The franchise world is undergoing a transition due to technology, especially in the restaurant space. Online ordering and catering are becoming substantial revenue streams for restaurant chains, sometimes accounting for upwards of 20% of gross revenue.
Franchises who have traditionally never delivered are still benefiting from this trend as newly founded delivery companies (some of them franchise themselves!) can pick-up the orders and deliver them to consumers.
Furthermore, the market is heating up with loyalty apps offering various benefits to end consumers with the goal of driving up average check sizes or visit frequency. The loyalty app usually becomes a way for the franchise to send notifications to existing customers to lure them in for another visit. Restaurant chains in general, franchise or not, are investing massively in these systems to cement their market leadership positions.
What do all these things have in common? One simple thing: store opening hours. Your website needs to list your opening hours. Google Maps needs to list them too. That online ordering app really needs it, otherwise you’d receive orders while you are closed. The loyalty app shouldn’t push a notification out to increase visits on Sunday mornings if you’re closed.
Each franchise location operates under unique constraints, even if the brand promise is the same. If your restaurant mainly serves government workers lunch during week days, it may make sense to have shorter opening hours on weekends. If you’re right next to a popular university’s tavern, it makes more sense to be open late. In the summer, when there are fewer students, it might make sense to open later and close earlier. A savvy business operator is aware of their environment and choose operating hours which should be staffed accordingly. Remember; labour costs are one of the two biggest controllable costs in a restaurant.
The problem in a restaurant franchise is that each business is owned and operated by different people who, unless specified in the franchise agreement, choose their own business hours. And because these can change frequently, it becomes very easy for the franchisor to lose track of the up to date operating hours. The franchisor is the one managing the relationship with all of these different technology systems (online ordering, loyalty, etc.) and they are stuck with a stale data set! Because of this, customers sometimes have issues and become dissatisfied with the brand. Updating your opening hours is a huge cost as you need to pay franchise coaches (or interns) to call up each and every store to ask about their opening hours.
FranchiseBlast recently released an app that solves this problem. FranchiseBlast has always stored the franchise’s opening hours in our Info Depot, our centralized information repository. However, franchisees sometimes forgot to keep them updated.
To resolve this issue, some franchise systems are utilizing our new Franchisee Polling App.
Step 1) They create a questionnaire in FranchiseBlast which includes questions about opening hours but also a few other general questions about the business.
Step 2) They setup a poll in our system to shoot out this questionnaire to all franchisees on a recurring basis. This is normally done monthly but can be any frequency, such as quarterly or weekly.
Step 3) Our system automatically shoots off the survey to the franchisees and their store managers by email. No logins and no passwords are required!
Step 4) The franchisee fills out the poll and submits it to headquarters.
Step 5) If a franchisee ignores a poll, the system will automatically keep asking for the information. The poll’s configuration allows you to build a customized escalation schedule (e.g. give them a week to answer; then ask daily until they submit it.)
Step 6) The franchisor can monitor the status of the poll (80% of the results collected, etc.) and export these results into a format that can be easily shared with all associated stakeholders (loyalty app company, online ordering app company, etc.)