Historically, QSRs have performed strongly during times of economic uncertainty because, put simply, people have to eat. But Craveable Brands’ rapid response to the challenges of 2020, which have included fast-tracking technology and expanding customer service and Franchise Partner support, has put it in its strongest position yet for future growth.
CEO Karen Bozic said decisions taken during 2020 have helped deliver record sales, build customer and Franchise Partner confidence and shape strategies across the three brands – Red Rooster, Oporto and Chicken Treat. Those strategies are now being delivered ahead of schedule.
“Quick Service means we have that mentality where we can adapt very quickly,” Ms Bozic said. “2020 was significant for Craveable for a couple of reasons. We had new ownership and new leadership in myself and we were already looking at what was the next great chapter for our business. We started our strategy process back in February and then in March and April we had to literally down tools and sit back and say what are we going to do here to give ourselves options?” Ms Bozic said.
The step-change that led to accelerated growth across three brands
With 580 restaurants across Australia, Ms Bozic said Craveable sharpened its thinking about what was important from both a business and customer perspective.
“People needed to feel safe and confident when interacting with us, and it had to be convenient,” Ms Bozic said.
It meant prioritising digital and convenience leadership to support customers, Franchise Partners and their teams. Drive thru and delivery were given prominence, as well as investment in kiosk and self-ordering technology which are currently being trialled. I talk a lot about first-time customers, or first-time in a long-time customers, coming to our three brands. And that has been such a gift for us, particularly at a time when we’re transitioning and changing. It’s given us a real sense of momentum.”
Sales across all three brands have significantly grown during the pandemic, driving Franchise Partner confidence. This sales uplift supports the plan to open 108 new stores across the three brands by the end of FY23.
“We have set key criteria for what success looks like, from locating great sites that make sense for each brand, to finding customer centric business-minded Franchise Partners in that market, to providing support through consistent marketing campaigns and operational support.”
The profile, personality and plan for each brand is different but growth is a driving force across all three.
Red Rooster is in a process of a major brand transformation, with new store formats, branding, and incredible new menu items being rolled out across the brand’s 345 restaurants.
“What’s exciting is the level of growth we’re now getting as a result of the menu trials being conducted at Red Rooster,” Ms Bozic said. The trials suggest the changes are going to work in engaging previous and new customers, so we really feel we have permission to expand more broadly again with Red Rooster.”
Renewed Franchise Partner confidence already has Red Rooster up to six months ahead of schedule in its menu upgrades and store refurbishments across the country, with big plans to steamroll 2021.
A New South Wales favourite, Oporto is famous for originating in Bondi with its renowned flame-grilled chicken and Bondi Burger but is ready to make bigger waves in the QSR market nationally. Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales are set to see more Oporto stores as the Portuguese chicken specialist strengthens its presence across the Eastern seaboard.
Under the leadership of new Acting CEO Sam Bragg, Oporto is also broadening its menu offering to appeal to families, those seeking a more adventurous food experience, and those looking for healthier alternatives such as wraps and salads.
It is the brand’s coming of age and a reflection of the Sydneysiders who once lunched on Oporto as teens who are now parents seeking healthy and delicious dinner options for their families across the country.
In June Chicken Treat was recognised by the QSR industry as having implemented Australia’s Best Brand Transformation. In July and August, Chicken Treat registered its greatest growth in two decades and November marks 36 months of positive growth.
It’s a remarkable achievement for the smallest brand in the Craveable portfolio. With a keen focus on continued expansion in Western Australia, it is now looking at a breaking borders strategy to expand nationally, with a host of new menu offerings.
Future growth for the Craveable network
Mergers and acquisitions are also something Craveable is looking at for its overall growth strategy, and international expansion is also on the cards. Craveable, through Oporto, has a presence in New Zealand, Sri Lanka and soon, the United Arab Emirates, and while the focus remains on the domestic market now, expanding that overseas footprint for all three brands could be a key strategy within the next five years.
Supporting the safety of our people
Underpinning Craveable Brands’ ambitious growth plans is a value of care for the people involved in the business which includes a team of 180 people whose expertise helps support and nurture the 400 Franchise Partners and 12,500 strong front-line teams. Through continually evolving safety protocols and training, through to sharing resources to help with mental health, Craveable is committed to supporting the health and welfare of its people.
“Safety is the number one priority in this business, and I think 2020 has been the year where that’s never been more important. Safety has really guided every decision we’ve made” Ms Bozic said. “Nearly 13,000 people work across our business every day, and it is our responsibility that they go home safely every time they come to one of our stores. The same goes for our customers. Safety is a constant journey and the good thing about being in a business like ours, is a Franchise Partner is never doing that by themselves. We take the learnings across our franchise base every week to provide best practice information and support, training reminders and more.”
Mental health and wellness are also a safety priority. The company conducts regular internal wellness surveys; has a team of Mental Health First Aiders across the country; an annual Mental Fitness Month delivers a series of bespoke education, training and tools to help employees and Franchise Partners which is also supported by continued Wellness content delivered by health educators across the year.
“You can have a great strategy but unless you communicate with, help to prepare, and look after the people around you, that strategy won’t matter and it won’t succeed,” Ms Bozic said. People must always come first and we’re really excited to be in a phase of our business where we can take our Cravers, Franchise Partners and their teams, supply partners and customers on a journey of growth to ensure Red Rooster, Oporto and Chicken Treat remain among Australia’s favourite dining destinations as they have been for nearly 50 years.”
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