James Cochran launches Around the Cluck franchise scheme

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

James Cochran launches Around the Cluck franchise scheme pubs Coronavirus 1251 chef

Related tags James Cochran Chef Franchise Fried chicken Coronavirus lockdown

Chef James Cochran says he is hoping to help a select number of pubs boost their profits through the launch of an Around the Cluck franchise scheme.

Cochran, who created and launched fried chicken brand Around the Cluck during the Coronavirus lockdown, plans to partner with 10 pubs over the next six months.

Those he partners with will receive a full kitchen set up with training from Cochran on how to prepare the Around the Cluck menu; access to Cochran's suppliers; and 'multiple marketing opportunities'.

Cochran says he has chosen to partner with pubs in order to help them benefit more from the Chancellor's recent decision to slash the VAT rate​ applied to food sales - both eat in and takeaway - from 20% to 5%. 

His hope is that through the partnerships, the pubs will be able to 'provide [customers with] a food offering to enhance their current business'; increase their average spend; and boost profits.

Around The Cluck's menu centres on Cochran's Jamaican Fried Chicken, a signature dish that featured on the menu at his Islington restaurant 12:51.

The decision to launch the concept during lockdown has produced significant dividends for Cochran, who has received an average of 200 orders a week over the past three months.

Many of those have been obtained through online ordering platforms such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Slerp, and Cochran says he will encourage the pubs involved in the franchise scheme to employ delivery partners in order to appeal to customers who are still cautious about dining out.

Franchise contracts will run for six months, with Cochran taking a 10% cut of the pub's total monthly earnings in return.

“Around the Cluck has allowed me to stay relevant and develop intelligently in my surroundings," says Cochran.

"More importantly, it has allowed me to continue to operate within the hospitality industry and do so successfully.

"I want us to weather this period, together, and take my learnings to invite you all along on the journey with me as only a small way I can look to help to ensure this industry survives.

Cochran says that his signature fried chicken was instrumental in him winning Great British Menu and was a celebrated dish at 12:51 and "has ensured 12:51 is still around".

"I’m hoping it can provide a safety blanket for businesses around the country who may not get to benefit from everything successful businesses in hospitality are afforded, especially now times are tight.”

It was reported by BigHospitality ​last month​ that Cochran had chosen to reopen 12:51 under the Around the Cluck brand as he didn't believe top-end dining would be viable in his narrow Upper Street-based restaurant space while social distancing remains in place.

"We are 100% bringing 12:51 back, but probably not until next year," he said at the time.

“We need to adapt through this shit situation."

Cochran added that he intends to keep 12:51 going through private dining events, with pop-ups and cooking at people's homes both possibilities.

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