Following a year of global shutdowns and businesses having to close their doors, restaurant brands everywhere are taking the steps necessary to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar experienced rapid growth even through 2020, with a 20% increase in unit growth. The brand, which originated in Canada and is continuing to expand throughout U.S. and Mexico, is on track to double in size by 2023.
Throughout the past few years, Boston’s has been using creative tactics to accelerate growth, including opening dual-branded concepts, where they have positioned their restaurant and sports bar concept in hotels across the nation.
They have even been able to revive some of their former locations under new ownership. For instance, in just a few weeks, they will be opening a “not-so-new” location in Fort Worth. Just six years ago, Boston’s closed their doors in this exact building.
Boston’s forward-thinking approach has allowed both the brand as a whole and individual franchisees to get ahead of the game, establish solid brand recognition in the states, and become a fan favorite in the U.S., just as they have been in Canada for so many years. So how did they do it, and how did advancements in technology help them along the way?
- Location Scouting - Choosing a location is one of the easiest ways to “make or break” a business, so having a strong foundation and understanding is crucial. Lucky for the Boston’s team, they have a secret technological weapon: Sitewise Pro. Sitewise is a software that allows them to take a deeper look at the locations they are considering and the demographics in those areas. It provides them with data like market statistics, average household income, traffic count, the daytime and nighttime population, and insights on the regional competition.
- Recruiting and hiring - In the midst of a nationwide labor shortage, restaurant brands everywhere are struggling to find the right talent. Luckily, Boston’s took a proactive approach by partnering with talentReef, an HR and Talent Management System that integrates with their website to provide increased efficiency for their recruiting and hiring process. It integrates job boards, like Indeed and LinkedIn, in order to help Boston’s owners consolidate their efforts, manage and track applicants, and communicate with them all in one place. It is also convenient for applicants, who can simply scan a QR code or text to apply to be taken to the application screen.
- Operations - Perhaps where technology makes the biggest difference is in the operations sector. Just like they partnered with talentReef, Boston’s also has a partnership with Shift4 Payments. This allows for wireless credit card pin pads for tableside payments, and they are currently working on enabling QR Code payments. Together, these options will only add to the efficiency of the dining experience. Additionally, Boston’s Point-of-Sale system boasts cloud-based sales and labor reporting, which is available through the mobile app for operational efficiency, reference, and analysis.
- The “To-Go” Trend - If there is one trend hospitality experts agree on, it’s that off-premise occasions are here to stay. Boston’s has taken several steps to stay ahead of this trend. Their online ordering platform is integrated with their loyalty program, and it allows customers to access all these features through their mobile app. It is also integrated with DoorDash Drive to offer delivery services directly to guests. The Boston’s mobile app even allows guests to order for curbside pickup.
- Marketing - Finally, with social media leading the way for marketing platforms in 2021, tech plays an integral role in getting the word out for new and existing locations. The Boston’s team remains active on their social accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and their overall marketing strategy revolves heavily around technology. Innovative marketing tactics have greatly attributed to their growth so far, and with a team that is always looking to try “the next big thing,” Boston’s shows no signs of slowing down.
As Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar has demonstrated, keeping up with technological trends is key to remaining competitive, especially in the midst of a recovering hospitality industry. It is safe to say that they are in an excellent position to continue expansion in a post-pandemic world, and the latest technology will continue to play a major role in this growth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan joined Boston’s Pizza US in 2018 as Vice President of Franchise Sales and Development. He brings unparalleled expertise to franchise systems including organic lead generation, redefining sales and discovery processes, and finalizing partnerships. Ryan has helped grow small concepts into segment leaders through individual unit sales and structuring successful area developer strategies.
He has previously worked with Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, McAllister’s Deli, and SpeedPro Imaging. Before joining the franchise sales community in 2010, he had grown a small, niche entertainment brand and co-launched a technology company growing the subscriber base to 50K+.
Ryan is driven by the belief that integrity-based relationship building and transparency is the only way to grow a strong business. Since at Boston’s, Ryan has successfully restructured existing development agreements, sold two corporate restaurants to partner with new multi-unit developers, and brought in several new multi-unit partnerships. The development pipeline that he helped create will double the size of Boston’s in the U.S. by 2024.