How Franchise Software Helped Ice Bar Franchise Improve Communication and Brand Compliance

By: James C. Taylor


ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL is part of ICEHOTEL, the world's first ice hotel. Located in the village of Jukkasjrvi, Sweden, and existing each year between December and April, the ICEHOTEL is entirely made out of snow and ice blocks taken from the Torne River.

The first ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL opened in partnership with ABSOLUT VODKA in the original Icehotel in 1994. It is now a fast growing franchise with locations around the world.

As a fast growing franchise acting in several geographies, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL was spending way too much time sending out e-mails and keeping franchisees updated by phone while tangled up in a franchise manual that nobody would read.

Most leaders in the franchise industry will agree that expansion and growth is a strategic imperative. But they will also agree that expanding while maintaining brand consistency and communicating effectively with franchise locations is enormously difficult.

More than just an ordinary bar, operating an ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL requires that staff acquire specific knowledge in handling a bar fully made of ice. For example, unlike other bars that can call on handy men to perform basic repairs, the local staff will need to know how to repair ice that is broken or exposed to heat.

Also, staff members at each location are required to retell the unique story about the ICEBAR and ICEHOTEL to its customers. This places great emphasis on brand training and support.

Without a good franchise communication platform, the brand message had started to dilute and locations were becoming increasingly disparate.

ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL became acutely aware of the need for a better way to manage day-to-day communications, provide franchise manuals, ensure brand compliance, and roll out promotions simultaneously at multiple locations in a timely manner.

For help in realizing an Intranet-based communication platform and revitalizing its franchise manuals, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL wanted to team with a partner that would bring not only expertise in technical environments and system integration, but also bringing a deep understanding of the franchise world.

Chainformation, a provider of software for retail, franchise and chain businesses was the logical choice. Over the past twelve years, Chainformation has provided franchise software for some of Europes most demanding franchise concepts and chain stores.

In just four months, Chainformation implemented a franchise software platform across the ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL franchise, including locations in Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Oslo and Stockholm.

By implementing CCM, the ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL network had access to a high powered Intranet that served as the networks main delivery vehicle of know-how, business data and content, while improving day-to-day communication, franchise compliance, and brand consistency throughout the network.

Other key features of the franchise software platform include a media library with template design functionality of marketing materials, a sales reporting module, and digital franchise manuals.

So much more than an Intranet, CCM is a franchise software platform that enables faster, role-based communication, encourages collaboration, and simplifies the use of critical documentation. Every ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL location now has one single point of entry from where it can access franchise manuals, design marketing materials and report daily sales, all while receiving news and updates from the ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL universe. With CCM, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL is better equipped to grow as a franchise, says Anders Hall, Sales and Marketing Manager at Chainformation.

Chainformation also revamped the ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL franchise manuals. The content for its franchise manuals had traditionally been managed manually in printed form. Every time there was a change to the manual, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL would send out a printed sheet to each franchise location a time consuming process that limited the teams ability to work effectively, and focus on creating a dynamic franchise concept. Instead, Chainformation developed a digital franchise manual which made for easier reading, and could be updated and accessed in real time.

By bringing all day-to-day communications and franchise manuals into one digital platform, ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL would be better equipped to manage the franchise concept in real time. Equally important, a digital franchise manual would provide a foundation on which ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL could build future expansion plans for new franchisees with limited ramp up time.

With CCM by Chainformation, we have a truly global platform that combines our franchise communication needs and digital franchise manuals in a one-stop system. We are equipped for future expansion and growing with limited ramp up time. Rather than bombarding our franchise locations with e-mails and phone calls, we can customize the communication flow and share relevant content on a need-to-know basis in seconds, explains Dan Hollstrm, Development Director at ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL.

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James Taylor is a "techie" guy and loves to write about gadgets reviews such as pros and cons, guides, what's new in the tech world and a lot more. Right now, he writes technology news aiming to help businesses big and small achieve their goals.

A full franchise case study about the project can be found here.

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