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The Scary Future of Food Franchising

  Joseph Berger  |    Apr 2, 2019 1:14:37 PM  |    franchising,  |    food service industry

changes in food industry imminent


Food Franchises and Voice

Food Franchises are an engrained part of the American culture. McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, and Five Guys. Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa Johns. Chipotle, Moe's Southwest Grill, and Taco Bell. You name a type of food, and there's a series of franchises for it. They have been, for the longest time, solid investments for franchisees. The average McDonalds has an annual revenue of $2.6 million. However, marketing experts like Gary Vaynerchuck are predicting huge shifts in the world of food. 

Recently, Gary Vaynerchuck AKA Gary Vee, spoke at the International Franchise Association convention in Las Vegas, NV about what he sees as an end to food as we see it. The operating vehicle of this coming change is voice. Devices such as Alexa are dramatically and rapidly changing how consumers order. Furthermore, services such as Uber Eats are lowering the price of delivery and making a massive delivery force accessible to any food producer. It's now possible for someone to start a food company in a cheap kitchen somewhere, deliver Uber Eats, and thereby get their food to you with severely reduced overhead. With voice, consumers can order without even searching around, thereby necessitating the knowledge of your brand. It's difficult to impossible to enter the food industry and undercut the major fast food chains. The only chance new chains have is to produce a higher quality food and experience. To do so is expensive, hence the higher prices of the product. With the advent of outsourced delivery and voice, it's easier than ever to enter the market and competition is going to increase.


voice in business ordering

Uncertainty Ahead in Food

Craig Tractenburg of Fox Rothschild recently penned an article about this same topic. Craig hypothesized a possibility wherein voice devices such as Alexa may make the selection of an order of "fries and a burger" for you. Craig says, "it could be a yet-to-be-branded ”Amazon Burger” or “Ali Baba Burger.”" We don't know what we don't know. Just as likely, orders might be dominated by the brands that a consumer can remember. Despite these concerns, QSR franchise establishments continue to rise in number at a pretty consistent rate. Growth in retail food franchises and full service food establishments also continue to rise. It can only be guessed at what future awaits for this industry. Will growth continue or will growth stall out as technology changes the game?

Increase in Voice Search

Voice searches are now common. Over half of all age groups search using a voice command at least once a day. It's predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice search. Voice search traffic is already thirty-five times what it was in 2008 and seven times that it was in 2010. This trend shows no signs of stopping. If anything, there's a likelihood that voice searches will come to dominate all search.

Business Owners Should Watch Voice Search Trends

What's important to business owners is to make sure that their content is accessible through voice search. Simple questions should get appropriately simple answers. Look to segment and organize the information on your website so that algorithms might be able to find the answers that users are asking. 

Furthermore, franchises need to establish their brand recognition. The consumer of tomorrow might be going off of recollection alone. Start-ups beware.

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