Essex-based Zing Leisure, one of Burger King’s largest UK franchisees, has agreed a new banking facility worth almost £3m, which will allow the company to increase its current 21-strong estate. The group, which currently operates sites across the south east of England, Cornwall and the Midlands including Burger King’s flagship store in London’s Leicester Square, employs more than 400 people and has an annual turnover of £19m. Django Fung, managing director of Zing Leisure, said the support from Clydesdale Bank will provide the company with a more flexible capital structure, allow it to expand and also the complete the refurbishment program it is currently carrying out across its estate. Its restaurant in Stratford, close to the Olympic Park, recently underwent a full refurbishment and enjoyed a 70% increase in turnover in July compared to the same month last year. The refurbishment was financed as part of the move to Clydesdale Bank. Fung, who started working for Burger King as a part-time cleaner 30 years ago to help finance his college education, became a Burger King franchisee in 1999 when he acquired a 48% stake in an established restaurant portfolio through a management buy-in, completing the full acquisition in 2007. He said: “Burger King is the second largest restaurant and takeaway brand in the UK and has a rich history with UK customers. It has adapted to changing consumer demand and eating habits with the development of new products, and as a result has capitalised on what customers love most about the brand. “Because the Burger King brand is so strong and we are supported by a fantastic marketing campaign, we are able to concentrate on running a profitable and growing business. “This company and this industry really is about its people, and the growth of Zing Leisure and continued support of the Burger King brand, comes down to the dedication and quality of our staff in every restaurant. “Clydesdale Bank’s approach is one based on strong relationships and really getting to know and understand our entrepreneurial business. The Bank has shown nothing but support, understanding and a willingness to help from the first time we met.” Mike Yates, national lead for the franchise sector at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, said Zing Leisure was a great example of a successful and growing franchise business. He said: “Through hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and grasping opportunities, Django and his team have built an exceptionally strong business. It is a real privilege for Clydesdale Bank to engage with Zing Leisure at this stage in its development and we look forward to supporting the business as it continues along its growth path in the future. “The franchise sector’s growth and contribution to the UK economy is clearly evident – it is worth more than £13 billion annually and employs nearly 600,000 people. The provision of facilities and financial flexibility to Zing Leisure is a clear statement of Clydesdale Bank’s desire to become a significant force within the franchise sector.” Burger King operates more than 500 food court kiosks, high street and drive thru restaurants across the UK, all of which are franchises.