Tag Archives: Franchising

Your employees are your brand

What is a QSR brand? Is it your logo and advertising? Or is it your food?

Your brand is the sum total of the entire customer experience: your advertising, your social media activities, the customer service you provide, your community involvement, the restaurant design, the cleanliness of your washrooms… and the quality of your food. Every one of these factors can and will influence the opinion of your customers.

But there’s another aspect to your brand that’s as important as the food: your employees. Many QSRs make sizable investments in-store décor but don’t invest in comprehensive employee training.

QSRs are typically staffed by students working part-time positions. Managers may sometimes not see the value in training them because there is often high staff turnover. However, a well-trained and motivated employee is more likely to remain loyal and not look elsewhere.

The fact is that students are eager to learn and want to do well: there is a sense of well-being and satisfaction that comes from positive achievements.

QSR employees are often provided with basic training on how to assemble the food and serve customers. They may recognize that customer service is important, but not what to do… or why.

They’re told “what” to do, but the “why” is missing from the equation.

• Do your employees understand your brand values and what you stand for as an organization?
• How to they fit into – and contribute to – the delivery of your brand values?
• Do they understand how their contribution helps the company, and how it helps them personally to grow?

Educate your employees on how the skills they learn at your restaurant are life skills and are transferable. They will help them throughout their career and life.

Finally, remember that continued positive reinforcement is not just important but crucial: recognize and reward your employees successes and good work. Do it both in the moment – a quiet “you did a great job with that customer” goes a long way – and in a more formal manner with a rewards program that has achievable goals and rewards.

The end result: you’ll improve employee satisfaction, retain your best employees longer, and enhance your customers’ experience of your brand.

Millennials: Healthy Eating vs Convenience

The past decade has seen an increasing consumer trend to move away from functional foods (food that is processed, modified, and/or contains additives) toward more basic, “whole foods”.

But millennials, more than any other age group, prioritize convenience over healthy eating. They spend less time on food preparation than any other age group. They eat at restaurants and get takeout food more than any other age group. And food delivery services and mobile ordering are increasingly popular with millennials.

Millennials say that they prefer healthy, whole foods over functional foods, but not at the expense of convenience, taste, and cost.

This represents a big opportunity for health food brands and quick service restaurants (QSRs). How can your brand deliver both healthy eating AND convenience?

Health food brands should consider offering packaged, prepared take-home meals that offer convenience without processed ingredients. It’s a growing category in groceries, and these meals could also be available via your own online ordering & delivery service.

Likewise, quick-service restaurants can offer complete “meal in a box” packages via their app or website, including home delivery, making it easy and convenient for consumers to have dinner delivered right to their door.

Franchising and the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Think back to when you opened your own business. That first location was a labour of love. You sweated over every decision, large and small: products, pricing, suppliers, decor, equipment… You took on a huge risk in launching your own business and nothing happened without your careful consideration.

Within a few years you were successful enough that you started to think about expansion. And that’s when someone whispered the magic word in your ear: “franchising”. Why franchising? It allows you to expand quickly without shouldering the debt and risk. But when franchisees are the ones carrying the financial burden, they want to ensure their investment will pay off. Ideally, they want a say in the decision-making, or at the very least they need to trust that the decisions are being made by a team of qualified professionals.

But you’ve always made all the decisions, and it’s worked so far. Why change? When all of the decisions flow through you, you create a bottleneck and nothing happens quickly. But more importantly, you don’t necessarily have the time or expertise to make effective decisions on every aspect of your growing business.

In your early days, you may have enjoyed designing your own advertising or choosing the colour of your wall paint, but now those tasks are simply distractions from the real work you should be doing. When franchisees see the CEO involved in every minute decision, they will quickly lose trust that they are part of a well-managed organization.

This is when you need to let go of your entrepreneur mindset and relinquish control.

One common solution is to engage your franchisees, share your plans, and solicit their input. But here’s where the danger lies: like you, franchisees are entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily have the expertise to make effective decisions on every area of the business. If you give your franchisees decision-making power you likely won’t get the business results you need.

Make sure you hire qualified professionals in each key area of your business – from franchising to operations – and empower them to do their jobs. This isn’t an issue that’s exclusive to franchising. Regardless of the industry, great leaders know how to delegate. When your franchisees see a management team that is skilled, efficient and effective – and more importantly, when they see the financial results – they’ll recognize that their future is in good hands and you’ll gain their lasting trust.

