BurgerFi + Trello

Growing An On-Brand Franchise Business—Fast


What’s it like to be part of the fastest growing food service segment in the world? “Busy,” says Steven Buckley, Chief Operating Officer at BurgerFi. The fast casual burger franchise has opened nearly 100 restaurants across the US in the past five years: “We are constantly challenged to be ‘best in class’ - our goal is to be the segment leader and nothing less.” Known for their signature “branded” hamburger buns and gourmet ingredients, the Florida-based company has been deliberately crafting a buzzworthy dining experience via its corporate brand and local franchise owners.

“Our top company focal points are continuous innovation and the application of cutting-edge technology with our food products and service modes.”

Being a franchise business, BurgerFi’s goals and objectives need to be communicated and engaged at all levels of the company, from senior executives to store general managers. Moving information through departments and franchise locations is no small feat when there are over 300 individuals to connect cross-country. In order to achieve the growth results they were looking for, BurgerFi needed to unite all their team members around the same priorities.

How Trello Got On The Menu

When Steven came on board in early 2015, he recognized the need for a communications and organization tool that would be adopted and used across the entire organization. It had to be user-friendly and accessible regardless of location, digital aptitude, or device. He had seen Trello in use while working at another organization, and liked what he saw:

“We first became interested in Trello for the ability to create high-level goals and push them down to system-wide tactics for execution, with full accountability at all levels of the organization.”

Presenting it to BurgerFi as a vehicle for collaboration and project management, Steven has seen Trello take on a life of its own in the company as members started to explore its capabilities for cross-departmental initiatives, like franchisee onboarding, marketing collateral management, and real estate development.

BurgerFi’s mouthwatering marketing assets are ordered up on their Creative Requests board.

In fact, three major things happened when BurgerFi united their organization around a central tool:

  1. Their company culture saw a positive shift towards accountability and ownership of projects.
  2. Individual efforts began to better align with the company’s top priorities.
  3. Communication across departments and with franchisees became simpler and easier to manage.
“Trello is an amazing tool for collaboration across departments.”

Over two years of use, Trello has become a powerful source of information and control for individuals at all levels of their organization, according to Steven. With over 150 boards actively in use by over 300 team members, Steven says Trello has taken on a life of its own within company culture. BurgerFi employees and franchisees regularly use Trello in all kinds of ways:

  • Organize company structure
  • Run meetings
  • Make presentations
  • Take agendas
  • Attach documentation
  • Manage social media
  • Develop marketing campaigns
  • Train new team members
  • Track idea development
  • Manage restaurant day-to-day
  • Scout new business locations

And while everyone at BurgerFi has derived these same benefits from using Trello, each team has developed custom workflows to prioritize the goals that are key to company growth.

Top BurgerFi Team Boards

When it comes to Trello boards, BurgerFi has encouraged employees to develop custom workflows that suit their needs. To help foster a sense of team spirit amidst this diversity, they have developed a few standard BurgerFi-branded board backgrounds that employees can choose from. The result is a wide-ranging collection of boards that speak to the different needs that each team has in order to contribute to top-level organizational goals. Here’s some of BurgerFi’s top Trello workflows:

Company Directory

The workflow: BurgerFi’s company directory board is a top-level overview of each department and their corresponding Trello boards currently in use at the company.

Use it for: Entire Organization

Board build tips: Lists organize each department by card, including team members and links to boards in use by that team. Employees can reference this board at any time to see high level status of teams and their top projects.

Franchise Management

The workflow: A set of franchise boards are provided to each new business owner to help them onboard with corporate goals as well as give them a full suite of management boards for operating their restaurant day-to-day.

Use it for: Distributed Teams

Board build tips: Keep sample versions of boards like ‘Store Logs,’ ‘Customer Complaints’ and ‘HR Management’ to make setup easy for new owners.

Team Meeting Agenda

The workflow: Steven uses a dedicated board as an agenda to run his weekly meetings. Lists and cards are organized by the various projects and top-level tasks they’re tracking across the company.

Use it for: Executive Teams

Board build tips: Due dates are key for keeping commitments on track. Assigned team members are tagged in comments on project cards, and ownership comes from routine check-ins thanks to recurring weekly meetings.

Business Development

The workflow: BurgerFi’s real estate team manages the development of new restaurant locations via Trello. Boards are used to organize important documents like assessments, plans, contracts, and leases as well as guide site committee meetings.

Use it for: Growth Teams

Board build tips: An integration with the real estate team’s construction software keeps processes streamlined. Site development documents are organized in an order that complements their site committee meeting process, so that they have all materials available for easy reference.

Customer Feedback

The workflow: Customer feedback about the BurgerFi experience is collected and forwarded to a specific board for further analysis and action.

Use it for: Support Teams

Board build tips: Email-to-board is a helpful tool for the feedback process: any customer comments that come in via email are forwarded directly to the board. The CardCounter for Trello extension helps keep tabs on the number of submissions at each stage of response.

The Secret Sauce? Onboarding

Today, there isn’t a team member at BurgerFi who isn’t using Trello for some aspect of their work. While it has become a major vehicle for collaboration and project management, Steven notes that implementation took the better part of six months to get team workflows as optimized and efficient as they are now.

“Implementing Trello was a success thanks to detailed training for all employees backed by senior-level commitment to the platform.”

In order to use Trello to its full potential, one of the most important steps they’ve taken is the creation of custom on-boarding videos to help train new users. In the video series, they cover the basics of using Trello as a tool, as well as how they use it specifically at BurgerFi.

They also provide onboarding resources and sample boards to new franchise owners, so that they can literally run their entire operation with Trello, collaborating on things like store logs, health inspections and food safety, customer complaints (and compliments!), corporate store visits and human resources—all with their corporate contacts easily accessible through the comments section on cards or via the team page.

“We are committed to including Trello training and indoctrination as a component of BurgerFi onboarding and training systems for all corporate employees and franchisees.”

Real Growth Is A Collective Mindset

Steven says that if you walk around their headquarters, you’ll see Trello boards on screens everywhere. “I don’t know how we would do what we do without Trello,” he adds.

That might sound like an exaggeration, but competitive numbers say otherwise. With the restaurant industry as a whole expected to top $780 billion in revenue this year via a million plus food service locations in the US, “doing” what BurgerFi does—growing a vibrant, forward-thinking (and delicious!) company—requires the power that comes from uniting each and every team member around the same growth goals.

Read More

BurgerFi Talks Trello In Fortune Magazine