A Premium QSR Experience
After having spent several years on the national McDonald’s advertising account and studying the marketplace and its competitors, I’m fascinated by the category and how it is affected by the economy, changing preferences and other market forces.
Today I grabbed lunch at a nearby QSR and became inspired to share some observations. There seem to be some marketing “givens” if a brand is to flourish, or, more dramatically, even survive:
1) Offer variety on your menu and offer new promotional items once a quarter to motivate additional visits
2) Use a value menu to bring customers in, and then “sell them up” to increase your average check
3) Avoid charging higher prices than your customers’ other options
4) Stretch operating hours to maximize number of transactions/revenue
5) Avoid making customers wait for their food
6) Ignore Millennials and how their preferences are changing the category at your own risk
Interestingly, the place I went for lunch breaks every one of these rules. And it’s still very successful — Chick fil A.
Their menu consists of chicken and chicken and a few sides. They seldom offer special limited time menu items to drive short-term sales. There’s no value menu and their food is more expensive overall than McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Taco Bell. Not only do they not stay open past 10PM, they are closed on Sundays. Lines for the drive thru are around the building and at the counter, you know you’ll never have more than your beverage in your hand when you move aside for the next customer.
The things they DO pay attention to are the ones that seem to change the game. Their food is consistent. Their restaurants are clean and well attended to. Their staff is well trained — I’ve never heard “my pleasure” more consistently nor have I heard it anywhere else. And they believe in service; in fact during my visit today, Glenda, a seventy-year-young lobby attendant, greeted folks as they walked in and out, took trays and disposed of trash for the customers, refilled beverages, and generally just wrapped each of us in the warmth of her smile. She was genuinely glad that I had come in…or at least that’s how she made me feel.
It could be all those things that make Chick fil A a customer favorite despite ignoring all the “givens” — or maybe we all just like chicken a lot.