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Last Updated: 18-March-2009

Baguette Express to create 500 jobs with huge expansion into the North East

Baguette Express, the rapidly expanding national sandwich chain, is lifting the recessionary gloom in the UK with plans for a seven-figure investment in new outlets which will create at least 500 jobs in the North of England alone.
The dynamic and go-ahead franchise operation, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, has succeeded in appointing a master franchisee in the fertile North-East territory in a deal which is expected to lead to the opening of at least 50 outlets in the near to medium term.
The lucrative master franchise will be held by Mr Azeem Arshad, a successful local businessman, who will take charge of recruitment and business development in the area as well as having input to expansion strategy.
He will open and operate a Baguette Express outlet in a prime site in Gateshead’s Metro Centre after taking over the master franchise at the beginning of April. Then Mr Ashad will oversee the opening of stores in a territory which stretches from Alnwick in the north to Middlesborough and Darlington in the south and Hexham in the west.
The new openings will add to Baguette Express’s existing portfolio of outlets which covers both Scotland and England They will also considerably enhance group turnover which, before Mr Ashad’s appointment, was projected at £15m for 2009.
Baguette Express was established in a single shop in 1999 and Scots entrepreneurs Robin and Billy Stenhouse took the helm in 2004 to provide an alternative approach to the world of healthy snacking.
Based in Haddington, East Lothian, the enormously successful franchise now employs more than more than 500 people and is operating in the same commercial arena as national chains such as Greigs and O’Brien’s.
Robin Stenhouse said: “This is a major step forward for the group as it grows into its role as a significant player in the quality food provision sector. But it is also a wonderful opportunity to create meaningful numbers of high quality jobs in areas which have been hit hard by the economic downturn.
“Our outlets provide career chances across a number of disciplines, from management to catering and logistics, and they also tap into the entrepreneurial spirit in the areas we cover by giving people the chance to run their own businesses.”
Mr Ashad said: “I am delighted to be associated with a business as successful as Baguette Express. The North-East will be a very productive region and will enhance the expansion strategy which has made Baguette Express a valued brand across the UK.”