What is in this article?:
- Restaurants ramp up advertising after election
- Differentiating in a crowded space
This year's fourth-quarter ad push comes with added pressure due to the 2012 Presidential campaigns.
Differentiating in a crowded space
To break through the flood of campaigns from other restaurants, some brands are taking extra steps to differentiate themselves and others are also taking a holistic approach built around integrating public relations, social media, or print and digital marketing. “The challenge for restaurants is, what makes your brand more inherently interesting?” Fromm said.
Fazoli’s went with an aggressive one-day offer to “Celebrate the Fork,” offering a free Pick Your Pasta entrée for every one purchased on Nov. 12. All month, Fazoli’s is placing life-size forks around its major markets and sending customers on a social-media scavenger hunt to find them. People who find the forks, take a picture of them, upload them to the brand’s Facebook or Twitter pages are entered into a sweepstakes for free spaghetti for a year.
“The election just consumed the majority of the country and made it a natural time for everyone to come out with a campaign afterward,” Hull said, “which is why it was important for us to do something a little bit different. … The continuity of all these campaigns around ‘celebrating the fork’ aligned nicely with the majority of our new food items.”
Uno Chicago Grill used ties with a celebrityand Veterans Day to promote a new offering. On Nov. 8, the 143-unit casual-dining chain launched its family-size pizzas, including two flavors developed with celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern.
The product, rolled out just before Veterans Day, was tied to a charity benefiting military veterans, Services for the UnderServed, or SUS. Uno will donate 10 percent of sales of each family-size pizza to SUS, which supports veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, many of whom were homeless and live with combat-related stress disorders.
“We’ve made it our mission to support the men and women of the military and their families, both here and in Iraq and Afghanistan,” chief executive Frank Guidara said in a statement. “I’m a Vietnam veteran, and I remember what the support of others meant to me during those years. We care, and we do what we can to show it.”
Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli’s introduced an expanded menu, labeled internally as “More for You,” featuring three lower-calorie options, new chopped salads, two new oven-baked sandwiches, and two samplers: the Spicy Sampler and the Robusto Sampler. The brand of more than 220 quick-service Italian restaurants also began offering a “spice it up” option and a “top it” option for any entrée to allow more customization.
Chief marketing officer Cathy Hull said the Nov. 5 launch date for the new menu fell the day before the election on purpose, mostly to lap its previous menu revamp from the prior year. However, Fazoli’s pushed the start of several marketing programs back after the election. “It was a little bit of a delay,” she noted, “because we knew we’d be out-shouted while the election was going on.”