Two Multi-Brand Restaurant Franchisees Dish on How They're Responding to Covid
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Two Multi-Brand Restaurant Franchisees Dish on How They're Responding to Covid

Two Multi-Brand Restaurant Franchisees Dish on How They're Responding to Covid

We asked two multi-brand food franchisees how Covid has affected their business – and how they have responded. (Note: Both will be profiled more fully in the upcoming Q3 issue of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine.)

LUIS IBARGUENGOYTIA, PRESIDENT OF CHAAC FOODS

  • No. of units: 118 Pizza Huts, 40 Bojangles, 8 airport locations with restaurants including Ling & Louie’s, CRU Wine Bar (2), Salt Lick BBQ, Bruegger’s Bagels, Twisted Root Burgers, Panda Express, Applebee’s
  • Years in franchising: 22
  • Years in current position: Chaac Foods was founded in 2019.

What are the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business?

Elimination of dine-in, the acceleration of the trend in deliveries, and the continuing increase in takeout business.

How have you responded?

We developed third-party delivery partnerships and enhanced takeout services such as curbside pickup.

What changes do you think will be permanent?

Dine-in dining will decrease, as will early morning and lunch dayparts because of the changes to office versus work-from-home schedules. For our Pizza Huts, home deliveries through third parties and online ordering where customers can pick up their order within minutes of their arrival.

What are you doing to take care of your employees?

During the pandemic we insisted all employees and restaurants follow the safety protocols and encouraged them to get tested for the virus and to self-quarantine if they had any possible exposure. Later, we gently encouraged our employees to get vaccinated. We still require face masks at all times and provide our employees with clean masks. 

What laws and regulations are affecting your business and how are you dealing with this?

The laws and regulations that arose under the Covid pandemic affected our business immediately and significantly, although they have diminished over time. The biggest challenges are the employment and labor laws that seem to be changing weekly at the federal, state, and even local levels. Minimum wages, paid time off, enhanced FMLA, constant changes in hiring practices, compliance standards, and so on. We use the resources of our outside experts and in-house professionals to stay abreast of this rapidly changing landscape.

How do changes in the economy affect the way you do business?

Some of the changes over the past year were temporary as the country tried to address the issues associated with the C-19 pandemic. The longer-term changes reflect accelerated industry trends such as ordering using phone apps, third-party delivery partnerships, curbside pickups, and a dynamic change in daypart dining because of the work-from-home movement.

PETER BRAUN, PRESIDENT OF ORCHARD GROUP

  • No. of units: 5 Taco Bell (1 under construction), 5 KFC (1 in development), 2 Jersey Mike’s (10 in development)
  • Age: 61
  • Years in franchising: 31
  • Years in current position: 31

What are the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business?

Our employees. Protecting our employees – along with our customers – is our biggest priority. Our employees have fear and fatigue.

How have you responded?

By taking care of our people and customers. Safety.

What changes do you think will be permanent?

Delivery and carryout.

Are you experiencing economic growth in your market?

Yes, in spite of Covid.

How do changes in the economy affect the way you do business?

Really the biggest impact are the ongoing changes to operating during Covid, and government regulations and taxes in our state.

How close are you to operations?

Broadly very much, and I leave brand details to brand leaders. I am at a point where my focus is on growing our leadership team. Still, I love being in stores and recognizing our people. Covid has made that tough.

Published: June 3rd, 2021

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