1. Brand Reputation
With a diverse menu and an unwavering focus on service and hospitality, McAlister’s® has a long history of raising the bar in the fast-casual restaurant segment. By offering a simple, yet elevated menu of sandwiches, spuds, soups, salads, desserts and McAlister’s® Famous Sweet™ Tea, the brand is able to reach and attract a wide base of customers, and with dine-in and off-premise service options, guests are able to enjoy McAlister’s® how and when they want. Furthermore, McAlister’s® Deli is able to maintain such a strong connection with every customer that walks through its doors because of its attention to detail. Each menu item is made to order and then delivered to guests with a smile.
“Our philosophy is to offer “a little something extra” to each of our guests, and for that reason, McAlister’s® has developed a large and loyal following of customers and happy and satisfied franchisees.”, according to Jeff Sturgis, Vice President of Franchise Development.
“At McAlister’s®, the doors open by 11a.m., and we’ll immediately have guests coming through our doors for that first glass of sweet tea. You won’t find more loyal guests than those that come to McAlister’s® —some are even here two or three times a day. The reason for that is simple —our expanded menu sets us apart. But the effort and energy we put into the hospitality is something special. We deliver your meals to your table. We refill your drinks. And we take care of our guests. You don’t get that kind of service at a sandwich shop. It’s our true differentiator. And that’s why I chose McAlister’s® over any other brand.” - David Blackburn, 5/5/17, 1851 Interview
“Growing up in the South, you come to realize that good service and heart-warming hospitality are just as important as the food being served. I fell in love with the way food could bring people together and lift someone’s mood, and I found that in McAlister’s®. McAlister’s® is different from other restaurant brands out there and is definitely not a sandwich shop. This is a restaurant fueled by great service and simple —yet elevated—food. It’s the kind of place that feels like a second home.” - Yaron Goldman, 5/5/17, 1851 Interview
2. System and Financial Performance
Earlier this year, McAlister’s® Deli announced it has climbed 123 spots to No. 23 on Entrepreneur Magazine's 38th Annual Franchise 500® ranking. The magazine recognizes the role that big data, social media, cloud tools and powerful customer management systems have all played in dramatically changing the way franchise systems tackle operations, customer communication and franchisee education – all key factors in determining the Franchise 500® rankings. Additional factors that go into Entrepreneur’s evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability.
Entrepreneur isn’t the only third-party analyst who has ranked McAlister’s® Deli as a good value. Using proprietary data collected by Restaurant Business and its sister research firm Technomic® from 2016, Business Insider looked at nearly 100 of the largest U.S. chains and rated them on three criteria: financial performance, customer satisfaction and overall value. Out of the 25 brands that were ranked, McAlister’s® Deli came in at No. 17.
"Being recognized by some of the leading business and industry publications, is a great achievement," said Paul Macaluso, President of McAlister’s® Deli. "We’re truly humbled and honored, and attribute our success as a brand in large part to our dedicated franchisees and loyal guests across the country. We’re looking forward to leading McAlister’s® to continued growth and brand innovation.”
The financial performance of a McAlister’s® restaurant is another reason for its on-going industry recognition and growth. According to their current FDD, McAlister’s® enjoys some of the best unit level metrics in the fast-casual restaurant space – average unit volumes exceeding $1,600,000 and growth in top line sales since 2012. All from a relatively simple operating platform that utilizes no grills or fryers.
“We’ve had very strong same store sales growth over the last eight years or so. That brand has been really thriving for us.” - Sean Conway, The Bistro Group, Multi-Unit Franchisee, 7/17/17, Interview with Food & Drink Magazine
3. Growth Potential
Unique positioning within the fast-casual industry is what makes McAlister’s® stand out from the competition as it continues to expand — but it’s not the only thing. In addition to offering an elevated fast-casual dining experience, McAlister’s® offers extensive corporate support and gives prospective franchisees the opportunity to be a part of a rapidly growing brand and benefit from being under the umbrella of its parent company, FOCUS Brands Inc.
