Bruster's Real Ice Cream Franchise
The Bruster’s Ice Cream brand has been in business since 1989 and has since the company’s founders had a strong, unique position in the ice cream franchise market segment due to the specific product produced by the brand. Bruster’s, when founded faced stiff competition as they do today in the always growing ice cream franchise market segment. Fresh ingredients, a special production process and a flavorful line of desert products helped differentiate the Bruster’s franchise from others in the market quickly. Mr. Reed, the company’s founder, was adamant from the brand’s inception about product quality and customer service, making sure that each and every customer’s experience was as positive and memorable as it could be.
The Bruster’s brand slowed down somewhat in the early 2000s as the business needed renewed growth and targets for expanding the mature brand. Franchise Marketing Systems was hired to develop new marketing strategies, training programs, and business development models and to support new franchise lead generation for sales in key strategic markets. Tradeshows, Franchise Brokers, Online lead generation, and print marketing were all incorporated to drive a more consistent and aggressive franchise pipeline. The founder of the company invested in a highly skilled franchise development manager to oversee and manage the development firsthand.
As Bruster’s expanded, so too did the ice cream industry and the level of competitiveness drove the Bruster’s brand to evolve and look for more ways to better compete with the market and maintain a leadership position within the franchise market. Bruster started by expanding the franchise model to fit a wider variety of locations and make the business model more flexible. Non-traditional locations were developed for airports, train stations, and busy commuter spots, Co-branded stores with Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs were opened, and kiosk locations and full-scale stand-alone operations were all developed in markets across the U.S. Better, more consistent training platforms and documentation were developed to better harness the technology available and systems to create more consistent customer service in all of the stores, regardless of the model a franchisee chose to go to market with.
Bruster’s also benefited from a focus on multi-unit franchise growth which leveraged higher dollar investors who were interested in developing larger regions and staffing the stores as their own chain within the Bruster’s network. The benefit to the Multi-unit franchise platform is that if done correctly, the quality, sustainability, and experience of the franchisees can be significantly stronger than that of a unit franchisee. This dynamic can make the franchise growth easier to manage for the franchisor and with fewer franchise partners to keep happy and facilitate positive relationships. Multi-unit franchisees for Bruster’s allowed the brand to expand into further reaching territories and do so with strong marketing initiatives and lower failure rates.
Although the co-branded stores were not a long-term strategy for the brand, the fact that Bruster’s was willing to be adaptive, make changes, and evolve with today’s market has helped the brand to re-emerge as a leader in the ice cream franchise market. Bruster’s leadership has had many success stories, but the most recent growth certainly must be attributed to strong leadership and a devotion to doing what’s right for the brand and the business model. Today, Bruster’s has again established itself as one of the top market leaders in the ice cream franchise segment.
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