Issue 47, Number 11
[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]ranchising is largely viewed as a preferred route for business development and expansion. As many business analysts will attest to, there’s strength in numbers. Franchisors that possess a strong concept, a successful model for expansion and the intent to succeed based on sound, honest practices are poised to win big, just as franchisees who are committed to run a business based on a tried-and-true formula will often prove fruitful. In fact, when franchising works as it is intended to, it’s a win-win for both sides — and, in those business situations, there’s nothing better.
Of course, that’s the theoretical part of the scenario. But there are always franchisors that choose to bend the rules and are out to make a quick buck. Just as there are franchisees who refuse to play by the rules and run the business outside the confines of the franchise agreement. Either way, franchising can really only succeed if everyone involved is committed to following the business contract. But that’s not always the case. And, that’s why disclosure laws exist. (see story on p. 31)
Still, success is not guaranteed without the ability to adapt to changing market conditions. Sure, attaining strong financials is easier with a recognized and trusted name on the marquee, but operators are quickly discovering you need more than the strength of a name, even if that name is Tim’s, McDonald’s or Starbucks; these days, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. You need to constantly revamp offerings by adding and sometimes even deleting from the menu mix to succeed.
In fact, take a look at this year’s Franchise Report (see p. 37), and it’s clear quick-service franchising has come a long way from the days of burgers and fries. Sure, the dynamic duo is still popular, but increasingly we are seeing the emergence of concepts based on healthy, fresh foods and the continued growth of the fast-casual segment, which is coming into its own.
Today’s consumers still want food fast, but they are asking for healthier alternatives. And smart operators are responding. For example, recently McDonald’s Canada told the Toronto Star it’s revamping its greens, adding kale, whole grains and four vegetable servings per entrée salad. The company also announced it’s cutting back on the sauces offered and reducing the number of McWraps sold in the U.S. Moreover, it’s testing kiosks that will offer consumers customized offerings. In Australia, McDonald’s has even launched a test restaurant in Sydney named The Corner by McCafé; it serves healthy offerings such as Moroccan roast chicken breast, chipotle pulled pork, brown rice, pumpkin, lentil and eggplant salads as well as sandwiches. (see story on p. 5)
Meanwhile, Tim Hortons recently launched a Balanced Options program on its Canadian and U.S websites, and it’s offering a revamped nutrition calculator showing the levels of sodium, allergens, sulphites and animal by-products in its offerings. Whether these changes make a difference remains to be seen; the only certainty is that the move will spur more wholesale changes at other operations, and the rate of innovation will continue at breakneck speed. Is your business ready?