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5 Ways to Grow From Emerging to Established Brand

Every brand had to start somewhere. 1851 connected with experts at Your Pie and Domino’s to learn their tips for evolving a franchise into an established brand.

Each iconic franchise brand that exists today can trace its roots back to a time when it was striving to make a name for itself in the marketplace. Making the transition from emerging to established brand requires hard work, determination and outstanding consumer experience.

What really defines an established brand? According to Matthew Walls, VP of U.S. Development at Domino’s, this status is dependent on the mission of the brand.

“Some brands want to be a single unit, while others want to have a national presence, and then there is everything in between,” he said. “I think the real measure of whether a brand has ‘emerged’ is an internal measurement against that mission. Some of the national players today only sought to be local or regional chains.”

1851 caught up with Walls and Drew French, founder and president of Your Pie, to learn how newer brands can work toward the evolution from emerging to established brands.

Continue to Innovate

“Once you plant your roots, you need to continue to think small as you innovate,” French said. “Listen to feedback from your customers and teams about their experiences. Brands have to be willing to change in order to meet their customers’ and team’s needs over time.”

French explained that while it is important to keep tabs on current events and trends across the industry as well as other brands, a company should never let these drive its own innovation.

“Changes need to make sense for your business model and be well thought out and tested before rolling them out system-wide,” he said.

Ensure Systems Are Easy to Replicate

In order for an emerging brand to find success through expansion, its operations systems must be easily and consistently replicated across all units or territories.

“Complex operational systems are difficult for new franchisees to manage, especially franchisees who are new to restaurants and food service,” explained Walls. “They must also have great store-level economics, providing their franchisees with a clear path to profitability.”

Support Growth Initiatives With a Strong Team

“Don’t grow if your systems and team aren’t in place to support that growth,” French said. “People are the most important part of growth, so make sure you have the right people in place to ensure that you are growing the right way.”

Focus on Franchisee Profitability

“Domino’s has been at this for 60 years, so there have been many inflection points along the way,” Walls said. “What we have seen recently is that some concepts have thwarted brands’ growth because they became more concerned with their own profitability and not that of the franchisee. If franchisees are profitable, they will be more engaged, which is good for their customers. The combination of happy customers and happy franchisees typically yields a happy franchisor. This is especially true in highly-franchised systems.”

Stay True to Your Roots

No matter what, a brand should remember where it started and never lose sight of it. Emerging brands should evaluate what factors create their unique, one-of-a-kind experience and maintain these elements as they grow.

“As growth happens, you have to remember what made you successful in the first place,” French said. “For Your Pie, that means creating a pizza that people crave coupled with an experience that they can’t get anywhere else.