Tag Archives: QSR

Advertising QSRs in 2019: Change the Social Channel

What social media channels are you using to promote your QSR chain? When it comes to QSRs and social marketing, it might be time for you to change the channel.

Owned social: When your social marketing is restricted to your “owned” social channels, the odds are you won’t win new customers. Why not? The content on your channels will only be seen by people who follow your channel. And if they follow your channel, it’s because they already know and like what you do. You’re preaching to the converted.

Paid social: If you want to reach beyond your current followers, you could invest in a “paid social” campaign – either by “boosting” your post or creating a stand-alone paid ad on Facebook and/or Instagram. Stand-alone ads give you more targeting tools than boosted posts: detailed demographic, geotargeting and filtering by interests. Paid social is certainly a more effective means of reaching new potential customers. However, there are inherent drawbacks for businesses like QSRs. Facebook and Instagram ads are most effective when you can establish focused target audiences whose interests directly align with your offering. But there is no “typical” QSR customer demographic: they range from pre-teens to seniors. And while Facebook interest keywords are fairly detailed (e.g. “fried chicken”, “fast food, “fast casual restaurant”) it simply means that people have “expressed an interest in” the keyword. Facebook tracks both the pages that users follow and the content of their posts and comments, and uses that data to target users with related advertising. In fact, their “interest” may actually be negative: “I would never eat fast food fried chicken!” Still, paid social is inexpensive and can be effective with the right targeting, a motivating offer and a measurable goal. A recent Facebook campaign by Church’s Chicken resulted in an 8X return on ad spend. The geotargeted campaign tracked store visits and spend per person.

Influencers: Many brands focus their social dollars on an influencer strategy: paying high profile social media users to promote their products. By 2020, it’s estimated that $8 billion will be spent on Instagram influencer marketing alone. It makes sense: people trust recommendations from real people more than they trust advertising and promotions from brands. But as more and more social media users jump into the pool and label themselves as “influencers”, their impact becomes more and more diluted. There’s a glut of influencer content. As a brand, you’re paying for access to their followers and the “influence” they have over their followers. Keep in mind, however, that many social users follow influencers not because they blindly adhere to the influencer’s recommendations, but because they want free stuff. The keys to influencer marketing are to find influencers who have strong, trusted reputations in the restaurant or food fields, and to implement systems to measure the outcome.

Local media channels: Another viable option on social media is to promote your restaurant via restaurant review websites and blogs. They are trusted sources for information and reviews of restaurants and fast-casual chains. For example, Toronto’s blogTO has over 500,000 followers on Instagram who look to their content for recommendations on events, activities and the latest and best dining options. But as with any social campaign, make sure you develop a program with trackable ROI: a discount that can only be redeemed via an app, or a new menu offering that is only promoted via the media partner.

There are multiple opportunities to promote your QSR via social media. A successful campaign could incorporate all of them. But no matter which channels you choose, the key is to execute a campaign that’s trackable and measurable. Likes, comments and shares aren’t enough; you need to drive and measure the impact on in-store sales.

Franchising and the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Think back to when you opened your own business. That first location was a labour of love. You sweated over every decision, large and small: products, pricing, suppliers, decor, equipment… You took on a huge risk in launching your own business and nothing happened without your careful consideration.

Within a few years you were successful enough that you started to think about expansion. And that’s when someone whispered the magic word in your ear: “franchising”. Why franchising? It allows you to expand quickly without shouldering the debt and risk. But when franchisees are the ones carrying the financial burden, they want to ensure their investment will pay off. Ideally, they want a say in the decision-making, or at the very least they need to trust that the decisions are being made by a team of qualified professionals.

But you’ve always made all the decisions, and it’s worked so far. Why change? When all of the decisions flow through you, you create a bottleneck and nothing happens quickly. But more importantly, you don’t necessarily have the time or expertise to make effective decisions on every aspect of your growing business.

In your early days, you may have enjoyed designing your own advertising or choosing the colour of your wall paint, but now those tasks are simply distractions from the real work you should be doing. When franchisees see the CEO involved in every minute decision, they will quickly lose trust that they are part of a well-managed organization.

This is when you need to let go of your entrepreneur mindset and relinquish control.

One common solution is to engage your franchisees, share your plans, and solicit their input. But here’s where the danger lies: like you, franchisees are entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily have the expertise to make effective decisions on every area of the business. If you give your franchisees decision-making power you likely won’t get the business results you need.

