Strategies for a More Profitable Operation

January 2022

Strategies for a More Profitable Operation

Developing successful strategies for your business is incredibly important. In these challenging times, operations need to be inventive, thinking of new ways to stay current and improve their bottom line. Here are three of QSR’s top 45 fast-food chains who doing just that.


Panera Pushes Forward

Change within the restaurant industry is happening at a rapid pace. Leading the charge is Panera Bread, a brand that has evolved well beyond just serving up delicious bread bowls and bagels. In April 2020, during the height of the pandemic, the company started a grocery store service offering dairy, freshly baked breads, and produce. The objective was to help address the growing desire to limit the number of trips outside of the home by providing consumers access to fresh, wholesome ingredients alongside their favorite Panera items. Orders could be delivered to a customer's doorstep via contactless delivery or picked up at a participating café. In addition, Panera started labeling climate-friendly food and launched Panera Curbside as well as an unlimited coffee subscription service, all as ways to address changing attitudes and behaviors. Average sales per unit of $2.5 million suggest Panera continues to move things in the right direction.


Starbucks Embraces Speed

When it comes to mobile ordering, drive-thru and curbside options, Starbucks is ahead of the game. This is thanks to their adeptness in responding to changing consumer behavior both before and during COVID-19. The company announced the closing of 600 corporate locations in Q2 2020, which ultimately was meant to clear “the way for the development of new, more efficient retail store formats that cater to the customers’ increasing desire for convenience.” While doing so caused an immediate and significant decline in sales, it proved to be a successful strategy, with 75% of Starbucks’ U.S. sales volume coming from drive-thru and mobile orders by Q4 2020. By taking advantage of mobile ordering technology and embracing drive-thru, the company was able to cut costs and improve speed, which is a goal for many operations. Even for operators who don’t have massive budgets, streamlining with a top-notch mobile ordering experience can be surprisingly simple. Free services from companies like Square and GloriaFood are available to help operators cater to their guests in this way.


McAllister’s Deli Delivers

Loyalty programs did quite well for McAllister’s Deli this past year. By revamping their loyalty program, this 350-unit sandwich chain focused on mobile app users, prioritizing customers’ ability to earn points on purchases toward “crave-worthy” rewards. This helped to ensure that customers had access to favorite items and exclusive offers from local locations. And with an average sales per unit of $1.418 million, McAllister’s is certainly making the case that an engaging loyalty program could work wonders for any operation.


COVID-19 has handed the restaurant industry its greatest challenges to date, but many with means have managed to emerge from a position of strength. Consider looking at how some of these top chains have and continue to evolve in an effort to spark your own creativity as you continue to navigate the tumultuous waters and strive to deliver what diners are looking for.


Have you made a change that improved your bottom line this past year? Share your thoughts on our Facebook or LinkedIn page. Or visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.



Find Your Broker

Find Your Broker