Do calories count?

If you’re a Canadian adult in 2019, they definitely do. More than ever, we’re watching what we eat: making healthy food choices and reducing our caloric intake. In Field Day’s annual study of fast food trends, the “range of healthy food options” and “food that meets my dietary needs” have increased in importance each year.

Quick serve and fast casual restaurants are modifying their menus to respond to changing consumer tastes, but there’s more they can do. In an industry where the quality of customer service is a key consumer influencer, restaurant chains can better serve their customers by making it easy to select a meal that meets their dietary requirements.

As part of our work as marketing agency for the nationwide chain, Quesada Burritos & Tacos, Field Day developed an innovative “nutrition calculator”. Visitors to the Quesada website can quickly and easily put together their favourite meal and see the nutritional data including calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fibre, sugar and protein. The calculator also lets consumers filter their choices by over a dozen dietary and allergen criteria including vegan, vegetarian, peanut, dairy, gluten, and more.

While calorie data is currently only required on menus in Ontario, it’s only a matter of time until other provinces follow suit. Regardless of whether or not a customer is monitoring their caloric intake, the nutrition calculator reinforces Quesada’s brand position as a company that cares about the well-being and health of its customers. It’s the type of value-add that will win the respect and loyalty of customers.

Try the Quesada nutrition calculator here: https://www.quesada.ca/nutrition/

Field Day can develop similar web-based technology for your QSR chain. Give us a call to discuss.

Keeping your franchisees motivated

When it comes to franchising, there’s more to marketing than consumer-focused advertising. One of the main challenges is to market the brand to the franchisees themselves and keep them engaged. Franchising is an attractive model for retail organizations and restaurants. It allows for expansion of the brand without incurring significant corporate financial liability. But franchising is not without its risks.

As independent business owners, franchisees sometimes “go rogue” with their own off-brand initiatives that are counter to corporate’s branding and marketing strategies. One of the earliest examples of this can be seen in the film “The Founder”, the story of Ray Kroc and McDonald’s, where some of the first McDonald’s franchisees took it upon themselves to add their own regional menu items and run their own off-brand promotions. When the experience is inconsistent from store to store, it weakens the brand.

As well, franchisees often think it’s solely corporate’s responsibility to drive sales. They may not understand how important it is to build a positive reputation in their local community, to engage local businesses, and to provide an exemplary customer experience.
Franchisees are the public face of your brand, and it’s crucial to keep franchisees engaged with the brand and to make sure they understand the value of maintaining the brand image and message.

Here are some of the best practices that are relatively easy to put into action:

Create a solid brand spirit:
It’s crucial that franchisees understand and believe in the brand. When a brand has clear values, mission and positioning, it gives franchisees a foundation they rely on. If you want to ensure “buy in”, create a spirit of collaboration with your franchisees. Seek their opinions and give them a role in the definition of the brand platform. It creates a feeling of belonging and ownership and will go a long way to motivating franchisees. It will also help to ensure uniformity and consistency of the brand, which in turn will lead to increased consumer trust and engagement.

Recognize their efforts:
To increase loyalty and emphasize that feeling of belonging & community, gather with franchisees, recognize their efforts and celebrate their successes. Conventions, awards, news bulletins, and a franchisee intranet system are tools that can be put in place and that will drive engagement.

Give them the right tools:
Understand that franchisees are not marketers at heart. Give them plans and programs that are easy to understand and simple to execute in their own communities. Inspire them with real-life examples of how the programs will increase store traffic and sales. “If you follow these simple steps, here are the results you’ll achieve!” As well, demonstrate how a small financial investment on their part can result in a much greater return. As an example, ask franchisees to select one business in their community each Monday and provide a free catered lunch. Franchisees are reluctant to give away their product, but this type of program creates enormous goodwill and is a fantastic “sampling” opportunity with people who otherwise might never visit their store.

Keep the conversation going:
Continue to engage with your franchisees on a weekly, or better yet, daily basis. Your positive attitude is infectious. Keep spreading the word that the brand is thriving and that goals are being met. This is also an important message for potential franchisees. Remember, it’s not all about the numbers. Franchisees not only invest their money in your brand; they invest their entire lives – and they want to be part of positive, thriving brand culture.