Offering menu items usually reserved for the casual-dining segment is one of the ways Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc. is aiming to set itself apart from its quick-service competition.
Terri Snyder, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the Tampa, Fla.-based brand said that that’s why the company began offering Loaded Potato Skins topped with cheese sauce, bacon and ranch dressing last month. “People love potato skins, but they only get them in a casual setting,” she said.
The potato skins cost $2.99 for three pieces and are aimed toward the snack category, according to Snyder. They're made with the same seasoning as Checkers and Rally’s signature fries.
On April 1, Checkers and Rally’s will launch its next menu item: a Philly cheese steak sub consumers can order through the drive thru. The six-inch sandwich will cost $1.99, she said.
“Snacking and mini meals are some of the biggest growth in our category,” she said. “That’s because Millennials eat something like 4.2 times per day.”
The company’swing and ice cream offerings were similarly aimed, she said—they’re items people love to eat, but may not normally find in a quick-service setting.
In order to promote the Loaded Potato Skins, Checkers and Rally’s launched a Facebook campaign called “Potato Skin it 2 Win It,” a contest that encourages guests to send in photos of themselves enjoying the product, she said. In order to participate, guests must first “like” Checkers and Rally’s on Facebook, which builds engagement, she added. The contest ends March 18.
When customers “like” Checkers and Rally’s on Facebook they also become primed for future engagement with the brand on the social media site, she said.
“It’s becoming more and more a part of our marketing strategy,” Snyder said of social media and digital tactics. “Television is still the No. 1 way we communicate” along with point-of-purchase, in-store materials.
“Where it sits is that we’re trying to be relevant for our customers’ fast-food needs,” she said. “It’s a growth opportunity.”