Fighting Big Chain Backlash

April 14, 2017

Restaurant Franchises

In recent years, there’s been a growing consumer backlash against “chain restaurants”. People often mention restaurants like Pizza Hut or TGI Friday’s in a derogatory way, implying that the food and experience are sanitized, corporate, and bland. In short, going to them is often seen as a sign of poor taste. Worst yet, many big chains continue to lag behind in terms of dietary trends. Many big chains still fail to offer many appealing options for the gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan among us.

But what if you’re thinking of opening a restaurant and you WANT the support that goes along with franchise ownership. For a new restaurateur, that help can be invaluable – but will you be opening yourself up to problems as big chains seem to be increasingly unpopular?

The answer is probably somewhere in between the mega chains and the independent route. There are numerous smaller chains that consumers don’t necessarily identify with in the same way. Whether you want a pizzeria franchise, smoothie franchise, or something wildly different like a falafel franchise, you have lots of options.

In some cases, you’ll find that smaller franchises are clustered around a specific area. If you’re NOT in that area, it gives you the chance to be something brand new and different for your local market. If you ARE in that area, you can cash in on the local name recognition and play up the “small local chain” aspect of things in your marketing to customers. People tend to take pride in their local specialties.

Another perk to smaller franchises is that they often have much better support. In bigger companies, the multi-unit investors tend to take the spotlight and get the best bargaining power. With a smaller chain, you may be able to negotiate, especially if you’d be their first location in a new market. It never hurts to talk to several options to see what they can do for you. Remember, this is a two-way partnership.

If you do decide to go with a larger brand, consider visiting some of the stores in your area and also doing some web searches to get a sense of the brand image and social chatter. It might make you think twice before investing your life savings.

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