Managing Social Networking For Your Restaurant Franchise

Managing the social networking in your restaurant franchise requires skill and forethought. I recently helped a couple who had been in a large coffee franchise for more than 10 years to exit the system. They were one of the first franchisees to invest in this particular coffee franchise and had bought and sold numerous stores during that time. At the time of my meeting with them, they still had 4 stores and were looking to sell one and purchase
another in a downtown area

Over the years in this system and previously in other QSR franchise concepts they had become successful business people who enjoyed being in business and all the perks that went along with it.

Part of my brief  was to evaluate their stores along with the other stores in the region and give suggestions to the franchisor as to who met the criteria for further expansion. The result was somewhat surprising to the corporation –  this couple did not meet the criteria for expansion! Their franchise representative and other franchisees around them were not too surprised as they had been unhappy with their performance for quite some time. But the corporation saw them as almost “founding franchisees” and had treated them as somewhat of a protected species.

So what had happened to them? Like a lot of people who have been in business a long time, they were more in love with being “in business” than running the business. They loved being local celebs. They were members of the local Rotary Club, gave talks to schools and business organizations, she was the president of the local women-in-business group, they led charity drives etc, etc.

Networking and being involved with the local community is very important to building your business and every effort should be made to be seen as part of that community. What went wrong here is that they forgot the reason for being in all of these organizations in the first place…… their own business! As more and more of their time was taken up with the non money making activities the result was that their business suffered. Sales and cleanliness standards fell, costs rose and productivity and profit plummeted.

What had happened was that they had lost the passion for the business and had replaced that passion with a list of things and groups they thought would help grow that business. They actually thought they were doing the right thing. Their problem, apart from the fact that they needed to get out, was that they went too far with the social networking.

Join as many groups as you wish but there is no need to be the president, chairman or secretary unless you have the time to do it. I don’t know many food franchisees that have that sort of time.

So, what happened to the couple ?  Well good news, they listened to what was being said to them, gave up a few of their social/business commitments and went back to work in their business. It took a few months and a lot of hard work but they tightened up their store, got their business back along with some of the profits and were able to sell their remaining stores. They are currently taking a break before looking for another venture to keep their fires burning.

So why didn’t they rekindle the passion for their existing business? They were already tried and tested in this concept. Simple. Everything has a shelf life and for them coffee had reached that shelf life, it was time to move on. They had lasted over ten years in one concept where the average was three to five years. Once you lose the passion for a business it is time  to have that hard discussion with yourself and make a decision that will be best for you and the business in the long term.


Quick Local Store Marketing Ideas for 2011

It’s a new year and everyone in the QSR business is wondering where the economy is headed as we charge into 2011.  To get you going with a few LSM tips to start off the year here are 10 things you can do immediately to jumpstart sales in your QSR or café:

  • Sample your products to prospective customers on a regular basis
  • Have a loss leader product to draw new customers
  • Start a happy hour with some of your products at slow times of the day.
  • Get a web presence! Have a simple 3-5 page website designed about your business with a Google map
  • Get on Google Maps!
  • Buy a big brandy balloon for business cards. Draw a winner each week/month for a prize. Free meal, etc.
  • Start a Facebook fan page
  • Use the business cards to build a data base for emailing information on new promotions or to encourage people to be fans on your Facebook fan page
  • Fitness center near you? Offer discounts to members. Do cross promotions.
  • Sell gift vouchers for your store to clubs and other organizations.

My list of LSM ideas is extensive and when you subscribe to my blog you will get the full list (and updates when I hear of new ideas from readers and others). Many of the items on the list are certainly not new and many things you may have tried in the past but forgotten about. Use it as a guide or just a reminder of the tried and true.

Check back daily as we delve deeper into some of these “Calls To Action” each day.

To your profitability…


What happened to Coca Cola?

I apologize to any reader of this blog for the lack of content over the last few months but I have been doing the change of job and country thing and as any expat knows, moving is hell.

I am settled and will now be able to spend more of my time and effort into developing this blog into something that I hope will benefit franchisees everywhere.

So, I am back in the US after many years away and I have a burning question that must be answered.

What happened to Coke? It tastes different and I am not talking about old Coke / new Coke, I am talking about something fundamentally different about the taste.

Rumors abound regarding substitution of sweeteners, is this true, have the powers that be found a new way to sweeten coke and not told anyone about it.

Did they slowly change from one form of sweetener to another over several years, slowly adding more of the new stuff and less of the old stuff so no one would notice the change!!

The word “Corn” has been mentioned!!

I have tasted Coca Cola in several countries over the last decade and it all tastes the same, except for the US. Can someone please tell me what happened? Please!!

I am also hearing rumors of secret trips south of the border where real Coke is still available and of smuggling attempts gone wrong as “The Coke Police” swoop on unsuspecting travelers checking luggage and cars for “non corn Coke”

Is it also true that if you follow a Mexican around they will eventually lead you to the store in your area where the real Coke is sold, smuggled in by uncle Juan who used to run illegal aliens across the border but now just concentrates on cans of coke.

I have been following this poor Mexican family around for weeks hoping to find their stash but to no avail. They have even taken out a restraining order on me!!

Please help me!!! Or at least can someone please explain what happened and why before I do the unthinkable and buy a (yuk) Pepsi.