Not all restaurants are created equal.
And not all chains are either.
But after 20+ years of working with chain restaurants and working with thousands of corporate leaders and franchise owners, we’ve learned a few things to make our chain projects successful.
Chain restaurants are all unique, but they come across the same challenges, whether scaling up to five restaurants or 50. The most common struggles? Supply chain issues, project delays, and costly construction mistakes.
Avanti’s deep experience can streamline your projects, keep costs low, and prepare franchisees for the future. Continue reading to see five ways we can make your projects run smoothly, from procurement through opening day.
1. You’re in the know—as much as you want to be.
Opening up one or 100 more locations of your chain restaurant is a stressful period. Connecting the head office with franchisees with general contractors (and the list goes on) is a major feat in its own right.
That’s why one of our core values is to connect and communicate. Whether we’re talking to the head of procurement, construction managers, head of development, or GCs, every person is important.
This translates to weekly (and sometimes daily) communication with your team and the general contractor. We outline the scope from the very beginning to ensure everyone knows their expectations and nothing falls through the cracks. (From our experience, we know this also helps eliminate the “That’s not my job” conversations.)
While we value overcommunication in our partners, we’re also happy to take charge and run things behind the scenes. We’re the vendor you can forget about—and trust that we’ll get it done. That begins at the project start (specifying and procuring the right equipment) through installation, and continues long after the project end (new equipment rollouts, replacement equipment, remodels, and more).
2. Get the right equipment—not just the cheapest.
We’ve cut our teeth on procuring restaurant equipment for our clients, and it’s still one of the things we do best.
While supply chain issues have made the last few years tough, we continue to provide hands-on equipment procurement services. When your products are 40 weeks out (which is currently happening with some pieces of equipment), we’re jumping in to find what you need and get it to you when you need it.
What happens when there isn’t an apples-to-apples product? That’s when we’ll really go to work.
“Our end goal is to make sure the customer has what they need when they need it,” said Shawna Snyder, Director of Chain Accounts.
Cost is also a significant factor, especially when making decisions for 15 locations instead of just one. But we know there’s more to selecting the right equipment than the initial price tag.
We’re also looking at things like:
- Key specifications and how they compare
- The quality of the service network
- The quality of the equipment
- Ease of use
- Energy savings
- Product output
- Aligning equipment manufacturers
- And more…
Finding the right equipment is paramount to your chain’s success. There’s cheap everything—but an $800 commodity fryer won’t cut it if fried chicken is your best seller.
Equipment changes are a big deal for chains. An equipment decision will impact current restaurants and many new locations to come. That’s why we do our due diligence, testing new equipment with your recipes, your parameters, and in a similar environment to ensure it works exactly the way it should.
3. Our relationships become your relationships.
We’ve been in the business for a long time, and we’ve learned repeatedly that it’s all about relationships. (It’s an adage for a reason.)
There are three big relationships we focus on that help make our chain accounts successful:
Our manufacturer relationships: You’ll benefit from our long-term relationships with manufacturers, many of which go back decades.
How does this factor in launching your chain restaurants? We’re happy to make connections and go the extra mile, so our partners are willing to do the same. When supply is low, we can get things to you in a pinch.
As our Business Development Manager, Mariah McManaman, says, “We’re able to get more things accomplished than the average dealer.”
Our customer relationships: Too many businesses rely heavily on one account manager/rep. Pair that with high turnover rates, and you’ll definitely see an impact on your projects. High employee turnover is an easy way for things to fall through the cracks, causing costly project delays.
With Avanti, you’re always working with the same team across projects. Not only do we have a dedicated chains team, but each project rep also has a team behind them. You’ll be able to build long-lasting relationships with everyone on your dedicated account team and trust that they’re giving your business their all.
Corporate and franchisee relationships: There’s a lot of communication from the corporate office to the franchisees, but it doesn’t always flow both ways. And with the amount of information shared between you, it’s easy to miss small but important details.
We’re here to build relationships with your team and your franchisee network. When we work with franchisees, we’re an extension of your team. We know what you’ll expect when you walk into a restaurant, how things can be tweaked (or not) to meet certain specifications, and how to interact with the corporate office moving forward. We’ll own the relationship with the franchisees for you, walking them through the ordering process, advising on construction, and checking in on project timelines.
Moving the other direction, we’re also your boots on the ground. While it’s highly unlikely that you or someone from your team will be able to visit every store, we’re there to see how things are progressing, how the equipment is working, and what the experience is like. We’ll collect feedback, feel the individual frustrations of each location, and bring it to your attention. They’ll feel heard, and you’ll have a better understanding of the restaurants out in the field.
4. We solve problems you didn’t know you had.
After years of helping chain restaurants, we’ve picked up some institutional knowledge you only get from experience.
As easy as it would be to get in and out, focusing only on our slice of the project, we’ll never ignore problems. We’re your eyes and ears for when you can’t be in every location, and our intimate knowledge of client accounts means we catch issues frequently.
We know the details matter for long-term success. This extends from finding the right storage solution for your dry goods to ensuring the passthrough shelf at the chef’s counter is hung at the right height for maximum throughput.
“We’re not just here trying to shuffle paper, buy equipment, and get it delivered. Everyone takes full ownership of their projects,” said Mariah. “Everyone’s got heart. We’re not going to give up until we’ve exhausted all options to get the customer taken care of.”
5. You get true partner-level service.
We know that every chain restaurant is a vastly different animal. No two chains run alike. So while we have our processes, we’re always tailoring a personalized, high-touch engagement with each customer we work with.
“Everyone runs their chain differently, and we have the flexibility and compatibility to be able to do what they need,” said Shawna.
Our 360-degree, multitouch service ensures we connect with anyone our customers deem necessary, from c-level executives to accountants to growth managers. But we’ll also work a shift in your restaurant. By working hands-on at one of your locations, we can deep dive into the equipment you use, what it’s for, and if it makes sense in your next location.
This will help inform which equipment you need, which could you substitute for something better, and what other in-store improvements we can make. For example, do you need a giant ice machine when you sell mostly bottled sodas? That could save you money and space at your next location.
This also extends to our service area. While our hearts may be in California, we work with teams across the country and in Canada to provide seamless customer service.
The big difference between chains and local restaurants? The job is never done. There’s always another location to spec, new equipment to rollout, or operations to tweak. At Avanti, we work with you and franchisees to ensure optimal performance.
Ready to open your next location? Talk to one of our chain experts today.