Nonstop Cleaning Part of Another Broken Egg Operator’s Strategy
Menu items such as Another Broken Egg's Louisiana crawfish skillet are better suited for dine-in service.
At Another Broken Egg Café, the reopening process for the breakfast, brunch and lunch concept is aptly named “New Dawn,” which is exactly how franchisee Jake Alleman sees it.
“It’s almost like a full reset,” says Alleman, who as co-founder of Cojak Investments operates eight cafes in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. “We looked at every aspect of the business, everyone went through a retraining phase hugely focused on safety. We encouraged staff to take time to improve themselves and have ideas for how to improve the businesses.”
Selected in 2018 as a winner of a Franchise Times Zor Award, our annual project identifying 10 best brands based on operator profitability, Another Broken Egg Café has 70 locations mainly in Southeastern states. This week we’re checking in with some of those Zor Awards brands to learn how their franchisees are navigating the pandemic.
In the two years since being interviewed as a top-performing franchisee for Another Broken Egg, Alleman sold four of his restaurants back to the franchisor, closed one location and added a second brand, Chicken Salad Chick, now with six units in Louisiana and Houston. All of his Chicken Salad Chick restaurants stayed open for takeout and delivery, while Alleman, also chief operating officer at Cojak, decided to temporarily close his breakfast cafes.
“People were more into wanting something that lasted more than one meal,” he says, noting the limitations of Another Broken Egg’s menu. “With Chicken Salad Chick, we have the Quick Chick,” containers of chicken salad sold by the pound and better suited for larger orders. “Quick Chicks were about 90 percent of our sales.”
All of Alleman’s Another Broken Egg restaurants are now back open for dine-in service with at least 25 percent capacity, which in a typical restaurant means anywhere from 20 to 40 seats, plus patios.
“It was amazing to me how many people were willing to get out of the house and just wanted to come dine with us,” Alleman, pictured, says of early customer traffic. “It’s been rewarding.”
To help manage customer counts and allow for social distancing, host stands were moved outside—“It signals to guests immediately that they need to wait outside or in their car,” he says—and a text notification system already in place sends a message when the table is ready. Hand sanitizer stations were set up throughout the restaurants, employees wear masks and one person every shift is dedicated to sanitation. “They’re going around the restaurant nonstop,” says Alleman, later adding, “The safety and sanitation position, I don’t see that going away.”
Another Broken Egg, which the founder, Ron Green, sold to The Beekman Group in 2017, was working on an online ordering platform but hasn’t yet rolled it out. “This obviously made them really ramp that up,” says Alleman, who also expects to have third-party delivery integrated with the Olo system soon. (In an interview earlier this year, new CEO Paul Macaluso named online ordering and third-party delivery among his priorities.)
While it’s lagging a bit on the technology side, Alleman says he’s been impressed with his franchisor’s response during the pandemic, including the decision to defer royalties and abate the national ad fund fee while “they still did advertising on our behalf.”
“The marketing support was awesome,” he continues. “They were constantly coming up with promotions and we’ve been able to gain a lot of new customers.”
The careful planning put into the reopening strategy is also proving invaluable and guests have shown their appreciation.
“With Another Broken Egg, since we did close, there was more uncertainty. But our guests were there, I’m so thankful for that,” says Alleman. “I couldn’t be happier with the way we were able to reopen.”
Read more from our Zor Awards update series this week:
- Reopening a ‘Double-edged’ Sword, Says Pinot’s Palette ‘Zee
- Fellow Operators Help Right at Home ‘Zee Navigate COVID
- Paul Davis ‘Zee Deploys Resources to Help Limit Spread of COVID-19
- COVID-19 Shifted Business for Toppers Franchisee
- For Retirement Play, Father Joins Daughter in Dogtopia
- 'Adapt' Becomes the Mantra for Culver's Franchisees
- PrideStaff, Uptown Cheapskate 'Zees Grateful for Franchise System