,Australia

What Krispy Kreme’s ANZ CEO thinks about building resilient business models

Andrew McGuigan joins the QSR Media Conference & Awards’ Store of the Future panel.

A post-pandemic return to normal will be different compared to what it was in 2019, according to Krispy Kreme’s ANZ CEO Andrew McGuigan. More than ever, brands need to exceed expectations in terms of offering solutions for both on and off-premise interactions.

McGuigan joins the Store of the Future panel at the QSR Media Conference & Awards, happening on October 18, where brand leaders will have perspectives on what stores will look like and how it will operate in a post-pandemic normal. Click here to register for the event.

More on our Q&A with McGuigan below.

QSR Media: What’s your assessment of how the QSR/fast casual restaurant industry handled the challenges dealt by COVID-19?

McGuigan: The industry has stood tall and done themselves proud over the last 18 months. It is a customer-facing industry with a young, mobile & diverse workforce that faces the pandemic each day. From an industry perspective, one of the great achievements is how we have struck the balance between Demand and Safety.

We can stay open and drive demand whilst It is paramount we operate in a safe manner protecting our people and our customers, but not suffocate demand to the point where the business is unable to perform and support the hours on the roster.

Further, I believe that the QSR industry has been able to set an example for smaller F&B independents around how to operate in a COVID-safe manner and the steps and processes that need to be embedded into daily operations. It has been great to see the big brands trailblazing in this regard and helping smaller, less resourced independent operators.

In addition to operations, given the immediate impact on foot traffic and the requirement to serve safely in a contactless environment, the industry has certainly embraced new technology and ways to serve by accelerating business models further into delivery.

Finally, many of us with large networks work across multiple states and have dealt with the evolving regulatory landscape. The operations support teams and our managers in store have been the unsung heroes in keeping the business operational, and in certain pockets thriving, during the pandemic.  It is credit to these hardworking individuals and teams we all have been able to not just manage the present but plan for future growth.

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?
Fundamental to all our success is meeting consumer needs. So in a post-pandemic world, industry and individual companies need to be focused on what truly matters to our consumers from both a brand perspective and also from the perspective of restaurant operations.

Our return to ‘normal’ will be very different to 2019, so the operating model needs to respect this and continue to solve for delivery, contactless and safe in-restaurant experiences that exceeds expectations in terms of what it means to be COVID-safe.

We need to be thoughtful on how and where we grow our physical network and e-commerce fulfilment capabilities given the likely ongoing impact that the pandemic will have on how we live and operate for some years to come. It is important we learn from the last 2 years to build resilient business models and brands that truly connect with consumers – both functionally and emotionally – to ensure we can sustain future downturns.

From a people perspective, the industry needs to ensure our participants feel protected and respected in their role in serving the community with an essential service. The challenges with lockdowns have been widely communicated, but it hits hardest and quickest to employees with variable hours, so in order for us to attract the right talent to the industry we need to think about the confidence we collectively project about having a career in the F&B / QSR industry, giving thought to safety, personal development and economic protection as hours fluctuate with restrictions to operations.

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

Connect more broadly with the industry to share stories of success and resilience. Build awareness and alignment around how we are all thinking about operations and safety in a post pandemic world. Showcase the diversity of talent and capability we have across our front line leaders for all they have done to manage the complexity of operations over the last 18 months.

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