Posted: 1:03 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013
By Inc. staff
Freshii founder Matthew Corrin describes why it's necessary to innovate as he scales his food chain, and how he does it.
00:11 Matthew Corrin: Idea generation within our business, we're a franchise organization, company-owned and franchise stores. And we loved the concept of the Filet-O-Fish, and the Big Mac, and the $5 Footlong, all being created by franchisees. And so, we want our franchise partners to be very collaborative in innovation, whether it's menu or beyond. We've had some very clear examples. Quinoa [00:35] ____ to our menu, right? Didn't exist before a franchisee came to us and said, "I'd like to test this", and he did, and now it's across to the entire system. And I can go through a few things that are like that example.
00:48 Corrin: So, we really look to our franchise partners who are sophisticated, well-connected, creative, entrepreneurial in their own regard, to collaborate together and to add significant value to the system at large. You want to, you wanna innovate. For any bricks and mortar business, you can't just scale. And franchising allows for you to really have rapid scale. We'll double our store count in 2013 and we would never have been able to do that through company stores-only, only growth. But if you just scale and don't innovate at the same time, I think you, you sort of... You're in trouble, because there's too much interesting competition going on around us. And if you just innovate and don't scale, then you don't get the benefit from the economies of scale, which especially as a food business where we get to purchase our produce for better pricing and get a consolidation in an economy of scale for buying really, buying power, which lowers costs and improves our margins.
01:45 Corrin: And so, we really have to think about both. But the other thing that's very important is franchising is all about consistency. And so, we need our franchise locations, all of our locations, staying very consistent, whether it's Chicago, or Dubai, or Vienna, or Stockholm. And so, we have a very systematic approach to how we test and how we introduce new products to our menu. And it's not... We don't allow just rolling it out and finding about it when we send our secret shoppers in or when I tour to a store. But we're also very receptive to the fact that actually we brought on some really great entrepreneurial creative partners, and so we... I'm very interested in having a phone call on my cell on a Saturday to talk about something that they saw, that they think is interesting, and they'd love to test. And we're all about supporting that idea.