Franchising is a complex business in that as a franchisor we have to fully understand two layers of customer profiles: 1) our franchise partner profile (who partners with us to develop Mama Fu's sites); and 2) our retail customer profile (who spends money at our Mama Fu's locations). We feel strongly that we know what type of franchise partner we want to build our brand around - successful multi-unit, multi-brand restaurant operators - but until recently we didn't fully understand who our retail customer was.
Like many brands, we figured our customer had a particular income and family demographic, but beyond that, what traits did they have in common? What psychographic elements drove their behaviors? And how did distance from our store affect them? We very much needed to find quantitative answers to these important positioning questions and, not surprisingly, our current and prospective franchise partners wanted to know these answers as well!
To help us implement the customer model and site selection tool set that would allow us to 1) understand our markets better, and 2) drive specific action based on our findings, we selected the Buxton Company after a noteworthy amount of reconnaissance. Buxton is a pioneer in the use of customer data to develop successful growth and business strategies. Specifically, we enlisted Buxton for the following critical activities:
Mama Fu's invested in these customer and site selection capabilities because we believed them to be core to our system's ability to make the most informed decisions about marketing and store development activities. The investment is proving to be a tremendous value-add operationally for our brand and current franchise partners, as well as an important component in attracting qualified multi-unit franchise prospects who expect a sophisticated franchisor with a high level of long-term commitment.
Editor's Note: This month, Mama Fu's is starting a program (Laser Funatics) using the technology tools described above, targeting the acquisition of new, loyal customers. According to Murphy:
"Our hypothesis is that we can create a repeatable, data-driven, laser-targeted, loyal customer growth vehicle that is efficiently executable in close proximity to a single location, and with extremely high ROI.Â This, plus local store marketing and social media efforts, could be a very strong and inexpensive three-pronged approach that could redefine and/or eliminate the need for more costly traditional media (radio, print, TV)."
In future issues of this newsletter, Murphy will report on how it's playing out, measuring expectations against actual results.
Randy Murphy is president and CEO of Mama Fu's Asian House, based in Austin, Texas. In March 2008, as the brand's largest franchisee, he formed Murphy Adams Restaurant Group and acquired Mama Fu's from Raving Brands. Since then, he has re-engineered the brand, which currently has 13 units (9 company owned and 4 franchised) and 29 new store rights in various stages of development. Contact him at 512-949-3221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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