Bagelman, Brighton and Hove’s four-strong bagel concept, has launched a franchise scheme and opened a flagship store at Brighton railway station.

Anthony Prior who bought the business three years ago told M&C Report that the company is in a position to move forward with franchising as soon as suitable franchisees are recruited and locations found. He said he would like to see the first franchisee stores signed and opened before the end of the year.

“We are launching franchising so we can take it to areas that it may not go to before and expand in a flexible way,” Prior said.

The recruitment process for franchisees is now open and will adopt an “organic approach” to franchise growth: “I would be much happier recruiting 15 – 20 franchisees who are interested in the brand and honour it than hundreds who are all about the money.”

Bagelman opened a flagship store earlier this month in Brighton station a blueprint for future stores; it has an updated branding from the previous stores but retains key characteristics and the menu. “It’s effectively our franchise pilot so potential investors can see what they get and what they are investing in.”

Since opening, Prior said trading has been stronger than expected. “We are surprised by the number of people we are drawing in to the station to buy lunch from nearby offices and businesses. The extended opening hours (6am – 9pm) are new ground but we are pleased to see people do use it later.”

Prior named Guildford and Kingston-upon-Thames as two of the locations where interest in the brand has come from.

“It seems natural to me that our interest will start in the southeast but it’s a transient city and people take awareness of the brand with them.”

The company will roll-out the rebranding from the newest store to each of its sites in Brighton and Hove.