Banjo’s Bakery Cafe CEO: We will see further reduced footprints, more collaboration as businesses diversify

She joins our upcoming event’s annual Leaders Panel.

For Banjo’s Bakery Cafe CEO and managing director Jessica Saxby, businesses’ diversification to online channels has led to the shrinking of dining areas and reduced footprints, a trend she sees continuing due to greater expectations for convenience.

Saxby joins the QSR Media Sandhurst Conference & Awards - happening virtually on October 18, 2021 - as one of our esteemed panelists for our Leaders Panel, our annual discussion regarding the hottest topics surrounding the industry today.

Having been CEO and Managing Director of Banjo’s Bakery Café’s for the past 10 years, Saxby has consolidated the business and prepared it for substantial growth with plans for the franchise to expand to 80 stores.

More of Saxby’s insights in our brief Q&A below:

QSR Media: What’s your assessment of how the QSR/fast casual restaurant industry handled the challenges dealt by COVID-19?
Saxby: I think our industry reacted in an agile and proactive way to the challenges presented by COVID.

It took everyone by surprise, testing the responsiveness of brands and their ability to deal with the risks and opportunities posed by these COVID related challenges. 

The best of us turned them into positives and accepted them as part of the continual evolution of their brand.

CUSTOMER SAFETY was paramount with government regulations rolled out across communities and business operations being impacted at every level.

DIGITAL RESPONSIVENESS was the key to success

  • Technology was embraced by customers and businesses alike.
  • Contactless service, click and collect and online shopping/delivery
  • Diversifying sales channels has become the norm to ensure business success

From your perspective, what are some key lessons/insights/trends that brands have learned/further understood/need to know as we approach a post-pandemic industry?

Key learnings
Digital is well and truly here and it’s here to stay. Those who were lagging in this space were left behind, whilst those already on a digital path with strategies in place only required minor adjustments to be able to adapt to what their customers wanted and what their businesses needed.
The importance of agile thinking for businesses at a time when everything as we knew it changed – almost from one day to the next.  Successful businesses don’t have ‘Roadblocks’ - just a different path to get to the end goal.

  • Drive-thrus accounted for 90% QSR sales in 2020 – this is predicted to stay well above pre-pandemic levels.
  • The move from in store to online as businesses diversify. Dining areas are shrinking and are no longer essential to food retailers - we will see further reduced footprints & more collaboration and ghost kitchens established to cater for online sales demand. 
  • Increased convenience and value – consumers are demanding convenience, but they are going to want more. And competition is playing on an increasingly level field as consumers turn to digital – so the game is being upped – they will want more convenience, value and quality.  They will want to have their cake and eat it too.
  • E-commerce – mobile shopping, social media shopping, delivery partners
  • Cocooning – people spending more time at home rather than going out creating demand for ‘high value at home’ experiences.  Creating ‘INsperiences’ in consumers own homes, creating escapes from the monotony for those working from home for extended periods.

What are you excited to do at this year's virtual QSR Media Conference & Awards?

  • I’m looking forward to hearing from industry experts and learning more about what they are doing. 
  • Discovering how people are connecting online and offline channels.
  • Seeing the awards.
  • Learning more about what the future holds.

Get a pulse of what's happening in the QSR industry and where it's headed - join the QSR Media Conference & Awards by clicking here.

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