Franchising is a business expansion strategy that comes with great benefits for a restaurant owner — like a built-in customer base. But partnering with a proven brand and known entity also comes with a big responsibility: maintaining brand consistency.
Customers associate every location of a restaurant chain with a single corporate identity, so it’s up to franchise operators to uphold the brand integrity. The most effective way to do this is to get internal brand buy-in through an employee app. Digitally aligning employees with the brand allows them to deliver the experience customers want and expect.
Here’s how a digital workplace is the perfect strategy for maintaining brand consistency in a restaurant franchise.
Digitally-Supported Employees Are the Best Brand Ambassadors
Frontline employees are the single most important factor in maintaining brand consistency and integrity in a restaurant franchise. They are often the only point of contact guests have with a company during their visit, so creating brand ambassadors is essential to sustain a loyal customer base.
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Turnover in quick service restaurants (QSRs), which are often franchise operations, is notoriously high. On average, 50% of workers quit every year. That drives down profits (recruiting and training new hires is costly) and affects customer loyalty. A constant stream of team-in-training employees fractures service and negatively affects the brand’s image.
An employee app has the power to reduce turnover, increase engagement, and turn employees into brand ambassadors by empowering them with recognition, connection, and information. It’s the reason a workforce app like Beekeeper exists. It creates brand consistency through:
- Cohesive brand messaging. Many franchise owners operate multiple locations with hundreds, or even thousands, of employees. A digital workplace with a mobile app enables cohesive messaging by creating a single portal to disseminate information.
- Brand-consistent training. In a franchise, employees must adhere to corporate training policies to learn how to represent the brand to customers. There are service details unique to every company and employees must reflect those in order to maintain brand consistency. An employee app can standardize onboarding, training, and upskilling employees.
- Streamlined product information. With an employee app, franchise operators can make product updates and announcements through a messaging campaign.
- Recognition. An employee app should give a digital shout out to employees. Recognition is the top communication workers want, but often feel is missing, in the workplace.
- Data-driven decisions. An employee app like Beekeeper has an analytics dashboard so management can track their workforce engagement, allowing managers to find the disconnect in their messaging and create branded content to engage employees.
Sustain the Brand Culture, Retain the Integrity
Brand identity starts with the foundation of a company: its mission, core values, and vision. In short, its culture. When a large organization franchises, it is imperative that every location operates with those same guiding principles. An employee app can help a franchise manager successfully align employees to the culture and raise their internal brand awareness.
Franchise restaurant workers are often hourly shift workers with little or no connection to the bigger vision. A strong culture that ties brand integrity to the employee experience will drive workforce engagement. It’s also a great way to groom future franchise partners. Domino’s Pizza has over 800 franchises in the United States. 90% of those are owned by the company’s former frontline employees. Talk about employee engagement!
An internal communications platform can bridge the divide between employees and the brand by reinforcing cultural values through content and messaging, like employee recognition. When employees are in sync with the culture, “they embody the company’s vision” which shines through in their customer service.
A Digital Workplace Enables Repetitive Quality Marketing
Repetitive quality marketing, or RQM, is a strategy that a franchised organization uses to keep messaging on brand. It essentially creates consistency across all units to optimize success. An internal communications platform is the perfect tool for effective RQM for franchise owners.
RQM relies on repetition, and an employee app can support this by delivering automated brand content to every employee in real time, as often as needed. This constant access to information allows employees to stay on brand for consistent customer service.
RQM can take different forms. When Dunkin’ Donuts had trouble engaging their 2,000 franchisees over corporate emails to align every outlet with corporate messaging, they changed their medium. They began to produce high-quality videos to communicate important brand-related information, and their franchise partners took notice.
Sharing corporate content with franchise teams strengthens the employee-company connection and extends the reach of RQM to create consistency at every level.
Brand Consistency Guarantees a Great Customer Experience
McDonald’s is one of the most recognized restaurant brands in the world. The company’s identity is built on consistency—from uniforms to the Golden Arches to the Big Mac on every menu. 82% of the company’s locations are franchises but every independent owner-operator is well-trained in maintaining brand consistency so every location provides equal service.
While McDonald’s tried-and-true business model has been built over 70 years, a digital workplace can quickly align a franchisee and employees with a brand to provide the customer service the company prides itself on.
- Localization. Local franchise operators can maintain brand consistency, and even strengthen the brand, through strategic marketing to their local customers. Managers can use the two-way communication capabilities to ask employees about popular items and customer feedback for strategic marketing opportunities to ensure customer loyalty.
- Real-time customer attention. An employee app provides real-time communication. Any issues can be resolved quickly and customer questions can get immediate answers.
- Product information. Employees can familiarize themselves with product information over the app on the app to help provide consistent customer service.
Brand management needs to be an everyday action item for a franchise. Digitally connecting employees is the key to maintaining brand consistency and upholding the experience that keeps customers coming back.