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Kahala Helps Guide System With National Delivery Deal


Cold Stone Creamery, one of several concepts under Kahala Brands.

The jump into delivery for Kahala Brands started organically, as some of its many franchisees across 50 states started embracing third-party delivery. But to make things easier for all of the company’s franchisees, it began looking at national deals and, most importantly, make delivery resonate with brand standards. 

Kahala, the parent company of everything from Blimpie, Baja Express and BUILT Custom Burgers to Cereality, Pinkberry and Cold Stone Creamery (among others), inked a national deal with DoorDash, the first national contract with Postmates with others to follow soon. Steve Evans, senior vice president of marketing at Kahala, said it was the next phase in support around delivery. 

“We’d have franchisees reaching out and asking for guidance saying, ‘Hey I’m signing up.’ So we saw the demand there,” said  Evans. “So over the last year we’ve been working on the space heavily and providing resources.” 

He said the deal with DoorDash was important because as franchisees worked with the aggregator they found DoorDash was a great partner for many reasons: it offers good customer service and support, and, with 50-state coverage, penetration matched up well with Kahala’s multi-brand, multi-market footprint. 

He said a national deal was important for him and the marketing folks to keep brand standards, well, standard across the country. 

“It was about formalizing the relationship, which allowed us to improve our brand standards. Early on, without that formalized relationship, there were just local reps signing up franchisees and asking if we wanted to have photos of our products,” said Evans, and they weren’t the great, costly photos marketing already had. “This allowed us to standardize the menu, make sure the standards and imagery were what we would expect. It’s really been a nice way to bring in a little more structure.” 

He said the operations team also helped create delivery best practices, and answered the big question: How do we deliver ice cream? 

“For ice cream, when this space came up, I remember thinking I never thought our ice cream would be viable for this space. It melts; it’s just common sense. But surprisingly, DoorDash—another reason we like working with them—they only travel 10 miles and they have thermal bags that keeps hot food hot and cold food cold,” Evans said. 

At Cold Stone, known for its fresh, made-to-order ice cream with all sorts of mix-ins, a pretty simple step has made a huge difference. Instead of making it to order for the driver and letting it melt slightly in the mixing process, they make it immediately when the order hits and put the order in a freezer. 

“It’s kept frozen until the driver walks in the door. So it’s traveling quite well and we’re not seeing any real execution problems,” said Evans. 

But maybe the biggest win for franchisees with a national deal was one smart line item in the contract: Any national contract with a provider supersedes prior local deals, unlocking better rates and other perks without waiting for a local contract to expire. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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