Franchise Deal Agreed To Grow Norfolk American Diner Chain

Zaks - Norfolk's best loved and long established chain of authentic American diners – is set to add a fourth restaurant to its growing property portfolio after agreeing its first ever franchise partnership.

The new restaurant will open in South West Norfolk within the year under the management of husband and wife team, David and Joan Hughes.

The couple, from Thetford in Norfolk, first found out about the opportunity when they read about it in their local paper and called Zaks for more information.

Joan said: “We’ve been fans of the Zaks brand and its food for many years so the chance to open our own diner under this franchise agreement is incredibly exciting.”

David, who has previously worked in the financial sector, sales and management, and Joan – a recently retired primary school headteacher –will now embark on an intensive tailored training programme while potential venues for the new venture are considered.

David adds: “Taking on a franchise is not something you go into lightly but the training and support we are receiving from the Zaks team, gives Joan and I the confidence we need to make this a success.”

The deal comes eight months after Zaks’ parent company, Blue Sky Leisure, revealed details of its franchise plans at an American themed event last Independence Day [July 4, 2013]. The business, which has been serving diners of Norwich in the ‘American Tradition’ since 1979, currently has three restaurants in the Norfolk area: Zaks Waterside Grill and Bar, Zaks Mousehold Diner and Zaks Poringland Diner.

Zaks’ Chief Operating Officer, Chris Carr, who is heading up the franchise management team and also runs the company’s existing restaurants in Norwich, says the right fit was always a priority for Zaks.

“We’re incredibly excited about working with David and Joan and helping bring the authentic American dining experience to a new Norfolk neighbourhood. From day one we’ve always said we only want to work with likeminded franchisees, who share our vision and enthusiasm for our brand and values, including ‘customer love’.

“It’s this hands-on approach in our candidate selection, which leads us to believe that David and Joan’s new diner will be every bit as successful as each of our other three restaurants.”

Chris will draw on 19 years’ experience in the hospitality industry to assist David and Joan in recreating the success of the Zaks brand. He will be supported by Sue Allen who will be responsible for all training and safety compliance. Sue has over 40 years’ experience in the hospitality sector, many of those with Zaks, having been part of the family since the beginning. Sue will share Zaks’ love with franchisees and their staff. The team has also enlisted the assistance of Morgan Blake Franchise Consultants.

Zaks’ diners capture the taste of America through the food, experience and the environment by researching and replicating current trends in the United States. It imports ingredients and products for authenticity but also recognises the value in supporting local suppliers, which is why its meat and other fresh produce are all from neighbourhood producers.

The Zaks burger is famous in its locality and is part of their provenance made to their own size, shape and recipe from 100% local beef with no additives. While this will continue to be made in Norwich using the original recipe, Zaks plans to work with David and Joan in order to replicate the rest of its local supplier network for the new restaurant. This means enlisting the help of its current providers to assist in finding suppliers of an equal quality in the new neighbourhoods.