The Quaker Steak & Lube® Franchising Blog

3 Benefits of a Flexible Restaurant Franchise

Flexibility is an undervalued advantage in franchising. Just ask the people who once owned thousands of Blockbusters across the United States.

Franchising’s greatest strength is the uniformity of branding, operations and service. But for many franchise owners, an overly rigid system can pose obstacles, whether that’s adjusting to local market demands or establishing themselves as part of the community.

While a franchise model helps guide business owners and provides built-in brand equity, a flexible restaurant concept enables franchisees to customize their location to fit the local community by:

  1. Adapting décor to local culture,
  2. Getting creative with event marketing,
  3. Improving operations to meet market needs.

Ultimately, a flexible restaurant franchise gives owners access to proven systems and extensive support, while also being able to add local and personal flare to their restaurant to truly make it their own.

Customized Décor to Match the Local Community

One of the challenges restaurant franchise operators face when introducing a concept to the local market is making it unique enough to stand out compared to other dining establishments, while at the same time making the location feel like an ingrained part of the community.

Again, one of the great advantages of being a franchisee of a well-known and established brand is consumers will immediately recognize it. That said, according to a survey from Cox Communications, the top reason why people patronize local businesses is to support the local community and its business owners.

A restaurant franchise’s décor and site design is an integral part of making the business feel like it is part of the local culture. For example, Quaker Steak & Lube’s trade dress is steeped in motorsports tradition, an aspect of American culture that spans the country. However, each market has its own preferences when it comes to the types of décor and aesthetic the franchise owner should consider. For example, guests of a Quaker Steak & Lube in Indianapolis would likely have an affinity to décor featuring Indy car racing, while a Daytona, Florida, location’s guests would relate better to stock car décor. Other communities may have dedicated motorcycle enthusiasts, leading franchisees to feature classic or custom bike décor.

It’s these small adjustments that help restaurant franchise owners cement an emotional connection with guests and make the location a destination. Ultimately, franchisees can leverage the attraction local consumers have for motorsports to earn their loyalty and repeat business by pairing the fuel-injected ambiance with a tantalizing menu that ranges from award-winning wings and seasonally inspired salads to perfectly prepared steaks.

Creativity with Event Marketing Drives Engagement

To compete locally, restaurant owners need to market their business to fit the wants and needs of the community. Alongside interior and exterior décor that aligns with the market’s preference for motorsports, franchise owners can create synergy and gain a competitive advantage in their local markets through event marketing.

Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant franchise owners frequently use events to engage customers through Car Cruise-Ins and Bike Nites. Collectible cars are gaining cultural cachet, leading to a growth in shows, according to Rupert Banner, auctioneer and collector car specialist for Bonhams auction house, in an article for Investment News. They provide the perfect opportunity for franchisees to earn the attention and loyalty of dedicated motor heads and motorsports aficionados.

The biker and car collector communities are, at their roots, social groups made up of individuals who share enthusiasm for these unique aspects of American culture. Quaker Steak & Lube, with garage-themed restaurant design, plays perfectly to these audiences. Restaurant footprints often feature ample space for parking, and operators typically provide even greater incentive for attendees by offering live music or entertainment, games, prizes and discounts.

Ultimately, it’s up to the franchise owner to organize the motorsport-themed show according to their own market demand. Customizing these events to the local community puts operators in a better position to earn guest engagement and loyalty, while increasing guest count and revenues.

Adjust Operations to Meet Market Demand

Among the top reasons consumers utilize the products and services of local businesses are convenience and customer experience. Increasingly, these go hand in hand.

Local owners know their market better than anyone, particularly if they have a restaurant background. They can often recognize consumer habits and anticipate unique demand even during site selection and build-out phases.

Restaurant franchise owners with locations in suburban or urban markets can capitalize on, and cater to, on-the-go guests by offering to-go orders through a dedicated pick-up window. This allows families to order food ahead of time and pick it up without leaving their vehicles, creating a seamless experience.

For Quaker Steak & Lube owners, this builds an added revenue stream on top of the unique experience that guests expect from the brand, such as family and kids’ events, live bands, local fundraisers and other events that draw in members of the community.

Meanwhile, franchisees can invest in a food truck to take Quaker Steak & Lube’s one-of-a-kind customer experience and diverse, mouth-watering menu on the road. This helps to expose the brand to customers at off-site events, such as street fairs, community special occasions, private special events and anywhere else restaurant franchise owners wish to get the Quaker Steak & Lube name in front of consumers.

Concerns over lack of autonomy and independence are common pain points for many prospective franchisees. But, the right restaurant franchise opportunity allows owners the freedom within their framework, offering the best of both worlds.

Learn more about investing in a flexible franchise concept in the restaurant industry by checking out the training and support Quaker Steak & Lube offers every owner.