Monthly Archives

May 2018

Fresh in FranchiseBlast: May Updates Are Here!

By | Product

With over 90 brands and 13,000 locations combined already using FranchiseBlast’s franchise software, you’ve probably already been a customer of one of our customers! I would bet that if you went to your local mall today (and no it doesn’t have to be the size of the West Edmonton Mall) you could walk into at least one franchise that uses our technology.

So how did we become the provider some of your favorites? For us, it is all about our people and the technology to back them up! And just like your business is constantly demanding more from you, we demand more from ourselves, so we can deliver updates that will continuously make running your business easier.

So what’s “fresh” with FranchiseBlast? A LOT! Our development team has been busy readying the app for your operations. Here are a couple of the updates that we have added to improve your experience and productivity at work!

Define Franchisee Groups and Leaders However You Like

Would you rank your franchisees only by their location? Of course not! It would be like ranking basketball players only for their height – not their speed, scores or more. With FranchiseBlasts’ new brand consistency widget you can now see how a unit ranks against others for a chosen key performance metric on your user dashboard!

Every business has different ways they like to categorize their units. You may like to segment them by who has a drive-through versus Joe in training who wants to segment them by how long they’ve each been in business. Maybe some of your locations offer off-premise services? Setting them up to be ranked against each other is another option. With millennials preferring to enjoy their meals at home off-premise locations are probably seeing dramatic growth next to their peers. The Store Key Performance Metric Leaderboard Dashboard Widget makes how you rank your locations, your choice.

Reviews and Operational Data: Better Together

Seeing how your business is ranking in reviews is now as easy as seeing your mentions on Twitter! To help out, we have two new APIs – one with the “gold standard”, Google Reviews and the other with ReviewTrackers.

  • Google Reviews are the most trusted 3rd party reviews and can affect your site –
  • ReviewTrackers is today’s leading online review management solution and the best way for enterprises to measure the customer experience. They help track reviews from trusted sites such as Yelp, Faceboook, and Open Table just to name a few.

So many people rely on 3rd party reviews over reviews on websites because they view them as more trustworthy. When was the last time you bought something without looking at a review? Keeping a close eye on those reviews can offer you insight into how your Franchisees are doing in the public eye and can be used to further aid brand consistency.

More information:

  • Contact us for a demo here.
  • Get more info about Google My Business here.
  • Learn more about Review Trackers here.

Helping over 13,000 locations better serve their customers is no easy task! But it’s our customers that make it possible for us to do what we do and we love doing it, so thank you!



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Meet the Team: Michael Obas, Customer Success Specialist

By | Meet the Team

Michael Obas from FranchiseBlastOne thing that people enjoy most about working with FranchiseBlast is connecting with our Customer Success Team. We wanted to take an opportunity to do a special Q&A with our Customer Success Specialist, Michael Obas. Mike has been with FranchiseBlast for about two years, and has made a positive impact on our customers since day one.

What do you do from day to day?
Mike:
“My main focus is to support all of our clients with their questions, problems and requests. I work very closely with our team to ensure that all of our customers needs are met.”

How did you get involved at FranchiseBlast?
Mike: “After over 10 years working for a very large tech company, I found an opening at FranchiseBlast. I had never considered working for a small company but after researching and meeting the team, I felt it would be a wonderful place to work. I have been working at FranchiseBlast for a little over 2 years now and I feel lucky to work with such smart, dedicated and talented people.”

How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
Mike: “Hard working, loyal, quiet and reliable.”

Tell me a bit about yourself – where did you grow up and where do you live now for example?
Mike:“I was born in the Philippines but I have lived in Ottawa, Canada since I was 7 years old. My wife and I currently live in Orleans, a suburb of Ottawa. I am a huge animal lover and have two dogs and a cat. I follow Mixed Martial Arts, Formula 1 and the NFL (Go Raiders!) religiously. I’m also been a big fan of live music and try to see as many concerts as I can.

I’ve owned the same car for 20 years, a 1995 Volkswagen Corrado. My wife thinks I have an unhealthy obsession with it but it seems perfectly normal to me :).”

