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Franchisors Use Technology to Fuel Franchise Expansion

Franchises are increasingly relying on technology to automate operations and drive business success in their restaurants. For franchisors looking to expand, technology presents a unique opportunity to entice franchisees and strengthen the brand image. Introducing technology, such as self-ordering kiosks, digital menu boards and online ordering across an entire restaurant chain can have numerous long-term benefits for both franchisees and franchisors.

Successful franchising strengthens brand uniformity and consistency, and technology helps with this. Technology not only contributes to operations becoming more efficient for franchisees as they open more than one location, but also makes things more efficient to scale.

Franchises such as McDonald’s have been implementing a great amount of technology in recent years, including an app, curbside service, loyalty program and self-ordering kiosks. For QSR franchises looking to sell more units, and franchisees looking to turn a profit, implementation of technology is vital to long-term success.

Brand consistency

One of the first and most obvious benefits of implementing technology for franchisors is strengthening the restaurant brand. In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, consumers are likely to experience brands through digital touchpoints before setting foot in a physical location. And, when they do experience a brand at a physical location, it is imperative that the experience is similar to that of the digital brand.

Adam Zeitsiff, Chief Information Officer at Smoothie King, a franchise brand with over 1,000 locations nationwide, explains the importance of considering how technology creates a strong sense of community and purpose between customers and the Smoothie King brand. “Our guests should feel they can interact with Smoothie King through technology—specifically via our app, and this interaction should enhance their relationship with us,” he said.

When establishing a restaurant, consistency is key to developing the brand and building a customer base. Loyal customers trust their favorite brands and expect a high level of consistency and customer experience no matter which location they visit. By introducing new customer-facing technology at one franchise location, franchisors are implicitly promising that consumers can enjoy it at every location.

Self-ordering technology, such as the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR, achieves this consistency of experience by minimizing human contact, eliminating ordering errors and allowing restaurants to implement integrations, such as loyalty programs and discount codes, that reward consumers. GRUBBRR’s loyalty integrations provide businesses with an opportunity to capture data intelligence about consumer history, including most recent orders, to execute suggestive selling and curate a more personalized ordering experience. What’s more, because they are automated and ensure error-free ordering, kiosks help to ensure a consistently excellent restaurant experience.

To ensure that best practices are being followed across all franchise locations, it is important to implement employee technology training. Building in new training processes will ensure all franchise locations use the technology to its fullest potential. By training employees for consistency, franchisors earn the loyalty of customers and strengthen the franchise brand.

Expand franchising

Most popular quick-service and fast-casual brands rely on franchising to expand their footprint.

For franchisors looking to generate value for their franchisees and develop an innovative portfolio, implementing technology presents a clear opportunity for business success.

According to Zeitsiff, technology enables franchise expansion by empowering franchisees to spend more of their time focusing on the consumers and initiatives that will spur growth. “It’s important that we give [franchisees] the right tools to help them run their business efficiently and maintain a competitive edge, so they can spend more time working to grow their business,” he said.

Likewise, in an email to franchise owners, McDonald’s explained that the corporation is “committed to driving innovation in our restaurants and for our customers through significant investments in exploring new technologies that can provide the company and our franchisees a competitive advantage.” Already, the company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in upfront costs to this effect. “Our strategy and process for bringing new technology to our system and customers appropriately allows us to move quickly and stay at the forefront of innovation that provides a faster and more convenient experience to our customers,” the email continued.

This faster and more convenient experience is achieved by self-ordering technology such as kitchen display systems, digital signage and the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR, which allows restaurants to streamline efficiency, leading to a reduction in average transaction time. By rolling out this technology across locations, franchisees are set up for success, as self-ordering technology is proven to increase revenue, decrease operating costs (including labor spending) and improve the customer experience.

For instance, the average cost of a cashier at a quick service restaurant that is open 15 hours per day. With all associated carrying costs, this position will cost more than $6,000 per month. On the other hand, the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR is a fraction of that price. Additionally, franchisees don’t have to worry about scheduling issues with kiosks, and kiosks offer optimal efficiency 24/7.

"We stress how we will set them up for success. For the more sophisticated franchise partners we really want to stress the uniqueness of positioning, the economic opportunity. We wrap up both of those selling messages with our commitment as an ownership group and as a leadership team to the franchisee's success," said Ricky Richardson, CEO of Eggs Up Grill.

By spending less on labor, franchisees are able to add more to their bottom line, thereby making franchise expansion easier. What’s more, technology helps restaurants adapt to the changing landscape of the restaurant industry by meeting consumers where they want to order– be it on a mobile device, at a drive-thru or on a kiosk. Samsung and GRUBBRR solutions enable businesses to increase their consumer base while simultaneously driving incremental revenue and streamlining operations. By providing more avenues through which to meet consumers—avenues that are algorithmically programmed to make consumers spend more—restaurants increase their bottom line.

Conclusion

In the words of Zeitsiff, “Companies who implement technology this way give themselves a competitive advantage.” As evidenced by companies like Chipotle, which recently opened their 3,000th franchise unit, turning to digital solutions is a clear way to generate value for franchisees while strengthening the franchise brand. For franchisors, it is important to never underestimate the power of their brand. If the technology is intuitive and useful, like the Samsung kiosk powered by GRUBBRR, franchisors will want their restaurant brand associated with it.

This post is sponsored by Grubbrr

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