(FSR Magazine) – Huddle House is taking on 2021 with growth opportunities and innovation at the helm. Known as a community icon for its quality home-style food, the brand is taking proactive steps that will leave potential franchisees hungry to join the team.
The Huddle House Franchise Development team announced today a new franchising incentive program to attract entrepreneurs and a fresh restaurant prototype optimized for off-premise dining – helping customers enjoy meals in new ways.
“While 2020 threw some curve balls, our team huddled up and adapted swiftly allowing the brand to continue expanding its reach even during these uncertain times,” said Michael Abt, Huddle House CEO. “As the financial landscape has changed, we want our new incentive program to make franchise ownership more accessible to those eager to own a Huddle House. After trial and success, we felt that adapting the restaurant prototype will help franchisees get the most out of their location as they can serve customers through off-premise channels as well. We are looking to 2021 with optimism and feel that our ground-work in 2020 will continue to benefit new and existing franchisees.”
The Franchise Incentive Program runs through February 28, 2021 and gives owners the following opportunity:
- $0 Franchisee Fee if location opens on time
- No royalty fees applied for the first year of operation, if location opens on time
- New pick-up window prototype ready to build to optimize off-premise dining
- Helps reduce investment costs
- Offers new guest experience that is quick and convenient
While the pandemic impacted the full-service restaurant field due to dining room closures, the Huddle House team went to work. Off-premise dining became the name of the game. Before COVID-19, only about 30 out of the approximately 340 restaurants had integrated online ordering into their operations. By the end of 2020, 92 percent of open locations adapted and are now in-partnership with third-party delivery companies and offer curbside, delivery and pick-up options for customers. This slight alteration lead to an off-premise sales increase of over 69 percent pre-COVID vs. post-COVID. Today, off-premise sales makes up more than 20 percent of sales for Huddle House, a trend which will continue into 2021.
“After seeing franchisees like Robert Wiggins in Georgia have success at his locations by creating pick-up windows and drawing new lanes for curbside pick-up in his parking lot, we knew we had to accelerate our off-premise capabilities,” says Jessica Ray, Huddle House’s Director of Franchise Marketing. “As our team is in the hunt for new energized leads to start the new year strong, shifting the focus to carryout and delivery dining has helped make Huddle House a solid investment for entrepreneurs.”
Additionally, the brand now utilizes new sanitary sealed packaging and a few locations have even integrated Kitchen Display Systems into existing restaurants quickening the pace of production. Looking to the future, tablets for servers and even QR codes on tables that lead customers to the menu digitally are likely to take effect.
Looking ahead to 2021, the development team will be focusing their growth efforts in several of their targeted emerging markets with the goal of signing 20 franchise agreements, expanding the full-service diner’s reach nationally. After a year of adaptation, the brand is primed for extensive growth and on track to continue forging ahead into the New Year.
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