There’s a reason why franchisees of multiple brands, including Wendy’s® , Denny’s®, Long John Silver’s® , Dunkin Donuts® , Five Guys® , Taco Bell® and Wingstop®, have recently decided to develop a McAlister’s® Deli alongside their current portfolio of brands. As experienced multi-unit operators, they all shared a desire to grow their respective brand portfolios and came to the same conclusion – adding McAlister’s® Deli to their portfolio would be a smart investment decision.
“Going from one to two units was huge for us, especially when you’re used to being there six days a week. But with the help of McAlister’s® support team, we learned how to put the right team and systems in place to help us sustainably grow to eleven units and beyond. Without guidance from McAlister’s®, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” - Jeff Shawl, multi-unit franchisee, 3/15/17, 1851 Interview
4. Operations Simplicity
McAlister’s® business model is incredibly simple. By focusing on what it does best and eliminating the need for major restaurant equipment like fryers and grills, the brand gives prospective business owners the opportunity to grow alongside the booming fast-casual industry without breaking the bank. That simplicity is present in everything McAlister’s® does — at its core, the brand serves great food with exceptional customer service in a welcoming and comfortable environment.
“Behind the scenes, McAlister’s® works to help ensure that every franchisee is set up for success. Operational efficiency and simplicity, superior products with a broad menu, differentiated guest experience and exceptional customer satisfaction are only some of the ways McAlister’s® Deli has long set itself apart,” Macaluso said “As we celebrate the 400th restaurant in the brand’s growing system, it’s clear we have a recipe for success that — quite simply — works.”
“Whenever I come across someone who has visited a McAlister’s® Deli, their reaction is enthusiastic. People don’t just like to visit us, they love the entire experience. McAlister’s® has given me all of the tools and resources that I need to be successful. Its business model is simple and easy to adapt to our market, which makes us excited about the possibilities for growth with the brand going forward.” - Jim Gillenwater Jr., multi-unit franchisee, 5/31/17, 1851 Interview
5. Trusted Leadership and Management
Franchisees who enter McAlister’s® Deli franchise system gain access to a long list of benefits. From support throughout the grand opening process that includes real estate selection and marketing tactics to a strong network of more than 400 existing restaurants, the brand’s local owners are able to rely on a corporate team of experts when getting their businesses off the ground. However, the competitive advantages of being a franchisee of McAlister’s® Deli do not stop there — the brand adds another layer of support to its system by being a part of FOCUS Brands Inc.
FOCUS Brands Inc. is a leading developer of global, multi-channel, food service brands. In addition to McAlister’s®, its portfolio includes Moe’s Southwest Grill®, Schlotzsky’s® Bakery Café, Auntie Anne’s® Pretzels, Cinnabon® and Carvel® Ice Cream. One of the main areas of synergy for McAlister’s® is in the supply chain needed to support all stores. The combination of these six brands provides FOCUS Brands Inc. with considerable clout and leverage when working with the vendor and distribution marketplace.
“Instead of going to market as McAlister’s® with 400 stores, we’re going into the vendor community as FOCUS Brands Inc., which works on behalf of 4,600 locations,” said Rich Kamph, Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain for FOCUS Brands Inc.. “What that means for franchisees is they participate in a much larger buying organization and are the recipient of the increased value this larger organization delivers. We’re able to leverage our size and scale with vendors to negotiate superior supply agreements on high quality products and ingredients.”
“If you’re interested in franchising, you should take a very serious look at McAlister’s®. One, obviously, it’s financially successful. Two, I think it’s a brand that has growth opportunities from a geography standpoint. Three, I think within our segment we’re really having fast paced growth which is exciting. I think one important thing that sets McAlister’s® apart today in how the system’s operated today is that senior management is listening to franchisees.” - Kelly Saxton of the Saxton Group, which owns over 70 McAlister’s® locations across four different states. 3/15/17, 1851 Interview