Why is McDonald so popular around the world? Why do we pay so much more for a regular cup of coffee at Starbucks? Truth is – a customer does not actually pay for a cheeseburger or a Café Latte. He pays for the Brand Experience. In present times, branding decides the future of a franchise – the stronger the brand, the more successful the franchise system is! This is true across all industries – From Apple to Nike to Pizza Hut – stronger brands create a point of differentiation in a cut-throat market and establish long term capital advantage for all parties concerned, including franchisors and franchisees.
Harvard business studies on franchises state that nearly 80% of strong foodservice franchise brands witness double profits as compared to their lesser-known counterparts from the same industry. Brand is also the strongest and the most important element that affects customer orientation, choice and buying decision. Every new franchise in the foodservice business starts out with the intention of establishing a strong Brand presence in its niche market. But only a few succeed. Let us understand some of the factors that create a strong foodservice franchise brand.
Brand Identification: As a franchisee, would you partner with Company X or Company Y? As a customer, would you eat at Restaurant A or Restaurant B? Foodservice franchises that aim at business expansion must establish a strong identity and brand promise that their franchisees or partners as well as customers can relate with. From the brand logo and tagline to the shop concept design and offered services, every single element of identification defines a foodservice franchise’s unique brand personality and makes it stand out in competition. Strong brand identification wins the trust of franchisees as well as customers, generates brand loyalty and is the primary requisite for any foodservice franchise to succeed.
Brand Consistency: Whether you eat a Big Mac in New York, Rome, New Delhi or Tokyo, it tastes the same. Such unique brand identification can be achieved with brand consistency. Every element that creates the brand identity a foodservice franchise – right from the taste of its products, the quality of its services, the set-up of its shops and the communication of its marketing collateral – must be consistent and deliver the same brand value across all its geographical locations.
Brand Standards: Ever imagined why you never get lost inside a McDonald’s restaurant, even if you are visiting it for the first time? The reason is simple – all McDonald’s outlets around the world look the same, have the same kind of décor, layout, seating arrangement, digital signage and service counter setup. Such brand consistency can only be achieved with clearly set-out brand standards that every foodservice franchise must strictly adhere to. Besides breeding familiarity with the brand itself, consistent brand standards set a benchmark for every franchise to follow, help to maintain the quality of its products and services and deliver a unified brand experience to customers – everywhere! (No wonder then, that Mc Donald’s is the world’s largest chain of fast food restaurants – delivering the same brand experience to over 68 million customers in 119 countries around the world through its whopping 35,000 outlets!)
Brand Regionality: Perhaps the biggest reason for the popularity of McDonald’s brand across the world is its ability to analyze the cultural requirements of its target markets and modify its menus based on geographical regions. For example, the Indian McDonald’s restaurants do not have beef or pork products on its menu, to respect Hindu and Muslim cultural and religious beliefs. In China, the special Chinese New Year meal comes with a horoscope of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals in traditional Chinese red packets, called lai see. Brand regionality is an important element that foodservice franchises must consider when expanding into new markets. This helps them to adapt their products, services as well as set-ups to the regional needs of those markets, win customer loyalty and have greater local success.111
Brand Communication: McDonald’s tagline – “I’m lovin’ it” is not just a slogan. People use this catch line in all kinds of ‘happy scenarios’! This fast food giant has been able to strike that kind of a friendly rapport with its customers worldwide through effective communication. The point that I’m trying to make here is that transforming occasional or first-time customers into loyal brand consumers requires proactive and frequent brand communication. Foodservice franchise brands that wish to generate great brand loyalty must gain the trust of their target customers. Brand penetration becomes a lot easier with the right communication and marketing strategies. Customers love a friendly approach and regular two-way communication between franchise brands and customers help to identify the customers’ needs and adapt the right strategies for success.
All these elements help to establish a strong foodservice franchise brand. The franchisor as well as the franchisee must collaborate and work in sync with the brand’s vision to create long term brand value.
Brand together with Interior Design are the two pillars that create and support the whole concept. The third one, the most important, is the business idea.
If you too are looking to invest in a foodservice franchise or wish to take your Brand to the next level or to new markets like the Middle East or Europe, talk to us at DESITA.