So you're lining yourself up to become the next McDonalds? More power to you! Fast food is a staple of Australian culture, and whether it's burgers, pizza or anything else in between, there's always a strong demand for a quick and easy bite. But the question we find most newcomers to the fast food game have is a pretty basic one - where do I begin?
Over the last decade of helping new fast food franchises thrive, we've learned a thing or two about what it takes to be successful. Here are the top 5 bits of advice we can offer.
Find what makes your food different
It may seem obvious, but it's important. If you look at any successful fast food business, there's always one thing in common - there's something that makes their food different from what everyone else is doing: at least at the beginning. McDonald's brought speed to the table. Subway created a perception of 'fresh' and 'healthy' fast food, even if that isn't necessarily true. Hungry Jacks have the 'flame grilled' advantage. Look at what makes your food different, and highlight that.
Know your equipment, know what you need
Running a successful fast food restaurant means having the right tools for the job - especially in the start up phase. Over spend on equipment that's unnecessary and your overheads are going to hold you back, under spend on equipment that is necessary and your product, service or both will suffer. We know some people will read this as a plug since this is a service we're well known for, but whether you believe us or not it's true - the best thing you can do is ask an expert in commercial kitchen outfitting for advice.
Anybody who knows the history of McDonald's knows that they're a real estate business just as much (if not more so) as they are a fast food business. Foot traffic is the lifeblood of fast food - especially in the earliest phases of the business. While people may encourage their friends to travel specifically for your food (social media is making this more and more prominent), nine times out of ten that word of mouth starts spreading because somebody has popped in for a bite to eat on impulse while walking past.
Hire the right people
Your staff are the face of your business. Hire the right people, and treat them right. When it comes to hiring staff we see the same trends time and time again - new fast food restaurants will hire teenagers, underpay them, overwork them, and then wonder why their level of service suffers as a result. Consider putting some time into finding people with the right attitude, pay them slightly better than what they would get elsewhere, and do your best to help them enjoy working for you. Your customers will thank you - with their continued business!
Make sure you're on top of regulations
Sorry to end on such a dull one, but this is just as important as everything else above. Australia is one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to health, safety and employee regulations, and no matter how good you are at all of the points above, it won't matter one bit if you're shut down by the government or hit with business-killing fines and forced to close.
Health and safety regulations vary from state to state across Australia, so check in with your local government website and read up on what's required. Also take the time to make sure you know your employees' entitlements and minimum-wage requirements.
It's a chore, absolutely, but it's one you can't neglect.