Since Bonchon relies so heavily on franchising, Sabitoni says, one key to success is finding the right locations. So far, it’s been doing a good job with real estate. “Many are located in heavily populated areas and close to college towns, helping them appealing to college students,” he says.
Yet one hurdle with franchising is relinquishing quality control to operators. “They need a well-trained staff that follows the standard operating procedure guide so dinner at Bonchon in Boston or New Jersey is the same,” Sabitoni says.
Looking ahead, Sabotini expects to see continued growth with its new CEO leading the way.
Dekker describes his mission as “putting the system and processes in place to make sure we grow the business and make our franchisees as successful as possible.” He intends to achieve those goals by “growing top-line sales and lowering the cost of doing business.”
For example, he points to Bonchon’s just launching an improved supply chain ordering system to 70 percent of its franchisees, in which costs are lowered because of economies of scale. It streamlines business operations and reduces costs. A win-win, he says.
One of the keys to Bonchon’s success, Dekker adds, stems from avoiding overbuilding locations. Many of its restaurants are 2,000–2,500 square feet. “It’s a lot easier to manage costs with that kind of footprint,” he says, rather than be burdened with the higher rents for 5,000 square feet.
As it adapts more to increasing delivery and take-out sales, Bonchon’s smaller space enables it to “adjust more easily and quickly,” Dekker says.