last updated 10/09/2019

Tasty - Latest trends in food franchising

last updated 10/09/2019

Food and franchising go together like fish and chips, but the market’s changing faster than ever. Here is an extract from our latest cover story in which Simon Lord looks at some of the latest trends that you should consider if you’re thinking of buying a franchise

Earlier this year, Hell put a plant-based topping on its newly-launched Burger Pizza without telling customers. It caused a massive stir – but not because people didn’t like it. In fact, very few people even noticed, with just one person querying what the product was from the 3,000 pizzas sold, but once news got out there were claims of misrepresentation and concerns that the company could have exposed unknowing customers to allergens such as legumes.

While many dismissed the controversy as a typical edgy stunt from Hell, the company itself claimed, ‘We care about the planet and want to start a conversation and raise awareness about sustainable food choices.’ It also pointed out that it had already sold over 35,000 vegan pizzas in the first half of this year. This one promotion highlighted a number of trends in the food and beverage sector that franchise buyers need to be aware of.

Where’s the beef?

This classic line from a 1980s Wendy’s advert is increasingly being answered with ‘Nowhere’. BurgerFuel is just one of several New Zealand franchises to have trialled alternative proteins, with the latest being Chook Free non-chicken burgers. Australian chain Grill’d took all meat products off its menu for a day earlier this year to draw attention to its meat-free offerings, while the all-vegetable Lord of the Fries chain has a relatively high profile if only a few outlets in New Zealand. With the number of vegetarians and vegans growing fast, it’s an area all food franchises need to be keeping an eye on.

‘The truth is that one vegan in a group makes the decision where that whole group eats,’ Sara Pantaleo, the CEO of La Porchetta, told the National Franchise Conference in Rotorua. ‘We introduced a vegan offer last December and while it’s under 1 percent of our food sales, the social media response has been immense.’

Looks are everything

Ah yes, social media. With home delivery having become more common across all food types now (see below), there’s increasing pressure on restaurants to make dining out a special occasion, not just ‘food as fuel’. This impacts upon everything from ambience and music to service and presentation, with the food having to be Instagrammable and the whole experience shareable on social media. It also requires a greater level of engagement with customers, making staff more important than ever. All these factors should work in favour of franchises, where having an owner/operator on the spot can make all the difference; however, as Donna Ferrall explains...


This article is published in full in our most recent issue of Franchise New Zealand magazine. Request a free print copy or download our free digital magazine to read the entire article

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