Regional Director of Operations for Kahala Brands™ explains new initiatives to help ice cream franchise owners thrive in the new normal
Restaurants’ delivery sales are projected to grow at more than three times the rate of on-premises revenue through 2023 – a compound annual rate of over 22 percent, according to a report from L.E.K. Consulting. More than half of delivery food consumers now order comes directly from the restaurant’s app or website. Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchise and its parent company, Kahala Brands™, are capitalizing on this market trend. The leadership team has introduced a new online and delivery platform to help benefit franchise owners and streamline access for Cold Stone customers. With a deep understanding of logistics, food quality, and communications, Kahala brands are foreseen to excel in this current digital age.
Tasked with implementing and expanding the online platform is Ben Blanchard, the Regional Director of Operations for Kahala Brands. His primary goal is to lead the implementation of programs that will grow the entire brands’ off-premise business. With a focus on driving sales, perfecting operations, and ultimately building and strengthening relationships to enhance overall business for Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchise.
Entities of Kahala like Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchise are seeing more growth as a result of a forward-thinking leadership team. After 32 years of success in the industry, Cold Stone is a national institution beloved for offering the Ultimate Ice Cream Experience®. As one of the pioneers of customization, these additions are enhancing customer satisfaction in nearly 1,000 locations around the world and offering additional freedoms to personalize the Cold Stone experience.
Below, Blanchard discusses the importance of constant innovation within Kahala Brands and Cold Stone Creamery franchises.
How does your role help Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchise owners?
Blanchard: As the primary contact between Kahala and third-party delivery (TPD) vendors, I work closely with each internal department and focus on how I can help develop and implement the best business practices for each location to operate successfully and drive profits. Additionally, I facilitate marketing partnerships between Kalaha’s internal marketing teams and TPD vendors.
I have two questions I always ask when working on a new project or concept:
- How does this impact a franchisee’s top-line sales?
- How does this impact a franchisee’s bottom-line profitability?
Keeping those two things in mind, and holding them as almost sacred, contributes to growth in a very organic and positive manner. Healthy stores and healthy brands produce positive new-store sales momentum and interest. In my current role, keeping those two questions in mind helps me shape the prioritization of initiatives and fixate on how those actions impact each brand or Kahala as a whole.
What is the new online ordering platform?
Blanchard: We have multiple online ordering projects currently in progress. One is our partnership with OLO, which not only helps our stores provide a direct native sales channel to our customers but also assists with the integration of third-party delivery. Implementing third-party delivery sales through this product is increasing efficiency in-store and provides customers with seamless delivery and service, regardless of where they choose to place their order. More importantly, they provide a much-needed option to our customers that align with their expectations both before and during the pandemic.
Multiple brands are currently utilizing these platforms and we’re constantly improving the roll-outs in motion. Each new brand we launch brings a host of new challenges and new opportunities for our team to excel and improve. This allows us to sufficiently prepare for the future of these continual efforts and enhance the construction and management as we add brands to each service. Brands on the new program have seen a significant increase in their online sales presence.
How are these delivery and online platforms helping ice cream franchise owners drive sales?
Blanchard: If you consider a sales channel feeding into a restaurant like a tributary flowing into a river, then you can liken it to online sales before the pandemic as a small downstream pour from a dam. During the pandemic, that dam broke and the flood of water was a massive flow of additional sales via online. As time goes on, our focus will be on maintaining a large percentage of those online sales that came from new customers but also capturing the return of more traditional sales. Succeeding at that can possibly drive long-term sales growth and build a new pedestal for the financial strength of each store.
Why is it important that Kahala continues to innovate on behalf of franchise owners?
Blanchard: In a landscape that seems to change daily, it is imperative to be nimble but cautious. Riding the industry wave, while also partnering with brands we trust to contribute to the long-term success of our franchisees, is a tricky balance – and one to be taken very seriously, in my opinion. We are constantly in communication with additional services that can add sales opportunities and value to our brands, both on a nationwide and regional basis. Developing those as we grow will only enhance the opportunities for franchisees and further deliver a great experience that fortifies a loyal customer base.
Ready to invest in the sweetest franchise opportunity?
Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchise can be affordable business opportunity with ongoing support and training from the industry experts at Kahala Brands. Find out more by requesting a copy of our free Franchise Information Report or exploring the research pages on our franchise website.