eggs up grill

Coronavirus and Franchising: Allison Schlanger and Alison Qualter Berna of songs for seeds and Ricky Richardson of Eggs Up Grill

March 30, 2020
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Nick Powills and Charles Internicola are joined by songs for seeds co-founders Allison Schlanger and Alison Qualter Berna and Eggs Up Grill CEO Ricky Richardson to learn how these two brands are tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.   

The coronavirus continues to have dire effects on businesses across the country, forcing many to come up with new strategies to survive. The franchising industry is no exception, and franchisors across segments are strategizing new ways to support their franchisees, keep customers satisfied, help local communities and come out stronger on the other side crisis.  

To that end, 1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills and Charles Internicola, founder and partner of the Internicola Law Firm, are covering the coronavirus and its impact on the franchising industry through a webinar series titled “Coronavirus and Franchising: Mindset + Strategy to Recover and Grow.”

In today’s morning webinar, Powills and Internicola spoke with songs for seeds co-founders Allison Schlanger and Alison Qualter Berna and Eggs Up Grill CEO Ricky Richardson to discuss how their brands have pivoted to better serve customers and franchisees. 

Here are some of the key insights from their discussion.

Mobile franchises have some financial advantages right now. 

Mobile franchise brands have fewer fixed costs than their brick-and-mortar peers. The most expensive bill many brands are worried about right now is rent, which does not apply to mobile brands. 

Brands are pivoting getting creative. 

Brands are pivoting quickly to help both customers and employees, and we’re seeing a lot of innovation as a result. Restaurant brands, for example, are getting creative and building revenue opportunities outside of their four walls by expanding takeout, delivery and catering capabilities. 

Brands are keeping the end in mind. 

Hiring and marketing practices might change as a result of closures and other COVID-19-related challenges. Brands that relied heavily on local marketing efforts, for example, might need to create a national marketing plan. 

Offering financial flexibility and easing royalty and marketing fees in order to help franchisees regain their footing can help maintain those valuable long-term relationships. Not every franchise owner has 30, 60 or 90 days of cash at hand. 

Good communication is increasingly important. 

Prospective franchisees will want to know how brands helped their franchisees during this time. Brands need to begin telling those stories and thinking about how they can spotlight their support when development picks up.

Franchises should also take this opportunity to provide new ways for customers to engage with their brand, which will ensure a steady stream of business upon reopening and even create a wider customer base. 

Coronavirus has forced brands to expedite long-term plans.  

Brands are being forced to act quickly on long-term plans. Restaurant brands that had plans to expand their delivery and takeout capabilities over the course of several months are now doing so in just a matter of days. 

Business models have been exposed. Brands must find a way to make their business models capable of reacting and adapting to negative circumstances in the future. 

Brands that hustle will stand out. 

Brands and franchise owners with an entrepreneurial mindset who are ready to own this situation and believe in tomorrow will be at a huge advantage. 

Brands that hustle and move quickly should also keep in mind that moving forward, existing franchise owners will expect the same speed the next time a problem arises. 

Franchisors need to show leadership skills. 

Franchisees, like anyone, will look to their leaders in a crisis. Brands must be prepared to respond and create strong bonds within their systems. They can take a cue from the local businesses around them, from restaurants to boutique exercise studios, and get inspired by how those enterprises have reacted to COVID-19. When you’re thinking about your business and not the health crisis, you can get excited about this new frontier you’re trying to navigate. 

A reminder to appreciate what you have. 

It’s easy to forget the value of life during these tough times. People now have the ability to take a breath and look around and be with their families and embrace their children. 

As more and more people are cooped up at home with their families, everyone can be especially thankful for the restaurants that are helping them get through this time. Everyone can also be thankful for the teachers who help educate children. 

This crisis will change perspectives. 

Franchise owners are often people who left the corporate world in search of a more meaningful job and lifestyle. The coronavirus outbreak and all of its related issues are making a lot of people rethink things like working from home. They might wonder whether sitting in an office all day is truly for them. 

This situation may cause a renewed appreciation for small businesses and the role they play in the United States. Ideally, people will have more respect for the role that small businesses play in the economy.

About Eggs Up Grill:

Eggs Up Grill is home to the whole neighborhood, serving smiles from sunup through lunch. The aromas of freshly brewed coffee, savory bacon and hand-cracked, farm-fresh eggs on the griddle, and warm, attentive team members will make you feel right at home. We are “neighbors serving neighbors” daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Recently ranked as the no. 1 breakfast franchise by Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500® for its outstanding performance in areas including unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power, Eggs Up Grill is experiencing record growth across the Southeast. Originally founded in Pawleys Island, S.C., by restaurateur Chris Skodras, Eggs Up Grill now has 47 locations and is headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C.  In 2018, private equity firm WJ Partners acquired Eggs Up Grill, building the team and priming the brand to rapidly grow in more communities across the U.S. with plans underway to reach the 100 restaurant mark by 2023. For more information, visit eggsupgrill.com.

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