Mobile technology is top of mind for many restaurant franchise owners and franchisors, according to the results of a survey conducted by TD Bank at the 2017 Restaurant Finance and Development Conference in Las Vegas. 

Mobile ordering was particularly powerful for the group: 55 percent of franchise owners and operators surveyed believe mobile ordering helped expand their customer base.

As the industry and customer base evolve, franchises are channeling resources into retaining existing customers while also building a new, younger fan base. Beyond mobile enhancements, survey respondents reported that their top investment areas include: adding locations (70 percent); developing social media strategies to target Generation Z, ages 0-18, (56 percent); and creating or enhancing customer loyalty programs (55 percent). Additionally, restaurant industry professionals noted that menu enhancements/changes (54 percent) and meal delivery services (47 percent) will become key business strategies.

TD's survey polled franchise owners and operators of quick-service and fast-casual restaurant brands. Fifty-four percent of respondents own or operate stores that are part of a major national brand, and 44 percent stated they own 25 or more restaurant locations.  

For most franchise owners, Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers with disposable income are becoming less vital to business decisions, as Millennials (ages 20-36) are seen as the future of the industry. Indeed, 69 percent of franchise owners believe Millennials are most responsible for fueling the innovation that affects business plans.

TD Bank’s poll included a total of 260 responses, collected from industry professionals, including franchisees and franchisors.