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Corner Bakery Believes in Technology to Drive Franchise Growth

For franchise owners and operators, technology has earned a place alongside the more traditional criteria used to determine where they will invest time, resources and money.  The quality of the product, strength of the senior leadership team and forecasted profitability are no longer enough.  Savvy franchisees now expect a franchisor to not only have a robust technology platform in place, but also to stay current with new innovations available in the marketplace, and leverage technology as a business enabler.  Neither lagging behind the competition, nor complacency in technology is acceptable in the minds of today’s successful franchise owners.

One of the most foundational technological platforms for a fast casual restaurant concept is the back office system that governs labor management, food management and administrative functions for the unit-level management team. Franchise owners who are looking to expand their portfolios in the fast casual restaurant space are initially drawn to innovative brands that stay ahead of the curve and are working to improve the franchise’s overall economic model. Brands are looking at mobile and online platforms that allow them to communicate with guests and reduce transactional friction to conduct business.

Using technology to engage customers
Introducing new technology can be a way to attract new customers for an improved bottom line. Consumers are increasingly using mobile technology to manage their personal lives, whether that’s dining out, going to the movies or attending a sporting event. Restaurants with outdated equipment and platforms are now rethinking how they engage with consumers. As a result, the direction franchise operators use to attract today’s mobile consumer is significantly changing.

Platforms such as Relevant Mobile (, Fishbowl ( and OLO ( are aimed at increasing online and mobile ordering, engagement with customers and email capturing. Franchise concepts that are beginning to utilize these platforms report faster through put, increased speed-of-service and even an increase in sales. These types of advancements can lead to an improved customer experience with less friction that will keep customers coming back.  

Invest in system-wide tech advancements
Heading into 2013, Corner Bakery Cafe ( was in desperate need of a fully-integrated system that would significantly reduce labor and food costs and drive profitability for both company-owned cafes and the rapidly expanding franchise community.

To meet those demands, Corner Bakery Cafe adopted e*Restaurant and e*SmartClock technologies by Altametrics ( to improve labor, food, human resources and administrative costs across the chain. After an exhaustive search for an end-to-end fully integrated solution, which we partnered with our operators and franchise community to install e*Restaurant. Corner Bakery CafÉ saw initial success after a three-month pilot and beta test in corporate and franchise locations. The ability to adopt forward-thinking technology is fostering explosive franchise growth which we expect will enable the company to more than double its national footprint by 2017 and grow to be a billion dollar brand.

Franchise owners and operators have a wide-ranging list of potential concepts with whom they might consider partnering.  To be truly competitive in that landscape, it is incumbent for franchisors to ensure that they’re meeting all the needs and wants of franchisees. A meticulously designed and expertly implemented technology platform is very high on that list of demands.

What was your first job?  Dishwasher at McDonald’s

Who inspires you?  Abraham Lincoln; He stuck to his convictions to lead.

What are your hobbies?  Golf, biking, travel and water sports.

What technologies excite you?   I am currently fascinated by mobile payment and the ability to turn any smartphone or tablet into a virtual POS.

Sage Advice:  Take calculated risks to improve your business and stay true to your convictions long enough to collect your winnings.

What is one other job that you would like to try?   I am loving what I am doing, so I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

What is one goal that you would like to achieve in your life?    To get a pilot’s license

What three people would you invite to lunch?   Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Colin Powell

Favorite vacation spot?   Pawley’s Island, SC.

Gary Price  joined Corner Bakery Cafe as president in October 2012. Under Gary’s leadership, Corner Bakery Cafe will continue its fast-paced growth track, with plans to double its footprint in the U.S. over the next four years and grow to be a billion dollar brand through a combination of franchised and company-owned cafes.

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