Is there any doubt that fast food service is so pervasive in our society? Just about any type of quickly prepared food is available and they rake in billions of dollars annually. Are you having trouble succeeding in this arena? Are you at a loss as to why you are not bringing in the number of hungry mouths you feel you should? Are your sales just plain stagnant?
Fundamentally, Fast food is, has been and probably always will be about two things, Taste and Convenience. The taste part you probably already have nailed down, otherwise, you probably would not be trying to feed people. It is the convenience part that causes the problem. Let us tackle the issue by explaining right off the bat that true convenience is not just about how quickly and easily a customer can purchase some of that greasy goodness.
Assimilation of these 6 strategies into your fast food marketing campaign will undoubtedly broaden your understanding of convenience and, more importantly, remedy slack sales numbers.
1. OFFER POPULAR REGIONAL ITEMS
Burgers and Fries….. That about says it all doesn’t it? Not quite. Most people are not going to stop off the freeway or walk a block away just to get a bologna sandwich no matter how fast it is made. Depending on the region you wish to do business, it will benefit to pay attention to and make notes on the eating habits in your locale. Perhaps some people do mostly like cold cuts on white bread. If that is the case, make sure it is on the menu. It does not hurt to offer the occasional item that is totally different from what consumers are used to. Call it variety, cultural awareness or anything else you like, but mostly stick with what works depending on the area your business is located. This strategy is your “bread and butter”, so to speak.
2. ENCOURAGE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
Listening to your customer and heeding certain suggestions is one of the best ways to make a marginally successful business wildly successful. True, your little taco restaurant could benefit from a web site or print media marketing. However, if you are into SMS marketing, there are added bonuses the print media cannot equal. Set up a system through your SMS campaign that allows customers to “vote” on their favourite items you sell. Did you release a new turkey taco or something wild? Have them text “terrific” to 545454 or “terrible” to 545454. This way, not only are you building a customer contact base but you are getting feedback too and hopefully you are paying attention to it.
3. OFFER REGULAR SPECIALS
Another great benefit of SMS marketing is the fact that you can offer specials quickly and more often. Regardless of how regularly you want to do a special, at least include them as part of your management style. People love deals and it is a great way to introduce new products that otherwise may cause scepticism.
4. HIGH VISIBILITY
Get your message out there repeatedly. There is no such thing as too much repetition in this game. Advertise, advertise and advertise some more, by any and all means necessary: newspapers, magazines, TV, or mobile marketing. The name of the game with fast food is instant recognition. From a psychological standpoint, Recognition Prime the senses with savoury descriptions of your blue ribbon burger and when people see a burger billboard advertisement, they will be thinking of your burger.With regard to SMS marketing, it is important to realize that just like using it for customer feedback, it is the quickest way to keep an audience informed of the direction your business is heading, new menu selections or deletions. You can even electronically send out coupons for various value meals that, until now, has been the sole domain of print advertising. Think of it in this manner; your billboard is always in the customer’s hand!
5. KEEP COSTS LOW, TASTE/QUALITY HIGH AND CONCENTRATE ON BEING FAST FOOD
This is such an obvious statement to make but bears repeating. Not a few fast food restaurants have closed their doors because they failed to concentrate on the fast and convenient and tried to morph into a traditional sit-down restaurant with a fast food feel. Sometimes this may work but unless you plan to go this route and plan for it specifically, more often than not, failure will ensue.
6. BRING THE KIDS
These days child compatible menus are ever popular and growing. Families see fast food service as a great way of getting the children out of the house for a less refined eating atmosphere and minimize the chances of little junior destroying a fancy dining experience. So, prepare a course that is palatable for little Johnny or Suzy; prepare it in such a way that mom and dad will approve. The litmus test, though, will always be the little tyke him/herself. Think on the ubiquitous Happy Meal. It has always been a huge seller because of its simplicity. It has games or puzzles on the box and usually some sort of desirable toy, just the thing to distract junior long enough for the rest of the family eat their meals in peace.
Of course, using bribery to keep junior occupied is not always the intention here. You could offer educational items that can keep a child’s interests. Consider including in a kids meal electronic downloads of music, videos or games for a cell phone. We all know kids are ever tech-savvy these days so it is not as far-fetched an idea as it first seems.
Think of the above marketing strategies for fast food restaurants and incorporate some of them into your fast food play-book. Realistically, anyone could become the next McDonald’s. But if you do not, with the amount of money spent on fast food, you can still get in on the game and do exceedingly well.
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