Stories from the Front Lines: How Covid-19 Is Affecting Real Estate Strategy at Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
We asked Randy Simon, CEO, and co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, how changes in the real estate market resulting from Covid-19 are affecting his company’s growth strategies.
Freddy’s was founded in 2002 with a family-friendly atmosphere and classic menu favorites that create a timeless dining experience for guests of all ages to enjoy. While we strive never to stray away from our differentiating qualities, we recognize the importance of adapting to keep up with consumer needs of today to best support our franchise partners.
In 2018 we introduced a smaller restaurant prototype with an updated kitchen design that maintains volume capacity and allows for greater flexibility in both existing buildings and new construction. Last year we focused on rolling out nontraditional locations and equipping the design with new technology that streamlines the back-of-house process to efficiently meet the demand of guests on the go. Having the ability to exist in unique spaces such as universities, stadiums, and airports, we’ve been able to offer new and existing franchise candidates an additional avenue to invest in the brand.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we planned to continue scaling our growth strategically in 2020 with all our buildout options including standalone, end cap, drive-thru, and nontraditional. But as the economy experiences these unprecedented times, we’re reevaluating our approach while staying optimistic. Our first responsibility throughout this time of uncertainty is to our team members, franchise partners, and our other stakeholders.
In that vein, we’ll continue to be conservative in searching out value in our real estate selection process. As we learned during the previous recession of 2008, many great sites were presented that months earlier had been unaffordable. Freddy’s is fortunate to be well-capitalized with outstanding franchise developers, and we’re confident that we’ll pick up our systemwide growth very quickly as markets begin to settle and some normalcy returns to our industry.
Like everyone in the restaurant and retail segment, now is not the prudent time to be traveling the country in search of deals. We will continue to look back in our deck of sites we have had to pass on because of price or other factors, and when the dust settles we’ll try to be prepared to participate in a strong economic recovery. We’re confident that our country will take the necessary steps to successfully navigate this crisis and we will be stronger and more diligent as a result.
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