Nathan’s is a legacy restaurant brand that has stood the test of time for over 100 years. The brand, which dubs itself “the flavor of New York” continues to evolve as it grows domestically and internationally. Nathan’s continues to serve its famous hot dogs and crinkle cut fries, and also offers burgers, cheesesteaks, and a variety of chicken sandwiches.
With nearly 400 Nathan’s restaurants and virtual kitchens all over the world—along with 80,000 points of distribution—managing consistency can be a massive challenge. Like many restaurant brands, Nathan’s has an entire team dedicated to supporting its franchisees and licensees. That team is also in charge of conducting site inspections with the goal of ensuring consistent procedures across locations. Previously, the brand had used paper checklists to document these visits.
“It was a time-consuming and imprecise process,” says Michael Moles, senior franchise business consultant with Nathan's Famous. “If you ever made a mistake on the paper checklist, you’d often have to rip it up and start over. You’ve documented something you can’t erase, and you don’t want to hand over something with a bunch of markups and lines through it. So not only did you waste money throwing that paper away, but you’ve wasted your time.”
In order to conduct better site visits, Nathan’s Famous recently made the switch to MeazureUp’s AuditApp, which provides the restaurant brand with a comprehensive way to ensure consistency and quality control across its network of restaurants. The user-friendly mobile app enables real-time data collection and analysis, streamlining the audit process.
“I love the fact that I don’t even need WiFi in order to conduct an audit,” Moles says. “I can connect with cellular and do it right from my tablet or phone. And where I used to have to get the franchisee to sign it and give them a copy of it, now the app dials up an email where the franchisee, vice president of ops, and me are all CC’d on it.”
One of the reasons MeazureUp has been a great solution for Nathan’s Famous in particular is because of the app’s flexibility. The brand created three separate checklists that an auditor can use based on how much time they have, or what restaurant format they are evaluating. For example, there’s a full menu checklist. This would be used when Moles or somebody else on his team has time and is evaluating a restaurant that uses the full menu.
There is also a “snapshot” checklist that Moles might use if he has a limited time window. For example, he was recently coming through an airport and he saw a Nathan’s Famous storefront. It wasn’t in his territory, but he was able to log in to MeazureUp to see that it hadn’t been audited in a few months. He sent a text to his colleague who oversees the location to ask if he should do a quick audit, and his colleague gave him the go-ahead.
A third and final checklist is the “limited menu” version that the brand uses to evaluate kiosks and stands. “Each type of audit serves its own purpose,” Moles says. “But what they all have in common is that the franchisee and our team get everything in real time. So if something is up—or if you want to highlight something great that’s happening—they’ll know immediately.”
Not all legacy brands have converted to digitizing checklists, but Nathan’s Famous is no ordinary brand. The iconic franchise has been able to leverage MeazureUp to uphold its brand standards to properly showcase what has always made the brand special.
“This is something we started doing over a year ago,” Moles says. “And it’s been really helpful. It just makes all of our restaurants so much stronger. One thing I’d add, too, is that MeazureUp’s team has been very good with follow ups. They’ve helped us create checklists and put everything we want in there to make it really ours.”
For more on MeazureUp, visit the brand’s website.