May 17, 2020

Franchise Growth is Slowing Down in Canada

franchise growth
consumer trends
Frazer Jones
2 min
Franchise Growth is Slowing Down in Canada
There could be bad news ahead for Canadians hoping to get into the fast food franchising industry, as well as current Canadian franchisees hoping to exp...

There could be bad news ahead for Canadians hoping to get into the fast food franchising industry, as well as current Canadian franchisees hoping to expand their businesses. A new study from research firm NPD Group suggests that growth in Canada’s restaurant industry is scheduled for a downturn and could be on the verge of slowing down significantly.

According to the study, Canada’s restaurants have been seeing a steady decline in transactions—Canadian consumers are simply starting to go out less and eat at home more. Because of this dining trend, Canada’s food service industry can be expected to grow less than 1 percent annually across the next five years, with most growth concentrated in bigger cities rather than evenly throughout the country. Those behind the study note that this slow growth means that franchises wanting to grow are going to have to up their game because competition is about to get fierce:

“There are going to be winners and losers in the restaurant industry this coming year,” said Robert Carter, executive director of the NPD Group’s Canadian food service division in a release. “Restaurant operators who remain relevant by giving consumers what they want can be the winners, but it will require continually staying on top of trends and understanding what is resonating most strongly with consumers.”


If it seems like only very small businesses will need to worry about staying afloat during these times, don’t get complacent. As the piece points out, even a relative giant like Tim Hortons and Subway are taking action:

Former Tim Hortons (TSX:THI) chief executive Marc Caira highlighted the urgency of the downturn last year when he unveiled a slate of new menu items designed to draw customers in for lunches, rather than just their morning coffee. Others in the food services industry have broadened their menus, like Subway which launched a more aggressive promotion of its breakfasts and McDonald’s which brought in poutine and wraps for more health-conscious diners.


Expanding your menu, expanding the amount of dayparts you’ll be open, or expanding your services to offer drive-thru or delivery—whatever upgrades you choose, it seems likely that you’ll need to start going the extra mile very soon if you want your business to grow and excel ahead of the competition. The sooner, the better as well—there’s going to be a lot of competition in the next few years.



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Jun 21, 2021

Tech firm BestBees helps honey bees with remote monitoring

Helen Adams
3 min
Honey bees are struggling. Tech firm like Best Bees and ApisProtect are using remote monitoring to help them rise again

The global honey industry was worth an estimated $9.2b in 2020. Out of the 100 crop species which feed 90% of the world's population, 70 of them are pollinated by bees. In addition, 1.4b farming jobs, depend on the pollination of crops carried out by bees. 

Bees are vitally important to planet earth and everyone on it - but they are in danger. Between April 2019 and 2020, 43% of US hives were lost. Bee hives have been devastated by:

  • Parasites
  • Pesticides
  • Climate change

Tech firms have taken on one of the world’s oldest occupations, beekeeping, in order to maintain the welfare of the the mighty bumblebee. 


Best Bees Company bumbles forward

US business, Best Bees Company, was shocked at the plight of the American bee colonies.

Best Bees install hives and then use an advanced software system to monitor and record the health of each bee hive.

"We are looking at why thriving beehives live", said Wilson-Rich, chief scientific officer at Best Bees. "We need to understand why they're doing better. With that research data we can get wonderful benefits... it is telling us how the bees are actually doing."

Best Bees also harvests and bottles the honey for the property owners, of where the hives sit, to enjoy.

The data is being shared with Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where researchers are trying to understand and assist the bees in their duty.


Tech saves beekeepers time and labour 

The Irish business ApisProtect is also utilising technology to help the bees, through their wireless in-hive sensors, which transmit data.

"We collect temperature, humidity, sound and acceleration [of the bees flying out of the hive] data," said  Fiona Edwards Murphy, chief executive "What we do is extract those raw data points and then use machine learning to convert that into useful information. We tell the beekeeper, for example, which hives are growing and which hives are shrinking, or which hives are alive and which hives are dead."

The technology means beekeepers no longer have to manually inspect hives, which saves time and effort and allows the bees to go about their business uninterrupted. 

"In a commercial operation only about 20% of hives at any given time need intervention," concludes Edwards Murphy. "The problem is that beekeepers don't know which 20%. They literally go out and pick around a hive to see if it's the one they should be looking at. What we do is enable them to get a picture of what's happening in all their hives, spread across a large area, before they even leave their office in the morning. For commercial beekeepers, we see a 50% reduction in labour costs. That obviously has a huge impact on the business of beekeeping."

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