Visit Journeys plans UK-wide hostel franchises

19 August 2010 by
Visit Journeys plans UK-wide hostel franchises

Budget hostel business Visit Journeys ]( hired former [Coffee Republic]( director and franchising expert Brian Carroll, as it targets setting up franchise deals in 20 major UK cities within the next 12 months.

Carroll, who helped oversee franchising at the coffee chain before it went into administration last year, joined Visit Journeys on an initial 10-week contract last week.

The business, which currently operates six of its own freehold sites, is looking for pubs and restaurants in cities across the UK that want to generate extra revenue from under-used space on their properties.

Visit Journeys managing director Dean D'Eye told Caterer: "If people have a freehold or leasehold, this affords them the opportunity to get an income stream out of space that is often under-utilised or redundant and which they struggle to find a concept for."

And he said that he expected the idea to provide a boon to pubs, which are closing at the rate of 40 a week, and restaurants, which have seen a 30% increase in closures and insolvencies.

"Once you have a captive market upstairs it is down to the wherewithal of the franchisees to provide a great environment so that they can get them buying their food and drink and give the place a bit of atmosphere," he said.

D'Eye indicated that he expected the cost of setting up a franchise is typically around £1,000 per bed, which included refurbishment and access to an online central reservations system.

The hostels also often use ‘micro cell' bunk beds, which boast full blackout curtains, individual power supplies, shelves and lights to create a private space within a dorm scenario. He estimated that most franchises would pay for themselves within a year.

However, D'Eye did admit that it could be a challenge for some would-be franchisees to find the finance to participate. "The biggest barrier at the moment for us and the franchisees is trying to include an alliance with a finance organisation within the package that would help them fund it," he said.

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By Neil Gerrard

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