Head of marketing at Kutchenhaus Paul Lee says the kitchen retail franchise is ambitious for growth, with plans to boost its network by 50% in the UK, year-on-year, by the end of 2022.
Kitchen retail franchise Kutchenhaus has ambitious plans as it looks to expand its showrooms across the UK.
Opening its first showroom in Trafford Park, Manchester in 2005, it grew to five within a couple of years which were then wholly owned by European kitchen manufacturer Nobilia.
All that changed following the appointment of head of sales and operations Sean Ford, as head of marketing.
Paul Lee takes up the story: “Sean turned the business model on its head to become a franchise operation. We now have 60 showrooms across the UK, and we wholly own and manage one – and that’s our showroom in York.”
“We shifted our approach to a smaller-format franchise concept and kept York as our flagship showroom, which is of a larger size, to showcase both the majority of the Nobilia range and our appliance partners’ products too, whilst also servicing local customers.”
The Rochdale-headquartered kitchen franchise business, part of Nobilia, now has ambitious plans for growth. “If you rewind to the end of last year, we had 48 showrooms, we are now up to 60.
“Our target, for the rest of the year, is to grow that figure to 70+. To grow the network by 50% year on year would be a huge achievement and we believe a great story”, says Lee.
The UK retail network spans from as far north as Aberdeen to Exeter in the South of England, and as far west as Swansea.
One showroom which opened this year is a 1,100sqm space in Worcester, run by husband and wife team Claire and Rich Harris, who have more than 20 years’ experience in the kitchen industry.
“Those with the background knowledge, who are equally passionate about the industry and their own business, like Claire and Rich, can become successful franchisees”, says Lee who points out that although kitchen design experience is key for success, an entrepreneurial spirit is also important.
“We’re looking for partners who are going to open a fantastic showroom, deliver great service to our customers and enjoy strong cooperation with our head office team. We’re looking for people with ambition to make their own business successful.”
In a kitchen industry where business people traditionally like to keep their independence, Lee explains: “We give a good amount of freedom to our showroom owners (or partners), such as the ability to plan their own events and engage with their local area. We work cooperatively and we encourage them to make a lifestyle change, with the support of one of the UK’s fastest-growing kitchen brands.”
Certainly, the success of the franchise model can be measured by the partners who have opened multiple showrooms. In fact, approximately 20% of partners have two or more Kutchenhaus showrooms. Lee adds: “We have a showroom in Ashford, Kent, that’s been open a couple of years by Jake Ford and he recently opened a second in Hythe.”
The secret to the success of Kutchenhaus could be attributed to a reduced barrier to business, as Lee explains: “There’s no initial franchise fee, so the start-up costs are relatively low.” Additionally, he also he highlights a “myriad of sales points”.
He says: “You’re buying into aspirational product, delivered by Europe’s number one kitchen manufacturer, there’s minimal supply issues from a kitchen furniture perspective, as Nobilia turn out approximately 3,000 kitchens each day. So, during the lockdown, there were relatively few supply issues.”
Kutchenhaus offers support to find site locations and provides free showroom installation, together with a dedicated regional manager.
In addition, partners also benefit from national advertising and consumer sales leads from its website, plus consumer finance.
It provides a technical team, so all projects are checked prior to ordering to minimise specification errors and, according to the company, a kitchen franchise can provide a “healthy” turnover of up to £2.2million per year.
Turning up the dial
Now the company is turning up the dial on marketing the business, exhibiting at Homebuilding & Renovating Shows around the country and Grand Designs Live to attract consumers. Plus it debuted at Kbb Birmingham to grow its showroom network.
Lee continues: “It was Kutchenhaus’ first presence at Kbb Birmingham earlier this year and we shared a large stand with Nobilia. Our key purposes for being present at the event were to increase our brand awareness in the UK and also to make sure we have a pipeline of new partners for the remainder of this year and beyond. We generated a strong number of leads and the feedback we received about our brand and product was really encouraging.”
“We have recently onboarded a new lead-marketing agency. I am confident they will help us reach that next level in terms of brand awareness and consideration.
“Following a comprehensive customer research project, we are currently developing a new marketing campaign which will launch in September 2022.”
In addition to opening its 60th showroom, Kutchenhaus recently reached another milestone, receiving its 1,000th Trustpilot review.
Through Trustpilot, customers have shared their experiences with franchisees and the brand’s kitchens, resulting in a 4.8 ‘Excellent’ score.
With a clear focus on building the business through showroom openings and increased marketing, Paul Lee says: “We’ve got room to grow our network in several areas and we feel there is certainly an appetite from partners to do this, with lots of expansion opportunities for us across the UK.”
Such is its ambition, Kutchenhaus aims to increase its sales this year by 44%, versus 2021.
Paul Lee explains why he believes the company will achieve above market growth: “The market is coming from savvy shoppers who realise that Kutchenhaus is a great brand to enjoy their personal journey with.
“Kutchenhaus brand awareness is as high as it’s ever been, that’s why we’re attracting new franchise partners and opening new showrooms, with sales doing well.”
He concludes: “The market for UK kitchen retail has been challenging over the past few years for understandable reasons, however we’re evidently doing things right and long may that continue.”