The brand prepared for this strategy during the pandemic. Coulter says that during the slower periods, Biscuit Belly focused on getting its operations and systems online for growth. It also hired a consulting group out of Miami to help make its store footprint more efficient moving forward, including the construction of a new drive-thru model.
The founder notes that many quick-service and fast-casual brands are opening mobile order only locations, but he adds that Biscuit Belly won’t go to that extreme because the brand still feels the atmosphere needs to be enjoyed in-person.
“We're going to experiment with a very limited menu board and drive-thru concept that could be used for ordering right then and there and picking it up in the window and also ordering ahead on an app that we've just created, or online,” Coulter says. “And it could be just used as essentially a pickup window. So we're trying to do a hybrid model there. And once we get back to normal, if you will, hopefully by middle to end of next year, we'll be able to get back to a sales volume where we were pre-COVID as well have that new revenue source.”
With an average ticket price of $24 and stores that close at 3 p.m., the business duo is more than convinced of the concept’s attractiveness.
But as Schnatter phrases it, he’s seen the “good, bad, and ugly” of franchising. He says “selling a franchise” isn’t quite accurate—it’s more like a mutual contract. And like any other relationship, when you pick the right people who are dedicated to making the right things happen, sales and growth will surely follow.
The key will be monitoring growth one store at a time.
“We need to make sure we get the first 10 or 20 right,” Schnatter says. “My experience has been, throughout the foodservice world, is if you have a great concept with great unit economics, and people are making money, then the people who you want will come find us. The first 10 or 15 or 20 are the hard ones, but once you prove out the model, the foodservice ecosystem is pretty well connected. And people that are in another concept start talking to each other and say, ‘Hey, you know what? We've gotten into Biscuit Belly, things are really going well, we're making money, we really like the concept, like the products, like the people. That's when things really get exciting and the phone will start ringing.”