Good kitchen protocols are one of the factors which will help you successfully replicate your restaurant brand, says Xinyu Zhang, CEO of Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice USA
At the heart of every successful restaurant franchise, whether it’s full service, fast casual or somewhere in between, is the ability to replicate the concept so that customers get a consistent product no matter the location they’re visiting. This means everything from the ambiance, service and décor should be easy to reproduce quickly and efficiently in diverse markets.
But nothing needs to be more consistent than the food. Fans of your restaurant should be able to visit any location and taste their favorite dish in an environment that’s familiar and comforting. New guests should be able to try food that evokes positive feelings for future visits, making lifelong fans of your brand.
So how can you ensure that you create a kitchen routine that delivers a consistent product and experience for customers every time?
Live out your mission
Make sure that your brand’s mission statement is up to date and reflects your values and service policy. This is the basis by which you’ll determine how to best communicate your brand goals with employees. Getting employees to buy into your mission is an important step to creating a cohesive brand experience for guests who visit multiple locations.
Our founder, Xiao Lu Yang, built our brand on his childhood memories of cooking with his grandmother. He wanted to replicate the warmth and comfort of those memories for children and families across the world. As the CEO of our U.S. operations, I am devoted to replicating that mission at Yang’s locations in the United States. Our franchisees and our employees buy into this concept, and it helps infuse their daily work with care. With a strong core mission, both our employees and our guests are able to connect emotionally to our brand, no matter if they’re visiting a Yang’s restaurant in China or in Tustin, California.
Create relationships with trustworthy vendors
One of the most challenging parts of delivering a consistent product and experience is establishing relationships with trustworthy vendors. Depending on the size of your market, you may have nearly unlimited options, or alternatively very few options at all – either way, it’s vital to find the vendor that suits your needs, even if it means using trial-and-error to decide who to choose in the long run. At times it may feel like a delicate balance to find a vendor that works for you – you have to decide if you want the cheapest option, or someone who delivers on weekends, or someone who will always answer the phone when you call.
For some, it’s not a big problem to pay a little more for the product if the service is good and the vendor is communicative. For others, it’s the bottom line that matters most and it’s okay to wait a little longer if it means you’re getting the lowest price.
There’s rarely a vendor who meets and exceeds all of your needs and expectations, but you can decide which features of a vendor partnership are non-negotiable and most important to you and stick with it.
That’s one of the reasons individuals go into franchising – so they can take advantage of these previously established vendor relationships. We’ve found that the best way to show the value of our franchise opportunity is by showcasing the strong vendor partnerships we offer to franchisees. A dedication to establishing quality vendors shows you’re willing to go the extra mile for your franchisees, not only to make them happy but also to create relationships that will deliver a consistent product that guests will recognize and enjoy.
Simplify your supply chain
Once you’ve established vendor partners with whom you’re comfortable, see where you can consolidate resources. Some restaurants find it efficient to utilize a restaurant supply company instead of employing – and managing - an individual supplier for meat, bread, vegetables, paper goods, condiments, etc. This enhances communication between the two parties, allowing restaurants to share their existing inventory and customer demand.
Because of our one-item menu, our supply chain management is much less complicated than other restaurant franchises. We’re able to predict exactly how much of each fresh ingredient we need to have in stock so we always have fresh, never-frozen chicken, farm-fresh vegetables and rice on hand to make our signature braised chicken rice dish. Whatever the format of your menu offerings, finding ways to simplify your supply chain maximize your ability to provide a consistent product across the board.
Enhance the equipment acquisition process
When it comes to acquiring the equipment needed to run a restaurant, there are endless options. Our mentality is to keep it simple – so many new pieces of restaurant equipment are one-use, needlessly complicated or expensive to fix or replace. Because we want to make our model easy for our franchisees to replicate in a budget-friendly and time-sensitive manner, we suggest developing a sourcing plan for each piece of equipment once you establish what is needed to make the restaurant run.
Make sure your sourcing plan includes online resources to evaluate several different places where equipment can be found for a fair price – that way, if something is on back order, you have another place to go. Create a guide that lists manufacturers, distributors, dealers and specs for each piece of equipment along with a timeline and process for acquiring, setting up and training on each piece of equipment.
Replicating the ambiance of a restaurant across multiple franchise locations can be a labor-intensive process on the front end, but the ultimate payoff is always worth the effort. When guests return again and again for a familiar sense of the comfort and familiarity that accompanies your consistent product, your bottom line will benefit alongside your reputation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Xinyu Zhang, CEO of Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice USA Group, has helped to grow the brand for 3 years with international expansion. He successfully brought the first United States location to Tustin, California in September of 2017 and plans to continue to grow the concept across the country. Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice serves just their one item menu with three spice levels and has 6,000 locations globally.
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