HOW TO FORMALIZE NEW REVENUE STREAMS TESTED DURING THE PANDEMIC
Franchisors share advice and insights about how they pivoted and innovated their brands to thrive during difficult times.
By Scott Taylor, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux; Ed Quinlan, Chem-Dry, Part of the BELFOR Franchise Group; Maureen Anders, AR Workshop; Susan Boresow, TITLE Boxing Club
While the pandemic posed significant challenges for the franchise industry, it also resulted in a surge of innovation as brands got creative debuting new products and services to successfully navigate COVID-19. Many of these pandemic pivots are proving to be fruitful and allowing franchisees to increase sales and even surpass pre-COVID numbers. Th e following offers insight and best practices from four brands on how to formalize new revenue streams tested during the pandemic as franchisors plan for a strong and successful year ahead.
INNOVATE WITHOUT BOUNDARIES — ACT FAST AND TOGETHER AS A TEAM
By Scott Taylor, president & COO, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux
COVID-19 forced FSRs to innovate at a pace never seen before. What would normally be a six-month process was done overnight. Walk-On’s adapted its business model by creating drive-thru service via Curbside ‘To-Geaux’ and third-party delivery while rolling out all-new family value meals, take & bake options, grocery to-geaux and more programs to successfully claw back at sales as dining rooms shuttered and re-opened at limited capacity.
The secret to formalizing these revenue streams? Act fast and together. Executing the new format and menu items meant rushing procedures that typically take much longer. Our brand’s culinary team moved at breakneck speed to create new items with ingredients kitchens already had on hand, while costing everything out, taking product shots, integrating technology and getting everything rolled out to customers in less than a week.
Not only did the pandemic bring forth a new wave of creative innovation, but it forced leaders to be aggressive in rolling out new products and services…”
Not only did the pandemic bring forth a new wave of creative innovation, but it forced leaders to be aggressive in rolling out new products and services — realizing the value of not only preparing for the future, but acting on it sooner. By quickly pivoting and rolling out these new revenue streams, Walk-On’s has since clawed back at sales with takeout remaining approximately two times what it was pre-COVID and with indoor capacity limits ranging from 50 to 75 percent.
STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING — ESTABLISH A CLEAR VISION ALIGNED WITH YOUR MISSION
By Ed Quinlan, president, Chem-Dry, Part of the BELFOR Franchise Group
Chem-Dry has an ongoing commitment to innovation as part of its mission to help keep homes and workplaces safe. Th e pandemic brought a heightened concern for cleanliness, and while the brand has off ered sanitizing as part of its cleaning process for 30 years, it was time to elevate its ability to kill germs to better suit the needs of today’s home and business owners.
A clear vision, regular communication and collaboration, quick, strategic decision-making and established disciplines allowed us to successfully launch these new services in record time…”
Chem-Dry first introduced a stand-alone sanitizing service that eliminates bacteria and viruses with a hospital grade sanitizer approved by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19). Th en, to give customers a longer-lasting solution, we leveraged proprietary, industry-leading technology to launch MicroPro ShieldTM, offering extended protection. With this ground-breaking service, we first disinfect hard surfaces and sanitize soft surfaces to eliminate bacteria and viruses. Then, we apply a protective antimicrobial coating that kills microbes (odor- and stain-causing bacteria and algae) on contact for up to 90 days (EPA registration # 87583-3).
How were we able to innovate so quickly and formalize these new service off erings? It started with ensuring our plans aligned with our mission of helping people live healthier, happier lives. Next, we established a cross-functional team representing all disciplines and held weekly meetings to track progress as we pilot tested both services to fully understand the real-world applications and support needed. A clear vision, regular communication and collaboration, quick, strategic decision-making and established disciplines allowed us to successfully launch these new services in record time, both of which have become meaningful revenue streams for owners.
FIND THE MISSING PIECE — GO ALL IN
By Maureen Anders, CEO, AR Workshop
At the height of the pandemic, non-essential businesses were forced to close and teams had to get creative — fast. We decided to create a product that could be purchased and shipped online as popularity for online buying and delivery was surging. And, with everyone itching to cure their boredom with some sort of activity, we landed on the concept of DIY To-Go Kits. Launch day for the kits resulted in the second highest day in sales volume, and since their debut, AR Workshop has sold over 45,000 kits, which now account for approximately 20 percent of total revenue. It became clear that this new off ering wouldn’t go away after the pandemic, so it was time to think of how we could build it out into an additional revenue stream to be leveraged by our franchise owners.
When conceptualizing new revenue streams for your business, begin by thinking in terms of what your business is missing.”
When conceptualizing new revenue streams for your business, begin by thinking in terms of what your business is missing. Perhaps there’s a pain point that can be solved to enhance the customer experience, or for businesses that are primarily brick and mortar, there’s plenty of opportunity to build out an e-commerce leg of your business. In seeing how wildly successful our DIY-To-Go Kits were, we also opted to build out surprise retail boxes that feature diff erent items — accessories, gifts, decor, DIY projects — each season. For the 2020 holiday season, we sold our Jingle Boxes and, in the fall, we sold Harvest Boxes. Th e key is to not stop once you fi nd a sliver of success, because you probably just scratched the surface. Rally your team around an idea and think of every way possible to make it a business of its own — that’s when you’ve successfully formalized a new revenue stream.
MEET YOUR MEMBERS, CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE
By Susan Boresow, president, TITLE Boxing Club
As a fitness concept, TITLE Boxing Clubs across the country dealt with smaller class sizes, or in some cases no classes allowed inside at all, throughout the pandemic. Franchisees immediately shifted to fulfi lling their full schedules on Zoom or Facebook video, conducting personal training on FaceTime, moving classes to rooftops, parks, parking lots and more. Members reacted with excited participation, resulting in socially distant classes often times accompanied with a waitlist. Th rough ongoing communication and back-end support, our franchisees now have more opportunities to permanently add these options and unique classes to membership packages. Teams have worked on marketing, POS system updates, scheduling tools and more to expand the ability to meet customers where they are and increase revenue.
Franchisees immediately shifted to fulfilling their full schedules on Zoom or Facebook video, conducting personal training on FaceTime, moving classes to rooftops, parks, parking lots and more.”
The corporate office has also worked to provide complimentary access to TITLE On Demand, our online workout platform, to members. We used social media, e-newsletters and franchisee communication to spread the word that members with any level of membership would have free access to the platform. Th ere are now more than 24,000 active TITLE On Demand users. Franchisees now have the ability to sell a TITLE On Demand Membership with any membership and retain the net profits.