‘Dark Kitchen’, Delivery, Instagram… In franchises too, restaurants are reinventing themselves

Article from the special edition of the L’Express franchise on newsstands since March 17

“Help from ‘at all costs’ allowed us to get through the crisis by taking the time to think,” appreciates Charles Doremus, General Manager of Au Bureau (165 restaurants, Bertrand Group). Philip Gein, Franchise Manager Del Arte (207 restaurants, Le Duff group, opposite reading), confirms: “Paradoxically, we have never advanced as much during the crisis, especially in the area of ​​digitalisation.

The trend toward healthy food has also served the brands browsing this place: “Organic beliefs have long been bolstered by this crisis,” notes Louis Frac, co-founder and director of the Bioburger brand (13 restaurants including 9 franchises).

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Looks like fast food has turned the page

What if restaurant brands emerge stronger from a crisis that forced them to close for nine months? The question may come as a surprise, as this sector of activity has been affected by the healthy context: its turnover fell 34% in 2020 and rebounded only 5% in 2021, which brings the two-year decline to almost 30%. However, it can be seen that if food served “at the table” continues to suffer (-8% in 2021), it seems that fast food has already turned the page (+15%).

One thing is for sure: Brands have shown an amazing ability to adapt. By developing, for example, “multi-channel”: “Before the crisis, we provided 40% of on-site catering, 30% of take-out sales and 30% for delivery, explains Louis Frac. During the holding period, it rose 70% delivery rate and 30% ready-made orders. Then we went back to the original mix.”

“Be present on social networks”

And while not always profitable, deliveries, clicks and collects made it possible to maintain engagement with clients and stabilize hard-to-recruit employees: “They represented a maximum of 10% of our turnover. Business as usual, without profitability. But we We wanted to ensure that they would keep part of our teams active and be present on social networks.

Multi-channel, the key to profitability

For Bioburger, multiple channels are key to profitability: “Because you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket and our business model is based on this balance. On-site sales allow us to make deliveries to home, whose commissions are very high,” explains Louis Frac , who wonders about the profitability dark kitchensThese are the concepts of restaurants without dining rooms that have spread with the health crisis. “We’ve seen brands like US Canteen or SuAndShi develop in this space, notes Emmanuelle Courtet, director of consulting firm Progressium. It’s a new way of doing business in the restaurant business, with less significant investments.” What will their future be after the pandemic? hard to say. But we can already bet on profound changes.

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A new way to consume

Adaptation “Consumer expectations have changed. For a large portion of the population, going to a restaurant no longer means spending an hour and a half at the table,” says Philippe Jean, Del Arte Franchise Manager, who launches the concept of a restaurant “capable of welcoming customers who come to dine with family.” , have a drink, eat pizza at the counter, work in front of a café and pastry…” Consumers are more diverse and more concerned with the environment and social obligations of the labels, according to Gira Conseil. Price remains the number one criterion for 64% of customers. But location doesn’t matter anymore: digital vision is just as important. Laurent Delafontaine, founder and director of consulting firm Ax Réseaux comments: “Every restaurant should have its ‘Instagrammable’ wall. Without being visible on social networks, there is no restaurant. SG


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