Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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5 8 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 How To Sell Remodeling Initiatives to Franchisees F ive words restaurant franchisees often dread: "We want you to remodel." For an operator struggling with tight margins, or a successful res- taurateur who is happy with the status quo, these words ring an ominous bell. But we know remodels — whether complete overhauls or smaller face- lifts — are often essential to keeping a restaurant relevant and profitable. When husband-and-wife team Mary Jane and Bob Riva bought Pizza Factory in 2012, they decided to rebrand the concept, redesign the stores and update the logo. "For years, no one had asked the franchisees to do anything, so we wanted to be very sensitive," says Mary Jane Riva, CEO of the Oakhurst, Calif.- based chain. "We wanted to be able to handle roadblocks, so we had various options priced out, and we incorporated inexpensive ways to get the new brand so it wouldn't hurt franchisees' pocket- books too much." To first get the word out, Riva unveiled the new look at Pizza Factory's annual convention in 2015, at which time she also gave away some decor items as incentives. The renovations began in 2016. Then, the Rivas spent time visiting as many of the chain's 100-plus locations as possible. The most important thing they asked of franchisees was to change the signage and interior paint so each store had the same branding scheme. They requested that older stores change their floors, tables and chairs. To encourage franchisees to tackle costlier items, such as the floors, she has suggested they do it in sections or at night so they don't have to close. "We go in and give them ideas, and we try to do it on a real personal level," she says. "It was a big deal to make sure we went to every store so we could calm their fears and encour- age and show them what they could do. For many of them, it's not about the money but the vision. That helps reassure them." They also discussed a staggered plan with franchisees, explaining what they could do immediately and what could wait. "We know once they get started on the process, they'll get ex- cited," Riva says. BY AMANDA BALTAZAR, Contributing Editor Pizza Factory's new look was unveiled in 2015. Photo courtesy of Pizza Factory

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