CEO of Panarottis, Tyrone Herdman-Grant knows that keeping things the same doesn’t mean you’re consistent. Living up to your values does.
Why are franchises so popular with consumers? One of the primary reasons is that of consistency.
No matter where you are in the country, you can be assured that you will receive the same level of service and quality of product.
For some brands, like McDonald’s, you can be anywhere in the world and your burger will always look and taste the same and the consumer experience identical to back home. Consumers appreciate that.
But this isn’t to say that franchising and consistency is the be all and end all of finding a way into consumer’s hearts, because consumers change over time and therefore, so should a brand.
A case in point
Take Panarottis Pizza Pasta. This brand has been around for 22 years and is a firm family favourite for South African consumers. But the brand’s chief operating officer, Tyrone Herdman-Grant, realised that while the products the brand offered were popular, the brand had lost touch with its core value of being a family-friendly restaurant. So he set into motion a plan of action to change that.
Know what works
For Panarottis, the two known points of success were: 1) Offering good quality food and generous portions at affordable prices, and 2) It had a cosy atmosphere. “One of the pillars of our business is dough, and this is something we have perfected over the years.
Our original menu was designed by a chef, and has been refined and improved over the years,” says Herdman-Grant. And while they haven’t changed their core menu over the years, they have emphasised sourcing the best possible ingredients to give customers the most value out of their experience.
Know what doesn’t work
For Herdman-Grant though, one of the main sticking points in realising the brand’s core value of being family-friendly was the distinct lack of children’s play areas.
“We have the specials like ‘Kids Eat Free on Sundays’, but you can’t claim to be a family restaurant if you don’t cater for the kids,” he says. “We found that customers perceived us as a family restaurant, but were left feeling frustrated by the lack of amenities.”
Finding a solution for this meant weighing up the cost of added meterage to accommodate a play area, versus the increased number of feet through the door resulting from living up to expectations.
“The old way of thinking was that a play area would mean more square meters, which meant higher rent. Instead, a play area brings in more families, which means a higher turnover that justifies the higher rent.”
Managing a brand is about looking at the customers and then delivering on their needs.
What this means is that a large chunk of your attention and efforts should be placed on finding out what these needs are: What your business offers that works, and what your business offers that doesn’t – and then changing.
Before you panic though, this doesn’t mean a major over haul. You can begin with managing small, incremental changes in what is called ‘Incremental augmentation’. How does it work?
Think back to the story of the airline that removed one olive from each meal served on its flights. That small change was almost imperceptible to their consumers, but it amounted to millions of dollars in savings.
This isn’t to say that you should be taking away from your value offering in order to make a difference.
It’s that the accumulated effect of making small changes can help revitalise your brand, and keep your operation in tune with your core values, which in turn will solidify customer loyalty and bring more feet through the door.