A big focus moving forward will be maintaining as much off-premises business as possible as dine-in guest return. This means leveraging a narrowed external menu to increase product quality, speed of service, and guest satisfaction so that off-premises becomes a consistent leg of the revenue stool.
With limited dayparts, Richardson says it’s important to innovate and offer appealing products on the off-premises menu. During the pandemic, Eggs Up has offered a Family Breakfast Bundle—built to feed a family of four—that includes scrambled eggs, 12 pieces of bacon, home fries, and four biscuits. There’s also the Biscuit Bundle featuring six biscuits, sausage, bacon, and gravy.
Richardson says that from the guest perspective, there will be a heightened awareness in regard to cleanliness. But Eggs Up is prepared to meet that shift in sentiment.
“We’ve always received top scores in that area on all of our guest satisfaction surveys both from the type we commission and just general feedback,” Richardson says. “It’s a strength of ours and certainly a continued focus of ours.”
When it comes to human capital, Richardson says that he recently took a multi-day trip across the system where he consistently heard excitement and positivity among franchisees about top employees returning.
There have been concerns in the industry about employees not wanting to return to work, primarily because of enhanced unemployment benefits. Richardson estimates that about 15 to 20 percent of Eggs Up’s workforce will need to be replaced due to a worker moving because of his or her situation, unemployment benefits, or a worker deciding to leave the restaurant industry. Typically, each restaurant has 25 employees, so that’s about three to five workers at each unit.
From an overall industry perspective, Richard expects less saturation, either from legacy brands closing underperforming stores or single-unit independent brands not having the financial wherewithal to withstand the pandemic.
But at Eggs Up, Richardson foresees growth; in two decades of business, Eggs Up has never closed a location. Six to eight openings are planned for the rest of the year and there’s 12 to 15 more in the pipeline.
The earth may have shattered, but the pieces are starting to come back together.
“I’ve been really encouraged—despite everything—by the positive feel our franchise partners have about the brand and the future success of it and their willingness to continue to invest,” Richardson says. “… This too is going to pass and we’ll figure out a way through it.”