3 Tips for Scaling Your Restaurant Franchise with Structured Systems


The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the restaurant industry and those changes are likely permanent. Even as indoor dining capacity restrictions increase in some states, many people still favor take-out and curbside pick-up options.

Going forward, restaurant franchises will need to provide franchisees with fully developed curbside, drive-thru, and delivery systems. The following tips will help you scale your restaurant franchise while supporting the ever-changing needs of the industry.

1. Use franchise management software


Your success depends on your franchisees’ success and ability to maintain a consistent brand. Restaurant franchise management software provides a firm foundation of support for maintaining consistent, repeatable, and on-brand business operations.

Using a POS system, like Truffle POS, will provide a consistent and reliable system for managing everything from kitchen orders to inventory. When your franchisees can manage these aspects of their business with consistency, they’ll have better visibility into how their business is doing.

Visibility generates the insight necessary to make data-driven business decisions to increase sales, which ultimately increases your sales as a corporate entity. If you’re ready for a better POS system, click here to learn about the Truffle POS restaurant franchise management software.

With a built-in online ordering system, inventory management, loyalty program, and kitchen order display system, franchisees will have everything they need to succeed. When your franchisees succeed, you succeed.

2. Develop a strong drive-thru system


If you weren’t considering offering drive-thru options at your restaurants, you’ll want to revisit that choice in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, people already preferred drive-thru options. Even after the pandemic is technically over, many people will still be afraid of contracting the virus and will want to limit in-person interactions. Drive-thru options will ease their fears.

3. Examples of effective drive-thru system elements:


Designated work positions. When everyone has a well-defined position, there’s no confusion regarding tasks. This increases efficiency and reduces costly mistakes. Every task should be defined and assigned to a position. For instance, even small tasks like folding silverware into napkins or pre-bagging extra napkins for pastries should be assigned to a position.

A method for timing transactions. Speed is priority. Customers expect speed from drive-thru services. However, achieving optimal transaction times will depend on the systems you create. Still, you need a way to measure transaction times so managers can see where there’s room for improvement and see where potential bottlenecks exist.

Consistency. Any system, recipe, or procedure you create needs to be specific and repeatable to create consistency. Drive-thru customers expect consistency from every location they visit. This applies to everything from food presentation and taste to the way staff interact with customers.

Reduce the number of menu items for your drive-thru service. If you’re going to offer drive-thru service, you need to provide quick service. That requires eliminating foods that take time to prepare, like toasted bagels with cream cheese. You cannot be successful trying to satisfy everyone. Franchises with limited menus tend to be the most successful.

In-N-Out Burger is the best example of success that comes from simplicity. Although In-N-Out Burger isn’t a franchise, the U.S.-based company has 286 restaurants in five states. The company does exceptionally well, pays employees higher wages than most fast food restaurants, staffs a considerable number of employees at all times, and maintains a phenomenally clean environment.

Most importantly, In-N-Out employees and customers are happy. Jobs are in high demand and customers drive long distances and wait in line for hours when a new location opens.

Despite the high demand, the company only offers 3 types of burgers, one size French fry, 3 milkshake flavors, four soda flavors, lemonade, iced tea, milk, and coffee. The simplicity of the menu is what has allowed In-N-Out Burger to achieve wild success by ensuring that all food is fresh, never frozen, the French fries are made from real potatoes, and the milkshakes are made from real ice cream.

Be sure to research all the reasons people get frustrated with drive-thru service and create a system that either eliminates these issues or mitigates the frustration. For example, customers don’t like being told to “park and wait” for their order.

Drive-thru is the future of food service

If it seems odd to provide drive-thru windows for your type of restaurant, think of it as an emerging model in the industry. While drive-thru was once reserved for fast food and coffee shops, it’s now being embraced by all food establishments. It wouldn’t be surprising to see fine dining drive-thru options in the near future.

 Develop a strong curbside pick-up system


Curbside pick-up is the next best thing in the food industry. Many restaurants have already started offering curbside service, and it’s quickly becoming a standard – even in retail. When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2024, retail curbside soared by 208%. When curbside is desired in retail, you know it’s going to be an absolute expectation for restaurants going forward.

 Examples of effective curbside system elements:

Order tracking software with separate operations for curbside. This eliminates confusion regarding where each order is supposed to be delivered. Dedicated staff for curbside pickup. Rather than shuffling around employees when a curbside order is needed, have a dedicated team ready to process and deliver orders at all times.

Pre-made to-go bags. Staff should always be preparing to-go bags with silverware and napkins to keep plenty of prepared bags on hand. That way, orders can be put into the bag and delivered quickly. As a base, have staff fill each bag with one set of silverware and when multiple dishes are ordered, staff should add extra before delivering the food.

 Scaling your restaurant franchise depends on your systems


You can sell anyone a franchise, but without structured and consistent systems, they won’t be successful. If your goal is to scale your franchise, focus on developing strong, repeatable, effective systems that you can provide to your franchisees. This will ensure consistency, reliability, and most importantly – happy customers.