’s probably not the worst problem to have!

Honestly, I have the feeling that I should have done it earlier, so that’s perhaps something I would have done differently.

Q: How would you like to develop your business over the next couple of years?

A: The first step is to make Kutchenhaus Reading a success. Following this, I’d like to open a second and third showroom.

This is all dependent on the running and success of each, however my ultimate goal is to have three showrooms, for sure.