Chicken Salad Chick's "Quick Chick Drop-Offs" Wins the Service Introduction Innovation Award
For the third consecutive year, Franchise Update Media held a competition to recognize the top innovators in franchising. The Franchise Innovation Awards have become a premier industry event, with this year’s entries impressive once again. Covid changed how business was conducted in 2020, with savvy franchises unveiling new ways of doing things that provided resources and revenue for operators and safe delivery of products and services for customers.
Winners were selected by a panel of seven judges who evaluated the objectives and results of more than 100 entrants who competed in four categories: Marketing & Branding, Products & Services, Operations, and Human Resources.
This year’s winner of the Most Innovative Service Introduction Award was Chicken Salad Chick – not a service brand! Here is their winning entry.
When the pandemic forced restaurant companies to innovate quickly, Chicken Salad Chick (CSC) and its franchisees saw an opportunity to engage with guests in ways that kept everyone safe, while continuing to serve local communities and generating supplemental revenue to help make up revenue lost because of dining room closures.
At the pandemic’s onset, CSC quickly pivoted to an entirely off-premise dining model that included takeout, drive-thru, curbside pickup, and third-party delivery at select locations. Restaurants without drive-thrus developed a pop-up drive-thru with a tent and iPad in their parking lots. A few franchisees took the model a step further with a grassroots program that eventually became a systemwide initiative: “Quick Chick Drop-Offs.” They began by announcing on their local Facebook pages that they would be doing drop-offs at a convenient local meeting site. Stores collected preorders and guests convened at the site, where team members delivered the orders directly to their vehicles. Corporate took the idea and scaled it across the system.
Since implementing the program systemwide, CSC has delivered thousands of orders of chicken salad across the locations that opted in. At its height, CSC and its franchisees were delivering bulk orders an average of 5x/week, averaging 100 orders per delivery. The program helped boost the company’s social engagement and local community marketing.
Pre-pandemic, CSC had more than 500,000 members in its Craving Credits mobile loyalty app. Over the past year, more than 770,000 members generated more than $20 million in system sales through the app. CSC and its guests donated more than 20,000 meals to more than 160 local communities through its new Donate a Meal program.
These initiatives allowed the brand to see a quicker rebound compared with its industry counterparts. In July 2020, sales were down about 14% compared with the QSR industry average of –41% at the time. Systemwide sales were up 17.1% YOY, and the brand opened 37 new restaurants in 2020, a 22% YOY increase in unit count.
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