Problem Solver - August 2013
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Find the Right Concession Solution

When you're considering revamping the food options you offer to guests, branded fast food can provide a good alternative to a proprietary program. You can do it yourself, but any revamp of your food offerings should include careful consideration of adding a branded quick-service concept. A branded concept offers your visitors, guests and even employees snack and meal options from recognized sources they know and trust. With so many concepts available, it is important that you determine exactly what will work best for you.

Q: What should we look for when considering a branded concept?

A: The brands on anyone's short list should be ones that are trusted and able to show a proven track record.

Do your homework. Make sure you speak with representatives from the brands you are considering, but also meet with the individuals who run their locations. Find out if the franchisees are happy with their decision to be part of that brand. Is there dissension among the ranks? Is the corporate office responsive to their needs, and how much say do franchisees have regarding operations and product mix? What types of support, training and communications systems are in place? Also, does one always deal with the head office, or can a local representative help when needed?

Give extra points to any brand that is able to successfully balance nutritious offerings with great tasting products. Your guests should not have to choose between healthy considerations and flavor—they should be able to have both.

Q: Why do consumers seem to flock to branded fast food?

A: Customers have become especially sensitive to the value they are getting for the dollar and expect to receive exceptional service as well. It should be relatively easy to tell which brands are excelling in those areas.

Nutrition is another aspect of branded fast food that is increasingly important to consumers. With obesity at alarming rates and outcries from consumer groups and politicians, a brand worth consideration should have a reputation for providing healthier options.

One big reason for bringing in branded fast food is that it is quite often considered to be comfort food by a large segment of the population, including those who are part of your prime demographic target audience.

Q: We understand that branded fast food is popular, but what are some of the business and operational advantages?

A: The appeal of a branded concept is that it comes with built-in name and product recognition, customer base, consumer loyalty, existing menus, recipes, operational systems, suppliers and advertising programs. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Many brands have quite reasonable startup costs and are very good at what they do. You can find options with minimal space and equipment requirements, allowing them to fit just about anywhere and be incorporated into your current foodservice operation. It can be run by your existing staff, or space can be leased out to an established local franchisee who will handle all the business details, essentially transforming you into a landlord.

There are many other reasons why branded fast food is a natural fit for park and recreational facilities—keeping ahead of the competition, uniqueness, value for your patrons, convenience, healthy options, increased traffic—plus the brand's advertising campaigns and positive reputation can be a beacon to your venue. But no matter which reason resonates with you, a branded concept can be an integral part of your guests' overall experience.


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