Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Good Brands Can Be Undermined

I'm not sure if it's a trend yet, but I haven noted the passing of a good many franchise businesses, predominantly restaurants, in recent years in my thriving and affluent metropolitan area.  I think they are examples for a teachable moment in brand erosion.

To be sure, restaurants live on the edge and can close in a heartbeat.  And to be sure, I've seen them come and go in my twenty-six years of residence here. It surprises me when a franchise goes belly-up in an up market.  These businesses typically bring to bear substantial name recognition and ready knowledge of their offerings.

Are there food habits changing?  I don't think that's the cause.  Similar genre restaurants do quite well (some of the victims are fast food chicken, pizza, and buffets).  People aren't necessarily eating healthier nor more cheaply, either.  The economy isn't so iffy that overall dollars are drying up.

What I have seen at a few of these places is execrable customer service.  And there is nothing so good at killing a business---even one with a major brand name.  One local franchise holder was so bad at hiring and training good employees that at least three of their restaurant stores went down.  In the next door metro, that franchise is thriving.

BOTTOM LINE:  No matter how strong your brand might get to be, it can be wrecked by poor customer service.  And where competition is strong, that effect could be even more intense.  Make sure yours is top-notch!  Remember that even a powerful franchise name can't overcome that!

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