One of the hottest topics right now in franchising is sustainability. Basic steps like employing reusable cups only scratch the surface of the sustainable franchise, and consumers know this – if it’s easy, then chances are, it’s not enough. According to Spoon University as quoted in the Huffington Post:
“Sustainability is all about moving in an eco-friendly direction by reducing waste, composting, recycling, and focusing on conservation. Many restaurants throughout the U.S. have been trying to become more sustainable and are now serving more organic food than ever before.”
Sustainability from the Inside Out
Although sustainability is often viewed as an idealistic vision divorced from every-day concerns, the truth is, it is an important part of every business. There is a business case for the sustainable franchise. The biggest reason is our increasingly interconnected world. “Fands” or “Brand Fans” will defend you if they know what you stand for. Increasingly, brand is a verb, and you want to show your customers, franchisees and franchisee teams alike what your in “for” – that you care and that you are there to help.
Here are three sustainable franchise brands who are leading the way in terms of sustainability:
Units: 286 in 15 countries
Overview: Freshii is expanding at a rapid rate, offering healthy options to consumer. In fact, the CEO, who founded the company when he was just 24, recently wrote open letters to both McDonald’s and Subway encouraging them to convert their locations to Freshii:
According to the CBC: “Let’s explore a partnership in which we together convert select Subway stores to Freshii restaurants in a quick, low-cost way,” said the letter from Freshii founder and CEO Matthew Corrin published as a full-page newspaper ad in the Globe and Mail on Tuesday.”
When you compare the unit growth, the differences are dramatic:
“Freshii aims to have between 810 and 840 franchise locations by the end of its fiscal year 2019, according to regulatory documents filed before its initial public offering… Subway’s expansion also slowed dramatically from 2014 to 2015. Subway opened a net total of just 34 franchises in fiscal year 2015, down from 313 in 2014.”
Fresh food is more difficult to sell as a “value play” – for example, even the best-managed locations have to throw 10-20% of their food away.
According to the Globe and Mail, a recent report found that “the Millennial age cohort is willing to pay up for meals that they perceive to have higher food value and more personal relevance to them.”
Sustainable Takeaway: Consumers are choosing healthier and more sustainable options – and are willing to pay for it.
Units: 11 in San Francisco and Los Angeles
Overview: Mixt Greens focuses on sustainability as part of the DNA of their brand. The restaurant ensures that they source the best ingredients, ensuring that they are GMO-free.
“We know what we eat impacts the earth as much as ourselves, so sustainability is at the core of everything we touch, make and do— even if it negatively impacts our bottom line. We’re not just dedicated to being “green,” we’re passionate about protecting the natural systems that sustain us— a philosophy we hope is shared with our customers.”
On their website, they claim to have the following under “the mixt movement”:
Sustainable Takeaway: Taking a holistic approach to sustainability creates “fands” in a very meaningful way – with the average customer eating at Mixt Greens 21 times/month.
Units: 360 across Australia
Overview: According to Franchise Business, Red Rooster has been serving roast chicken since 1972. However, today they do so with a twist: “Their chickens are fresh, not frozen, and are free from artificial colours, flavours, hormones, and MSG. The cooking process is simple too; just a sprinkle of seasoning and then into the oven to be roasted.”
Sustainable Takeaway: Even established brands can reposition food to be more sustainable. Franchisors have to invest in everything from computers, to office supplies to client dinners to help the bottom line. The consumer appeal of disposability isn’t what it used to be – now sustainability strengthens your brand.
According to Experiential Marketing Agency Jack Morton Worldwide, “Brand is a Verb”. They say “Marketers must change the route of their brand experience by moving the brand’s actions ahead of its messages.”
To drive value for customers, showing, and not just talking about sustainability is a solid start.
How FranchiseBlast Can Help
With any change, you need the systems to support it. FranchiseBlast’s Auditing tools help brands stay on track with simpler workflow, reminders and even required photos when there is a violation (such as not-locally-sourced food). These tools help strengthen your brand, and make it more consistent. Let us know if you would like to chat further!
Want to see another restaurant trend? Check out our post on off-premise.