Birds Eye plans burger franchise

Frozen food manufacturer Birds Eye Wall’s is to franchise its burger brand to takeaway shops, in an attempt to raise brand awareness and boost sales following the BSE scare.

The Unilever-owned company has allowed burger shops in Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach to use the Birds Eye brand for the past two years. Eight outlets operate in the park selling Birds Eye products and sporting signage that replicates the brand’s supermarket packaging.

It is understood the company is now ready to expand this arrangement, and has taken advice on franchising its brand nationally. Some are anticipating an announcement before Christmas.

However, a spokeswoman for Birds Eye Wall’s refuses to confirm this, saying: “No decision has been made on whether to expand the pilot or not.”

The tie-up with burger shops at the Pleasure Beach was undertaken as a way of overcoming some of the damage Birds Eye Wall’s suffered during the BSE scare, when it was forced to halt production at its factory and destroy 15m worth of beef.

The Birds Eye spokeswoman adds: “The scheme was launched as part of the post-BSE drive to find ways to achieve brand awareness and fill the gaps.”

Pleasure Beach catering general manager Peggy Chadwick says that when Birds Eye-branded burger shops opened at the park, sales increased by 50 per cent. The park now sells about 1 million burgers a year. “There is trust in the brand,” Chadwick comments.

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