The pandemic changed the restaurant industry permanently. Customer preferences shifted, employee dynamics altered and prices rose. Despite these changes, smart restauranteurs are having record years post pandemic. Looking at the franchise brands that are thriving in this new landscape, there are 5 takeaways that other owners can copy to see their own business thrive.
The restaurants that are achieving strong ROI have a technology backbone. Technology can help alleviate the labor shortage, improve operations and lower food costs. In the full-service category, Taffer’s Tavern disrupted the standard way of doing things with its “kitchen of the future.”
Using technology can improve operational efficiency by 60%. At Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, the use of online ordering and kiosks reduced labor and surprisingly increased sales.
While wholesale food prices finally started to trend down in Sept. 2022, costs and availability still plague the industry. One of the best ways to mitigate this is through smart menu engineering. Look closely at your menu to see what items sell and which don’t and eliminate underperforming dishes. Investigate what each offering costs and remove high-cost items without strong sales.
It’s not news that since the pandemic finding and keeping restaurant staff is a challenge. The franchise concepts thriving now operate with a low labor matrix. At Brooklyn Dumpling Shop the brand’s extensive use of technology and Automat food lockers allows shifts to operate with 2-3 employees. Celebrity-backed brands like JARS Sweets and Things by Fabio Viviani are reducing labor costs by eliminating onsite baking, allowing franchisees to operate with a lean staff.
Today doing more in less is key. Brands that have concepts that can produce high volume in low square footage are reaping rewards. Again, franchises that have strong tech stacks that automate many operations are the brands that can usually do more in less space. Rise recently launched its 960 sq. ft. digital store. Ordering is done on the Rise app, website, QR code or on-site kiosks and the store has no on-premise indoor seating.
Prioritize Off Premise Dining
During the pandemic takeout was the only option. It turns out consumers, especially younger consumers, prefer off-premise dining at QSR brands. According to Technomic’s Delivery & Takeout Consumer Trend Report in the first half of 2022, carryout accounted for 58% of orders. In the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Industry report, nearly 75% of Millennials and 66% of Gen Z said delivery was essential to the way they live. For restaurant owners this trend is great news. With the bulk of sales coming from off-premise, restaurants can reduce or eliminate on-premise dining which will lower labor needs and allow for smaller footprints. Many of Fransmart’s brands including Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, Rise, and JARS, prioritize off premise sales.
Despite the changes in restaurants after the pandemic, people are still eating out and ordering takeout more than ever. For restaurants that can adapt to the new realities, the industry is still one that can deliver strong ROI for owners.