QSR brands are facing a challenge when it comes to maintaining consistency in their menu, while still keeping things new and vibrant - and most importantly, profitable. Franchisors are tasked with coming up with ways to juggle both the research and development process and profitability. Pizzamarketplace.com connected with Toppers Pizza founder and president Scott Gittrich to hear more about how Toppers Pizza builds an authentic menu, while maintaining profitability.
"When we, at Toppers, venture into a new food category or start looking into specific items, we always consider whether it's worthy of our restaurant and brand promise," said Gittrich to Pizzamarketplace.com. "We ask, 'Will customers order this, but feel like the item is out of place? Or will they believe it's authentic to the brand we've worked hard to create?'"
In coming up with new menu items, the team first makes sure they are staying true to the brand they have worked so hard to create, and then shifts focus to profitability.
"Once we define that a particular item is worthy of the brand, we put focus on the value," said Gittrich. "Our supply chain team works together with the R&D team to create a product that works within our platform, but can also be sold at a price point that works for our loyal customers."
In reviewing the menu and profitability, Gittrich stresses that it's also important to look outside of your restaurant's particular sector.
"Throughout the research and development process, you definitely have to keep track of trends beyond your restaurant's walls, and even outside your segment," said Gittrich in his interview. "for instance, pasta is becoming increasingly common at QSR pizza concepts, but not so much for Mac 'n Cheese. So don't be afraid to get into other segments that are trending with consumers, but stay cognizant of the fact that you have to make the trend your own."
The final piece of advice that Gittrich shared with Pizzamarketplace.com is using both science and art to determine the perfect menu mix.
"At Toppers an analyst provides data on how certain items are selling, and then we look at what the customers are telling us through social media," said Gittrich. "You have to take all that data and apply it to see how it plays in your bigger brand picture."
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