Embracing Technology: The Bloomin’ Blinds Journey

By: Kristopher Stuart, CFE

Bloomin’ Blinds, at the time, a family-run business that transitioned into franchising, used to face the common challenges of managing documentation and customer records. Their manual processes were time-consuming and error-prone, hindering their ability to provide efficient service to their customers. Recognizing the need for change, the company embarked on a transformative journey to integrate technology into their operations.

In 2010, Bloomin’ Blinds onboarded its first software system and quickly realized the compounded potential of technology to streamline operations. This marked the beginning of their journey toward leveraging technology to augment and enhance human capabilities. The company recognized that technology could play a crucial role in improving communication, collaboration, and decision-making across their entire franchise network.

Over the years, Bloomin’ Blinds has come to understand the importance of prioritizing human connection within their franchising model. Their guiding principle, “Technology should enhance human relationships, not replace them,” reflects their commitment to creating an environment that fosters success for their franchisees. This approach aligns perfectly with their mission to empower franchisees and build a collaborative, supportive community driven by cutting-edge technology.

When it came to evaluating AI solutions, Bloomin’ Blinds sought a comprehensive and integrated system that would maximize data normalization and provide a tailored small language model. Their search led them to Revscale AI, a company that impressed them with its technical prowess and strategic alliances. The decision to adopt Revscale’s AI was made easier by Bloomin’ Blinds’ clear mission and the potential benefits it offered to their franchisees.

The adoption of AI required a significant mindset shift for Bloomin’ Blinds. The franchisor had to relinquish some control and trust external parties with critical aspects of their business. However, the company realized that the goal of mission success outweighed the need for individual control. This understanding enabled the project to progress smoothly post-launch and carry significant momentum into further development.

As a result of their efforts, Bloomin’ Blinds is now positioned as the first-to-market franchise with its own small language model. This cutting-edge technology empowers franchisees with enhanced transparency and localized, actionable business insights, enabling them to make better decisions and drive growth. Bloomin’ Blinds aims to reduce technology fees and introduce additional measurement and design-focused solutions to further enhance the value proposition for its franchisees.

The deployment of the AI system is expected to have minimal hindrances due to extensive UI testing. Bloomin’ Blinds has conducted thorough user acceptance testing to ensure a seamless transition for their franchisees. The rollout is scheduled to commence in the 3rd Quarter of 2024, with a phased approach to minimize disruption to franchisee operations.

In conclusion, the journey of Bloomin’ Blinds showcases the importance of a clear mission and a willingness to evaluate outcomes based on their alignment with that mission. By recognizing the potential of technology and prioritizing interpersonal human connections, Bloomin’ Blinds is proving itself as a thought leader in the broader franchising industry. Their adoption of AI demonstrates their commitment to innovation and their dedication to providing their franchisees with the tools and support they need to succeed.

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