What are some causes that you care about?
Mike: “My wife and I care deeply for animals and animal welfare. I very much support all of the animal welfare agencies and the great work that they do.”

What are you happiest doing when you are not working?
Mike: “Spending time with my wife and animals, working on my car.”

If we went to happy hour, what would you order?
Mike: “Probably a rum and coke.”

If you could be anywhere in the world other than here, where would it be?
Mike: “In Thailand, doing volunteer work at the Soi Dog Foundation helping to take care of their animals in need.”



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Sustainability – Franchise Growth Trend Hunting

By | Franchise Growth, Franchise Operations, Franchising Trends

smart sustainable franchiseOne 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:

Freshii

freshii sustainable franchiseUnits: 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.

Mixt Greens

mixt greens sustainable franchiseUnits: 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”:

mixt greens metrics

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.

Red Rooster

red rooster sustainable franchiseUnits: 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.

Conclusion

jack morton brand experience

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.



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Off-Premise Opportunities – Franchise Growth Trend Hunting

By | Franchising Trends

One of the biggest trends in restaurants today is the explosive growth in off-premise sales. According to Industry Trends and Data Expert, Darren Tristano:

“Everyone knows it’s no longer a question of whether to go off-premise — the question for restaurants is how to navigate the shift,” says Dardick. “With the global foodservice industry facing unprecedented change, the entire off-premise operating model is shifting under our feet. Restaurant and foodservice operators need to understand sizing and growth trends. Right now the opportunities are huge, and the stakes are high.”

The franchising community, which is slower to change at times, is looking to serve customers who are looking for more convenience. While not supplanting the drive-through, for many brands off-premise is the growth driver. In fact, some find the growth so fast, that they are struggling to keep up with demand. According to Restaurant Business Online:

“Tools such as DoorDash, UberEats, Caviar, Amazon and Yelp’s Eat24 allow visitors to review menus from a variety of restaurants, place an order and schedule delivery. Restaurants using these services enjoy a bump in orders that they can often absorb, and the apps expose them to potential new customers. The delivery services charge a commission on orders and a fee for delivery.”

While this can create many questions in a franchisors’ mind from consistent brand experience across markets to the potential for royalty avoidance, the opportunity for off-premise is vast.

Off-Premise Demographic

Off-premise dining is most popular among 18-34-year olds. This is a combination of iGen, at the younger side of the spectrum and millenials at the older end. According to QSR Magazine:

“Millennial families are now commonly dual-income—often with the female as the primary breadwinner—and convenience is more important than ever. But millennials also value diversity, healthy choices, and denser urban living. There has been a significant increase in interracial couples, an increase in multi-racial neighborhoods, and an increase in the consumption of ethnic food (aka international cuisine). Organic food sales have grown more than 10x in a generation, with millennials being the most likely age group to seek out organic foods.

“And it is difficult, if not impossible, to build a new drive thru in a dense urban environment.  As millennials come of age, convenience is redefined for the preferences and tastes of a new generation. The ultimate convenience—delivery—brings more options, healthier choices, and speed even in places where drive thrus cannot go.”

These digital natives value ordering online, and are all about experiences over possessions. Interestingly, the convenience of delivery helps these customers experience what is most important to them: family and friends according to QSR.

“After a long day at work with toddlers demanding attention, the ideas of going out or cooking are not that appealing. Having food show up as ordered through the same interface one uses to get toothpaste is. More, if these 20-somethings are in the middle of an experience with their friends or kids, they aren’t going to stop that experience to go get food. They want the food to come to them.”

Let’s explore how major franchisors and franchise aggregators are navigating this change.

YUM Brands

Units: 45,000
Overview: In a very bold move into off-premise, Yum! brands including KFC and Pizza Hut has entered into a partnership with leading delivery service, GrubHub offering up the “best of both worlds”. In exchange, Yum! gets $200M worth of Common stock from GrubHub, among other benefits. Many Yum! brand restaurants were already offering off-premise sales, and Yum! wants to roll it  out across the the system. In the joint press release posted on GrubHub, they say:

“We are committed to making our iconic brands easier to access through online ordering for pickup and delivery, and aggressively pursuing delivery as a strategic global growth opportunity, with nearly half of our 45,000 restaurants already offering it today,” said Greg Creed, Chief Executive Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc.