Make sure you hire qualified professionals in each key area of your business – from franchising to operations – and empower them to do their jobs. This isn’t an issue that’s exclusive to franchising. Regardless of the industry, great leaders know how to delegate. When your franchisees see a management team that is skilled, efficient and effective – and more importantly, when they see the financial results – they’ll recognize that their future is in good hands and you’ll gain their lasting trust.

Do calories count?

If you’re a Canadian adult in 2019, they definitely do. More than ever, we’re watching what we eat: making healthy food choices and reducing our caloric intake. In Field Day’s annual study of fast food trends, the “range of healthy food options” and “food that meets my dietary needs” have increased in importance each year.

Quick serve and fast casual restaurants are modifying their menus to respond to changing consumer tastes, but there’s more they can do. In an industry where the quality of customer service is a key consumer influencer, restaurant chains can better serve their customers by making it easy to select a meal that meets their dietary requirements.

As part of our work as marketing agency for the nationwide chain, Quesada Burritos & Tacos, Field Day developed an innovative “nutrition calculator”. Visitors to the Quesada website can quickly and easily put together their favourite meal and see the nutritional data including calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fibre, sugar and protein. The calculator also lets consumers filter their choices by over a dozen dietary and allergen criteria including vegan, vegetarian, peanut, dairy, gluten, and more.

While calorie data is currently only required on menus in Ontario, it’s only a matter of time until other provinces follow suit. Regardless of whether or not a customer is monitoring their caloric intake, the nutrition calculator reinforces Quesada’s brand position as a company that cares about the well-being and health of its customers. It’s the type of value-add that will win the respect and loyalty of customers.

Try the Quesada nutrition calculator here: https://www.quesada.ca/nutrition/

Field Day can develop similar web-based technology for your QSR chain. Give us a call to discuss.

Keeping your franchisees motivated

When it comes to franchising, there’s more to marketing than consumer-focused advertising. One of the main challenges is to market the brand to the franchisees themselves and keep them engaged. Franchising is an attractive model for retail organizations and restaurants. It allows for expansion of the brand without incurring significant corporate financial liability. But franchising is not without its risks.

As independent business owners, franchisees sometimes “go rogue” with their own off-brand initiatives that are counter to corporate’s branding and marketing strategies. One of the earliest examples of this can be seen in the film “The Founder”, the story of Ray Kroc and McDonald’s, where some of the first McDonald’s franchisees took it upon themselves to add their own regional menu items and run their own off-brand promotions. When the experience is inconsistent from store to store, it weakens the brand.

As well, franchisees often think it’s solely corporate’s responsibility to drive sales. They may not understand how important it is to build a positive reputation in their local community, to engage local businesses, and to provide an exemplary customer experience.
Franchisees are the public face of your brand, and it’s crucial to keep franchisees engaged with the brand and to make sure they understand the value of maintaining the brand image and message.

Here are some of the best practices that are relatively easy to put into action:

Create a solid brand spirit:
It’s crucial that franchisees understand and believe in the brand. When a brand has clear values, mission and positioning, it gives franchisees a foundation they rely on. If you want to ensure “buy in”, create a spirit of collaboration with your franchisees. Seek their opinions and give them a role in the definition of the brand platform. It creates a feeling of belonging and ownership and will go a long way to motivating franchisees. It will also help to ensure uniformity and consistency of the brand, which in turn will lead to increased consumer trust and engagement.

Recognize their efforts:
To increase loyalty and emphasize that feeling of belonging & community, gather with franchisees, recognize their efforts and celebrate their successes. Conventions, awards, news bulletins, and a franchisee intranet system are tools that can be put in place and that will drive engagement.

Give them the right tools:
Understand that franchisees are not marketers at heart. Give them plans and programs that are easy to understand and simple to execute in their own communities. Inspire them with real-life examples of how the programs will increase store traffic and sales. “If you follow these simple steps, here are the results you’ll achieve!” As well, demonstrate how a small financial investment on their part can result in a much greater return. As an example, ask franchisees to select one business in their community each Monday and provide a free catered lunch. Franchisees are reluctant to give away their product, but this type of program creates enormous goodwill and is a fantastic “sampling” opportunity with people who otherwise might never visit their store.

Keep the conversation going:
Continue to engage with your franchisees on a weekly, or better yet, daily basis. Your positive attitude is infectious. Keep spreading the word that the brand is thriving and that goals are being met. This is also an important message for potential franchisees. Remember, it’s not all about the numbers. Franchisees not only invest their money in your brand; they invest their entire lives – and they want to be part of positive, thriving brand culture.