HBI was represented by Tom Browne, Craig Truelock, and Ashley Davis at this year’s Arby’s National Franchise Conference in Atlanta, GA–headquarters of Arby’s Restaurant Group.
With a theme of “Level Up” Tuesday, October 3, offered a day full of speakers including brand CEO Paul Brown, Arby’s President Rob Lynch (former CMO), the current CMO Jim Taylor, COO John Bowie, the one-and-only Chef Neville Craw, Chief Information Officer Darla Morse, Chief Development Officer Greg Vojnovic, and others. Attendees learned about topics ranging from the new Point Of Sales system (currently Panasonic/SMP or Aloha/RDS), smart equipment, the importance of Brand Purpose Scores to updates on an official Arby’s mobile ordering app, new sandwiches debuting soon, marketing calendar for early 2018, and more.
Perhaps most relevant to team members in the stores was the change in tone surrounding the future marketing agenda. Whereas in the past ARG has focused on what’s worked–cranking out killer LTO’s–its leadership seemed to take notice of the real struggle and slow-down this free-standing tactic has caused the backline. Though they acknowledged the burden before, they are now shifting strategy to more heavily include Operations in marketing decisions. Our teammates in the stores will appreciate the consequences of this move, including seeing more monthly promotions showcasing core menu items and limited time offers that involve SKU’s already available in stores.
The general session ended with a presentation by Arby’s Foundation Executive Director Chris Fuller. Chris started by noting the phenomenal work the Foundation is doing to fuel dreams (via fighting childhood hunger), expand dreams (by supporting youth leadership initiatives), and support the pursuit of dreams (with career readiness initiatives) and thanking all entities represented (franchisee and Corporate alike) for all they do to make that possible. He then announced this year’s Make a Difference Award recipient: Heartland Beef Incorporated. He highlighted both outstanding performance in the annual National Restaurant Fundraiser as well as HBI’s independent community service leadership, exhibited by the annual Heartland Give Back Day. After the session ended, Chris shared additionally that it was a unanimous and quick decision. This was HBI’s first ever national award at an Arby’s conference or convention.
Next year’s Worldwide Convention will be held in Nashville, TN in early November.