Insider view: The QSR space

Charles Wetzel recently met with one of Kalibrate's clients in the QSR space to discuss challenges and opportunities in recent years, and what the future holds.
Insider view: The QSR space

Kalibrate works with some of the world’s most successful brands and one of the most rewarding components of supporting our customers is hearing their success stories. Here, we speak to a leader in the quick-service restaurant space to hear first-hand their account of recent years and thoughts on the opportunities for QSRs in future.

Charles Wetzel:

What is the one thing that surprised you in a positive during the last two years?

QSR insider:

“Two years ago, with COVID starting, there was a lot uncertainty across all industries. Quick serve restaurants were one of the fortunate industries that COVID treated fairly well. Most of us operate almost all of our restaurants with limited dining rooms already and a majority in the QSR space began including DoorDash to help supplement delivery drivers or add a delivery option altogether.

“We were already well-positioned when COVID started. I would say that that was one of the pleasant surprises, our industry began future-proofing pre-covid which then really fueled potential for growth us. So, these go up, franchisees are fully invested. You know, morale is great. It’s fueled this runway for growth that we have everything coming together.”

CW:

“Do you have eyes on international markets? And if so, why, and from what perspective?”

QSRi:

“Kind of along the same vein of where I was going with the previous question, Covid really gave us a lot of the fuel to pursue growth domestically but also is really fueling our international growth. We were well-positioned to move through to the restrictions and already had the infrastructure in place to get our product to our customers.

“Similar to our ratio of our existing stores, to our competitors in the United States. Our runway for international markets is huge. To put this into perspective. Our largest competitor is in well over 100 countries, where we’re currently in 50 countries or territories. So the runway, both domestically and internationally, is just huge. Fueled with those positive comp growth in over two years, now, we’ve really been focusing on the international markets to drive our net new restaurant counts.

“In North America now we’re looking for 300+ net this year. Projecting our growth going 2023 through 2025, international is going to play a huge role in meeting our goals during that time. So that being said, we’re fortunate that we were able to take our successes and learnings from rolling out our North American model with the insight and help from the Kalibrate team, to really use those successes and those learnings to go to our international franchisees.

“We can put the paper on the table and say, these are the data-driven approaches that really let you open the quantity and the quality of restaurants that we need to do to make the successful for everybody from the top to the bottom. So, we’re currently rolling out a model. We’re in the process of model implementation and development right now in one of our largest markets in Europe. The plan is to continue taking the learnings from our first international model here, everything we’ve learned domestically, and keep this data-driven approach to development going from one country to the next. The goal is to have real central location analysis through that Kalibrate product where we can drive all of our global growth without having to have disparate systems and you know, individual models will be there”

CW:

So imagine it’s 2025 and we’re having this conversation again: what’s happened with your brand and what’s happened with you in terms of growth?

QSRi:  

“Obviously continue to meet and exceed all of our development pipeline goals. You kind of get the wheels spinning; as more units open, revenue increases. Franchisees buy-in, they start to believe they open new restaurants, they make more money, spins that wheel even faster. We’re able to develop and invest more in ourselves.

“So I really hope to be able to look back and see how we’ve continued to spin that wheel and accelerate. Right now, we’re fortunate. We have almost all of our top 25 by unit size franchises currently have development agreements they’ve signed within the last year and the quarterly momentum is great right now. We’ve signed some of the largest development agreements in our company history, in markets as diverse as China and Texas, We also continue to have conversations with outside groups that are very interested in entering our system, so there’s certainly more to come.

“I love to be able to look back and just see that investing in Kalibrate and their predictive analytics, taking a real data-driven approach that we’ve all preached and that everybody’s buying into, has really paid off. We can use that kind of as a poster child to continue our success. You know, here’s why we said it was going to work, and looking back and, the proof is in the pudding for it.”

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