To gauge how those charged with the day-to-day challenge of running a quick-service concept feel about the state of the industry, QSR asked survey participants to rate their satisfaction in 11 areas of quick-service operations: same-store sales prospects; unit-level profitability; current menu; new-product pipeline; advertising effectiveness; operational effectiveness; new building ROI; franchisor leadership; system’s physical condition; remodeling ROI; and franchisee support programs.
All categories except two were rated above the midpoint rating of Neutral. Strength of the Current Menu received the highest average rating, 3.63, followed closely by New-Product Pipeline, 3.43. Not particularly surprising, the two areas that scores averaged below 3 were Remodeling ROI and New Building ROI at 2.95 and 2.78, respectively. It can be assumed that these two areas require much more time to realize a positive ROI than does a menu change, thus the lower strength rating.
It is interesting to note, however, that while a rating of Very Weak by 21 percent of respondents in the area of New Building ROI might not be altogether surprising, it is somewhat surprising that 21 percent also described Franchisor Leadership the same way: Very Weak.
There are as many unique challenges facing franchisees as there are franchisees. Still, in reviewing answers to the question, “What is your biggest challenge?” there appear to be four broad areas of concern:
- Reducing/Managing Costs
- Finding/Retaining Employees
- Concerns and Frustrations with the Franchisor
Items 1–3 are facts of life for any business, although issues with finding and retaining employees have always been a principal challenge for the foodservice industry. However, most businesses need not deal with the demands of a franchisor. Comments from this survey suggest that a franchisee’s success or failure is often a direct result of the demands, restrictions, and edicts placed on him by the franchisor. Additionally, more than a few participants mentioned as their biggest challenges lack of or slow support, poor leadership, and mandates to purchase from corporate.
In light of this, it’s not surprising that many of the respondents would like more support from their respective franchisors in the form of more (and more effective) regional advertising, reduced product and royalty costs, and general operational support.
When asked “If money were no obstacle, what is the one concept affiliation you would like to invest in,” the overwhelming response was McDonald’s with 22 percent, followed by Sonic Drive-In at 10 percent.