Nothing Artificial Here!
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Nothing Artificial Here!

Nothing Artificial Here!

The technical innovations coming down the pike and the amazing array of things they can do are mind-boggling on so many levels. The darling of the moment here in 2023 is artificial intelligence. According to some observers, AI will do for intellectual work what the Industrial Revolution did for manufacturing and labor. Time, of course, will tell. (Full disclosure: I considered giving AI a shot at writing this column for me. And if I did, could you tell?)

In the past, franchising had the reputation as a sector slow to adopt new technologies, while others forged ahead. Clearly, especially on the consumer side, franchising has shed that rap and today is at the forefront of deploying the latest technologies to streamline their operations, manage their labor force, and connect with customers through omnichannel marketing.

The increased capabilities of technology have become an essential part of modern business, no matter what industry you’re in. Increasing efficiencies and enhancing productivity (not to mention profitability) are critical to competing in a time when the slightest margins can make a big difference, especially at scale.

Using the newest technologies to enhance the post-Covid customer experience is a constant challenge as both the target audience and the economy continue to evolve in unpredictable ways. We know today’s customers demand more from companies and that they want it as fast as possible.

That’s why we’re seeing brands like Teriyaki Madness testing the results of adding the navigation app Waze to their own app. Using Waze, the company can know exactly where DoorDash drivers are and have food hot and ready for pickup when drivers arrive at the restaurant.

Smashburger is testing a virtual drive-thru at a corporate-owned store in Houston. After customers order through the brand’s app (which is using a new digital ordering system), they can track their order from start to finish. The result is a dramatically reduced wait time. And really, are we far from having drones zipping out orders and dropping them at customers’ feet within minutes? (Or are we already there?)

Elsewhere in this issue, we take an in-depth look at the rise of multi-brand franchisors, a trend that’s become increasingly popular. The reasoning behind is solid, both for brands and for franchisees. On the franchisor side, housing several brands under a single corporate umbrella can make them easier to manage and quicker to scale. On the franchisee side, the availability of complementary brands from their trusted franchisor can round out the portfolios of expansion-minded multi-unit operators.

Developments occurring right now in “frantech” will continue to accelerate in the coming years, resulting in pervasive changes to the franchise business model—especially in operations and labor. These changes and more will take hold and build new efficiencies and opportunities in franchising, a sector embracing change to the point of leading the way in many areas, especially consumer marketing.

Of course, you’ll find all of the other great content you’ve come to expect from us here in this issue. I promise you it was all written AI-free and by real people (even this Editor’s Note.)

 

Published: July 10th, 2023

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Franchise Update Magazine: Issue 2, 2023
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