“We were able to take the beginning of the year, get some great people in here, and begin to gain the respect and trust and confidence of our franchisees, and reverse the trend of what the brand has been for the last couple of years,” Christina says. “And really get us in the back half of 2017 where domestic sales trends were positive, international continued to grow. It really was a great accomplishment and took a lot of hard work. So while I’ve caught my breath, we’re very determined to keep going.”
Here are some other accomplishments for Church’s in the past year:
- Improved communication and relationships with franchisees and employees
- Reduced costs for restaurant remodel packages
- Signed domestic multi-restaurant development agreements
- More favorable supply and distribution contracts
- Refinanced company debt to free up capital for investment
- Enhanced real-time monitoring and accountability for purchasing and supply chain initiatives
- Global sales increases and restaurant growth supported by clear short-term and sustainable long-term strategies
Church’s system includes 240 franchisees across the U.S., Canada, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific region. So Christina knows just how vital transparency in this part of the business is for the company.
He says the turning point came when the company brought key franchisees in for the 2018 planning process. “That transparency showed that we’re listening, showed that we care about the business, and like I said, it’s a work in progress. We have to earn that trust every day,” he says.
The reimaging program is a big part of this. Through conversations, Church’s was able to identify areas to save franchisees without hurting the ultimate goal—to drive more guests into restaurants. Different levels were tested in company stores. Christina says the company expects to reimage about a quarter of its domestic restaurants over the next 18 months.