“We’re pleased to secure this partnership with Grubhub in order to drive incremental, profitable growth for our U.S. franchisees over the long term. Our partnership and strategic investment in Grubhub demonstrate our laser-like focus on two of our growth drivers: Distinctive, Relevant & Easy Brands and Unmatched Franchise Operating Capability.”

As part of the strategy, operators will have to make other changes, such as changing the batter that they fry with so it handles the humidity developed through car travel. CEO of GrubHub, Stan Chia  says that the service was originally developed for independent restaurant locations.

In a recent article in Food in Demand News, he said:

“Chains that have multiple restaurants in close proximity can send the order to the restaurant that can accommodate it the quickest. “If you have three restaurants close to each other, does it really matter which store it goes to?” he asked. (With a franchise that could be a little more tricky than independents, since the same owner may not have all three restaurants.)”

All of these will be challenges to overcome over time.

Message Delivered:  Rather than building, buying the service on a corporate level helps maintain brand consistency rather than franchisees “going rogue” and working with local providers.

Panera Bread

Units: 2,017
Overview: Soups and sandwiches are going mobile… According to Restaurant Business Online,

“Panera Bread recently announced a commitment to adding more than 10,000 jobs, many of them for delivery drivers, as it expands delivery to 35-40% of its locations by the end of 2017, up from 15% of stores. The company is rolling out a new order tracking system that allows customers to track an order’s progress on a map and get a notification when the driver is arriving. The company decided to hire in-house drivers to maintain control.

The company believed keeping the delivery service internal was key to their delivery success.

“For us, hiring our own drivers was the only way we could ensure that our delivery guests get the same high-quality experience they have come to expect from our bakery cafés,” says Blaine Hurst, president.”

Message Delivered: As delivery becomes a bigger part of the brand experience, the delivery person becomes the only human touchpoint. Panera is betting big that this will make a difference.

Denny’s

Units: 1,724
Overview: Restaurant brands dream of one day being as iconic as Denny’s. But sometimes, creating change in the franchise environment is slower than that of corporate – and that is true for Denny’s when it comes to off-premise sales. According to Restaurant News:

“Denny’s CEO John Miller said company units fared better due to multiple partnerships with third-party delivery providers, which are driving incremental sales during late-night hours and among 18- to 34-year-olds… For the first quarter ended March 28, the Spartanburg, S.C.-based family-dining chain reported a 1.5-percent uptick in U.S. systemwide same-store sales. Results were dragged down by a 1.2-percent increase in same-store sales at franchised restaurants in the U.S. By comparison, same-store sales increased 3.2 percent at company locations.

“We think this is a tailwind for the brand,” Miller said during a Tuesday conference call with investors.”

Off-premise sales are a driver of growth, as the amount of in-restaurant diners diminishes.

“In March, off-premise sales accounted for 9.8 percent of total sales, an increase from 8.7 percent in December. Delivery sales drove the increase… Miller said franchised units, which represent a majority of Denny’s locations, are slower to adapt to delivery.”

Message Delivered: Being open to delivery partnerships, rather than closed, can help franchisees capture the 18-34-year-old market. While change typically happens at a slower rate in the franchising, watching and adapting to this change is important for growth perception. With its longstanding roots in the communities that they serve, surely Denny’s franchisees will continue to adapt and succeed.

What is the Future of Off-Premise?

The demand and technology driving delivery have also sparked growth in operations called “ghost” kitchens that skip the brick-and-mortar dining room altogether and simply prepare foods for delivery. Models similar to this have been proposed to supplement franchise operations where demand outstrips supply during specific day-parts. “Ghost kitchens” could also offer future franchisor opportunities to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

How FranchiseBlast Can Help

If you are exploring off-premise opportunities for your franchise, be sure that your customers get the same experience across locations with our brand consistency tools. Also – although we don’t want to focus too much on the negative, our tools also help prevent franchise fraud, which can take place among a small minority when any change takes place. Reach out to us to learn more.



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