Customer satisfaction is the priority when it comes to operating a successful business. This week in Friday Franchising we see franchises accomplishing this in a variety of ways. We take a look at the current state of the industry and how franchises are cooking up fresh ways to enhance the customer experience — from time-saving apps — to expanded menu offerings and product transparency. Read on to find out more.
Taco Bell Tests Territories with TacoBot
Bots are the latest wave of technology to be making a splash with franchises. No stranger to trends, the fast food chain announced a new integration with workplace messaging app, Slack. The deal features TacoBot, an artificial intelligence powered ordering service. Users will be able to talk with the bot, make orders and even pay for their eats entirely through Slack. The TacoBot is the most recent step in the continuing process to make Taco Bell accessible on the fly. TacoBot is currently being tested privately and will be made more available in coming months.
Envisioning a Franchise-Friendly Supply Chain
Historically, the supply chain, franchisors and franchisees have had a rocky relationship. Improving frustrations was the topic of conversation at the inaugural Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit in Dallas. Brand leaders and CEO’s met to discuss how to communicate more effectively and increase transparency within the supply chain. Technology is a key component in achieving this, creating uniform POs systems to track supplies and notify vendors. Supply-chain technology also helps watch high-risk products, collect past data to provide new experiences for customers and allocate budgets properly.
McDonald’s Breakfast Expands
In October, the fast-food mega franchise debuted all-day breakfast with a limited menu selection after 11 a.m.. The addition of breakfast throughout the day has been a hit. McDonald’s is now offering its complete breakfast menu all day at over 150 locations in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, along with the Triad region of North Carolina. McGriddles will be added to the all-day menu at 1,000 stores throughout the South. Concerned franchisees hope that accommodating the fuller menu will be a smooth transition and McDonald’s will address operational complexities.
Applebee’s Unveils New Takeout Friendly App
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar isn’t sitting on the sidelines when it comes to utilizing technology. The casual-dining franchise rolled out a revised mobile app that is geared towards takeout orders. Orders can be placed days (or weeks) in advance and a pay-ahead feature eases carside to-go service. Carside to-go sales are expected to get a boost from the app’s launch. The app is the next step in the chain’s ongoing focus on consumer facing technology to enhance the restaurant experience.
America is a Nation of Snackers
Snacking is a part of our daily diet it has been revealed. Adults in this country snacked on ready-to-eat foods more than 200 billion times in 2015, according to consumer research firm The NPD Group. This shift has spurred the addition of three snacking dayparts in restaurants— mid-morning, late afternoon and late night. The NPD study reveals this makes up 18 percent of all restaurant dining. Restaurants are adapting with new, lighter offerings at reduced prices from their full-size counterparts. Tasty sliders, mini bowls and bar-inspired fare are helping transforming traditional meals.