Brazilian food sector innovates by using well-known practices to face the pandemic
By virtue of the pandemic, the food industry – the most significant in the Brazilian franchising sector regarding the number of units – had to face a big challenge. Major Brazilian franchise chains such as Giraffas, Sushi Rão and Bob’s had to innovate by using some practices they already knew, but during the quarantine period they started exploring them more, and as a result the brands saw their sales increase despite the crisis.
The chains mentioned above are members of Franchising Brasil, a sector project for the internationalization of Brazilian franchise brands carried out by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Association of Franchising (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).
One of the solutions to attenuate losses was a system many franchise stores were very familiar with: the delivery services. Whether using delivery applications or their own service, brands had to develop effective plans quickly to fulfill the increasing amount of orders placed by customers from their homes.
Despite guidelines from health authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) state that there is no evidence that food can be a source or route for virus transmission, chains like Brazilian franchise brand Sushi Rão focused on emphasizing the hygiene rules on their employees training. The brand is a pioneer in the use of the delivery system, which became the company’s core business approximately 7 years ago.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sushi Rão has been keeping continuous communications with its franchisees and providing them with all the support they need to go through this crisis. As part of the brand’s initiative, the company intensified the training in safety and hygiene practices, always following the guidelines from WHO and Brazilian health authorities. According to Camila Lisbôa, franchising director of the brand, CEO Guilherme Lemos has been keeping a close communication with employees and franchisees during the quarantine period. “We have been following the results daily, and our actions aim at engaging the franchise brand and achieving results”, Camila explains and adds: “Also, the company has been developing social initiatives to fulfill its corporate citizenship responsibilities in this scenario of major social changes.”
The results of Sushi Rão’s actions are clear, especially abroad: the franchise unit in the city of Porto, in Portugal, had a 50% increase in sales by using the delivery system. Other stores of the chain also had increased sales, which keep growing during the economy reopening.
Bob’s is another renowned franchise in the food sector, and the delivery services accounted for 10% of the company’s earnings before the pandemic, but now it became the main source of sales of the brand. In an official note, the chain stated that it intensified the safe food handling practices in the restaurant in order to ensure the safety of employees and customers. The new system is not 100% operational yet, but a significant number of stores are exploring drive-thru, delivery and take-out services.
Sachets containing 70% alcohol hand sanitizer are now included in all orders. Employees are reminded to wash their hands thoroughly every 30 minutes, and the chain provides the teams with information and training on daily safety measures and procedures. Besides focusing on end consumers, Bob’s is making efforts to give information and support to its franchisors. A committee was created to answer questions about new initiatives, and remote meetings are held every day.
Giraffas, a franchise brand that currently has 400 units in Brazil, has been also betting on the take-out and delivery systems. Before the pandemic, 240 points of sale of the chain already had a delivery system in use. To assist its franchisees, Giraffas has been negotiating the rent with administrators of malls and shopping galleries, among others, and the company said in an interview to Brazilian website Meio & Mensagem that it intends to help such franchisees to get payment extensions or install payments in their negotiations with malls and suppliers.
Also, the chain created a communication channel to disclose daily important information, including guidelines and news from unions and from the Brazilian Ministries of the Economy and Health.
About Franchising Brasil
Franchising Brazil is a joint project of the Brazilian Franchising Association (ABF) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil), which aims to support the internationalization strategy of Brazilian franchise networks and their international commercial promotion. The initiative was designed to promote this recognized business model in the main international markets.