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Food Service Industry Updates Franchising Industry Updates

How Wayback Burgers Drove Sales During the Pandemic

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Not many businesses can say that they enjoyed strong growth during 2020, but Wayback Burgers can. The 30-year-old burger franchise says that its systemwide sales for last year were up 4.9%, with four restaurants earning more than $1 million in sales last year and another enjoying a nearly 70% increase in system-wide sales over 2019.

In addition, the company has awarded 17 new franchises since August 2020 and opened four restaurants last year. 2021 also looks to be strong as well, with 17 restaurants on the way to $1 million in sales and the forecast of 24 new franchises to be awarded this year.

One of the reasons for this success, Wayback says, is its ability to adapt to and maximize changing trends in fast-casual dining. For example, the company ramped up its online ordering and delivery services to make its food easily and safely accessible to clients during the pandemic.

“We saw older locations trending upward, and that is due to our great franchisees and their teams who are offering amazing products, excellent guest service, smooth operations, and getting out there in their communities lending a hand during this crisis.”

— Patrick Conlin, president

In addition, when customers began missing the guest experience, it adapted by updating the design of its restaurants with a new color scheme, graphic design elements, exterior signage, and updated fixtures and ceiling tiles. This paid off well for the company, as its remodeled locations enjoyed 39% or better sales numbers in the backend of 2020 over 2019, while its East Windsor, Conn., restaurant experienced a 68.7% increase in sales, during the pandemic.

Franchisees also get a smaller retail footprint with Wayback that only spans 1,600 to 1,800 square feet, and are asked to contribute a lower initial investment than competitors. According to the company, this is particularly appealing to new owners who are looking to invest during a pandemic.

Wayback also has launched Let’s Get Growing!, a creative program to help offset the cost for existing restaurant renovations. When a current owner signs on to build another restaurant, Wayback uses 100% of the reduced franchise fee to contribute to remodeling the owner’s existing restaurants. With this in place, the company says, more restaurants experience the benefits of the updated design sooner.

“The investments and the updates absolutely contribute to a great guest experience and increased sales; the numbers bear that out,” President Patrick Conlin said. “But even in the worst of the pandemic, we saw older locations trending upward, and that is due to our great franchisees and their teams who are offering amazing products, excellent guest service, smooth operations, and getting out there in their communities lending a hand during this crisis. We owe a big thank you to our franchisees, employees, and especially our loyal guests who have proved that even during a devastating global pandemic, success is possible if you stay true to your core principles and keep offering the Wayback feel people crave.”

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