Our thoughts again turn to the restaurant industry, especially the quick-service restaurant sector. Our Top 100 Global Franchises was dominated by the QSR franchises and for those considering expansion, either on a domestic or an international level, have to figure out how to negotiate a tricky and competitive market.
Franchise Times has an eye-opening story about the QSR sector in their most recent issue. It starts in Quaker Steak & Lube unit and the promises its founders made 35 years ago: that customers are having fun and feeling the food is unique. When a number of customers responded ‘No’ to both questions, Quaker Steak & Lube begin a root-and-branch examination of how their business functions. They encouraged staff to have more fun with customers and spend more time with them, while adding on extras wherever possible.
The result: Franchise Times reports that Quaker have enjoyed steady growth over the last year, despite the economic downturn and the exceedingly-competitive QSR sector. The reason: “They put more scrutiny on where they spend their dollars,” Ken Cole, Quaker CEO, told the magazine.
Here’s how Franchise Times breaks down the restaurant sector at the moment:
A more discerning consumer is insisting on strong value and customer service and is punishing brands that don’t provide them to their satisfaction. Diners “are less influenced by prestige and more influenced by performance,” said Malcolm Knapp, publisher of the Knapp Track, a monthly report which tracks casual dining sales.
There’s a lot to chew on in this article, pertaining back to issues we were discussing yesterday. More and more, franchises are being asked to deliver a unique experience, unique even from other franchises operating under the same umbrella. If you’re a prospective restauranteur/franchisee, keep in this mind.
You’ll not only be expected to deliver a product that’s original, but an experience as well.