As we’ve written about previously, multi-brand franchising is on the rise. Experts estimate more than half of all franchise units in the U.S. are owned by either multi-unit or multi-brand franchisees. Franchisors are strategically developing new complementary brands and acquiring brands in adjacent industries to build brand family platform companies that diversify and synergize their franchise businesses.
In addition, franchise organizations are leaning in to co-branding opportunities with dual-brand locations, where two or more franchises set up shop beside one another or within a shared space. Franchising.com says, “For many franchise brands, co-branding can be a perfect strategy. Combine complementary or compatible brands or concepts, a single location (with shared space, equipment, and cross-trained employees), and you can create a win-win situation.”
Jeff Crivello, CEO of BBQ Holdings, confirmed this trend when he told Restaurant Dive that “Parent companies have always looked for synergies at the corporate level by marrying multiple brands, and it now makes sense to do the same at the restaurant level.”
Focus Brands®, the parent company of Auntie Anne's®, Carvel®, Cinnabon®, Jamba®, McAlister's Deli®, Moe's Southwest Grill®, and Schlotzsky's®, recently suggested, “Dual branding is the future of QSR,” offering strong appeal to franchisees and consumers alike. The franchisor confirms, “One consistent benefit has been convenience. Having these brands together in one location makes them far more accessible than they are individually. This convenience also creates opportunity for franchisees, as co-branding leads to an expansive menu that drives enhanced unit-level volume.”
Dual-Brand Locations & LTOs: Opportunities & Challenges
At the heart of the multi/dual-brand location model is the ability to effectively cross-sell. Limited time offers (LTOs) are a valuable tool in this effort.
For franchise marketers, LTO marketing fulfillment can be complicated and costly. Each franchise location has a unique set of promotional requirements and opportunities which adds complexity to the creation and delivery of locally relevant marketing assets.
For dual-brand locations, the complexity is multiplied. Marketers must prepare and distribute marketing kits for a variety of franchisee configurations, from single-brand locations to dual-brand locations where each brand has the same owner, or dual-brand locations where each brand has a separate owner. It’s important for marketers to find a way to simplify the rollout of LTOs to their frontline operations to encourage franchisee participation and drive campaign success.
As Focus Brands told QSR, “It’s not a matter of just simply saying you’ve got two brands, you’re going to put them in one space. It takes a great deal of effort on the part of the teams to ensure that you’re setting your franchisees up for success when you bring two brands together in the same space.”
The Advantages of Right-Sizing LTO Marketing Kits
To simplify the rollout of an LTO, some franchise marketers might be tempted to send an identical LTO marketing kit to every franchise location. But a one-size-fits-all approach to LTOs can be wasteful and costly. It requires each franchisee to cherry-pick items from the kit that they can actually use at their location and discard the rest. After all, what is a fast casual restaurant located inside a shopping mall going to do with a set of lawn signs?
Some franchise marketers attempt to reduce waste by creating marketing kits in several sizes (e.g., small, medium, large) to better align with individual location requirements. This approach can still result in some locations receiving materials they can’t use, and other locations not receiving sufficient quantities or types of materials to support their location needs.
There is a way to right-size your LTOs – even for dual-brand locations – that reduces the waste and the complexity of rolling out marketing kits across your distributed organization. The right technology, tools and processes are essential for capitalizing on the improved efficiency the dual-brand location model promises.
A marketing resource management system or portal helps brand family marketers connect with local franchisees, empowers local sales teams and streamlines marketing operations. A portal enables a marketer to engage local franchisees in one central location, with easy-to-access cross-selling LTO campaigns and resources that can be tailored to their specific location characteristics and ownership.
LTOs and the Role of Location Profile Management
A marketing portal that is equipped with location profile management enables a franchise brand to create rich location profiles that can drive more efficient and effective local marketing operations. Campaign kits and LTO materials can be automatically ordered on behalf of franchisees with customization variables and order quantities driven by data stored in each franchisee’s location profile – such as contact information, hours of operation, product pricing and structural details, like number of windows and tables, for each franchise location. This improves speed-to-market and reduces waste and cost.
Corporate marketing typically determines the setup of automatic ordering features for their franchisees. The system generates an order confirmation and tracking number for each franchisee detailing the contents of their auto-ordered LTO kit, which is right-sized based on their location profile. This enables franchisees to track the marketing kit fulfillment process and prepare for launching the LTO in their area.
Location profile management is particularly helpful when executing LTOs that require temporary updates to promote special menu items and pricing.
And because location profiles also include the number of brands at the location and ownership of each brand, location profile management helps simplify LTO marketing fulfillment for dual-brand franchises. For example, in a dual-brand location with two franchise owners, one owner may prefer to have LTO kits shipped to the shared location, while the other owner may prefer kits be shipped to one of their other franchise locations. Location profiles manage these preferences and ensure materials are shipped where franchisees want and need them.
In addition to increased efficiency and reduced complexity of LTOs, location profile management offers the potential for powerful co-branded cross-promotions of the dual-brand location that emphasize the enhanced value the brand pairing brings to local customers.
Increasing efficiencies and containing costs are fundamental priorities for any business. These efforts are more important than ever in today’s economy. One way for franchise marketers to address these objectives while also increasing the effectiveness of limited time offers is by simplifying the management of LTO marketing fulfillment, particularly for multi/dual-brand locations. Whether you support a dozen franchisees, hundreds of franchisees, multi-brand franchisees or dual-brand locations, a marketing portal system equipped with location profile management can help you simplify your marketing fulfillment, better support and engage your franchisees, and increase the success of your LTO marketing campaigns.
Case Study: Read how Wayback Burgers uses location profile management to efficiently deliver the right quantities and types of marketing materials for its successful LTO programs.