NexCen Brands is the franchisor for Great American Cookies, MaggieMoo’s, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time. The recently opened up a research and development facility for their restaurant concepts. At first glance, this looks great, despite it being a tiny 1,200 square feet. My nitpicking then creeped in. Here are a few issues I see:
- The manager of the R&D center is the VP of Plant Operations. I would much rather see someone with an innovation, marketing or chef background, not someone who coordinates a warehouse or manufacturing facility.
- The article states that the R&D facility is “supported” by NexCen’s top vendors – bread, chocolate and dairy vendors. Ummmmm…..bias? It’s a great deal for franchisor NexCen who gets their vendors to sponsor the facility and research, but do you think this will produce the best innovations for the franchisees? Will the vendors spend their time “innovating” their particular product offerings more into the menu?
I’m being hard on NexGen, I know. Hopefully the R&D facility will produce some winners, but the issues noted above make me believe NexGen chose the absolute cheapest way to create the image of R&D.
What’s the best way to create better and cheaper offerings, faster?
After professional research with customers and franchisees, you can identify promising ideas, develop them with your chefs, professionally test the ideas with customers, and repeat the process until you get a winner. Let your marketing, finance and purchasing teams have input. Then roll it out to franchisees.