Five Guys started serving its signature burgers and fries at its original restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986. When the company began franchising 17 years later, it recognized the need for franchisees to directly order marketing assets and other items to successfully open and operate their restaurants. This included:
- Staff uniforms, including shirts, hats, and aprons branded with the Five Guys logo.
- Interior signage, such as large branded menus, kitchen signs, and store signs.
- Exterior signage, such as branded A-frame signs with hours and specials.
- Kitchen equipment, including grills, fryers, and milkshake machines.
Because its franchisees had different levels of restaurant industry experience, Five Guys needed its ordering platform to not only serve as a one-stop shop, but also provide an intuitive experience.
Five Guys’ corporate office learned about Ontrack’s marketing asset management platform and adopted it in 2008.
As Five Guys began rapidly expanding its franchise business – today, there are over 1,600 locations in 21 countries – the company needed an effective, cost-efficient way of supporting franchisees without overburdening its district managers and corporate marketing team.
One of Five Guys’ biggest challenges was getting franchisees to order the required items in time to open their restaurants. Some owners waited until just before their restaurant’s opening date to order essential equipment. This delayed ordering, combined with the potential for erroneous and damaged deliveries, posed a risk to Five Guys’ corporate brand as well as the new restaurant’s reputation and revenue.
Another challenge was getting franchisees to use only corporate-approved vendors. Although Five Guys approved vendors in each franchisee’s area, some owners used their own unapproved vendors. These vendors often produced off-brand materials, creating further risk for the individual restaurant and the Five Guys corporate brand.
BY THE NUMBERS
“Ontrack puts everything the restaurants need right at owners’ fingertips, which has saved back-and-forth time for our franchisees and corporate teams. Ontrack is very user-friendly, and it was one of the first relationships we leveraged during COVID-19. It’s helped us tremendously, and it’s been a wonderful relationship over many years.”
– Andy Cook
Senior Brand Manager
Five Guys has integrated Ontrack into the opening and long-term operating phases of franchise ownership for North America, leveraging Ontrack’s marketing asset management and ordering functionalities.
Five Guys continually identifies marketing assets each franchisee needs for opening day, including interior and exterior signage. The brand marketing team provides approved files to Ontrack and designates any customizable components.
During the 90 days leading up to a restaurant’s opening, Five Guys provides franchisees with a scheduled to-do list, requiring them to order necessary items and customize them through Ontrack. A district manager oversees each franchisee’s progress and is available to answer questions. Senior brand manager Andy Cook, who also served as a district manager with Five Guys, reports that franchisees have found Ontrack easy to use and feel comfortable continuing to order required items after opening.
Another key to Five Guys’ approach is periodically disseminating information about Ontrack to franchisees. Five Guys shares user tips and other updates in its weekly internal newsletter.
Ontrack has been essential in helping Five Guys to:
- Reduce restaurant opening time. Ontrack’s scheduled to-do list helps limit delayed ordering, allowing franchisees to focus on hiring capable staff, running promotions, and completing other tasks essential to their success as business owners.
- Expand its corporate marketing efforts. By streamlining all marketing assets in one central location and reducing the likelihood of off-brand materials, corporate marketing team members have gained more time to focus on initiatives related to social media, customer service, analysis, and public relations as well as a secret shopper program.
- Keep restaurants running during COVID-19. When the pandemic began, Five Guys’ corporate marketing team quickly leveraged Ontrack to share files for exterior signage promoting curbside and carryout orders, which helped franchisees continue to earn revenue and pay their employees.
Ontrack’s relationship with Five Guys, and its thousands of franchisees, speaks to the platform’s versatility and value within the franchise restaurant space. Five Guys expects to continue streamlining its onboarding and operating processes through Ontrack as it seeks new franchise opportunities in select countries.
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