Fast Food 101: Using Marketing Tactics to Increase Sales

The secrets and reasons how fast food chains market so well.

Various elements have contributed to fast food restaurants closing. Others, however, despite similar trials and circumstances, were able to stand the test of time. Those companies, whether the fried chicken franchise Chick-Fil-A or big burger chain McDonalds, have one thing in common: their unique business tactics. By following some of these business tactics, major restaurants have been not only able to survive, but to thrive, even through America's economic rough patches.

Customer Coupons and Discounts

An oldie but goodie when it comes to bringing in customers; restaurants have become more creative overtime in how they distribute their coupons, including location-specific promotions and exclusive discounts for repeat customers. Another great tactic is taking advantage of off-peak hours. Most restaurants have certain hours that customers visit most, known as peak hours. For the slower hours, successful restaurants provide discounts to bring people in. For example, if a burger chain is slow for two hours between their breakfast and lunch rushes, they will create discount coupons either slightly lowering the price of certain menu items or they will offer a complimentary item when purchasing a meal, like a small fry of drink.

Social Media Advertisement

Majority of people are on social media today. Successful restaurants take advantage of this, either using their corporate or location-specific social media pages. For local customers, this page allows them to view location hour changes, deals, and give product feedback on a regular basis. Any news relating to that location can be easily accessed with the click of a mouse, which makes creating customer/franchise relationships even easier. Major restaurants like McDonalds take advantage of social media. Using Ronaldgrams, McDonalds allows younger customers to interact with their friends on their website, which increases their customer base.

Aroma Marketing

Think about the days you didn’t have the intention of getting something to eat until you walked past a restaurant and smelled their fresh baked cookies. Suddenly, you’re second-guessing if you want to buy some food. That is called aroma marketing. When restaurants purposefully leave foods out to fill the air with their product’s aroma, the scent triggers ghrelin, which is a hormone that increases your appetite. Restaurant chains like Aunt Annie's, Cinnabon, and Panera have mastered this technique by putting their ovens closer to the storefront and baking at certain times throughout the day when customers are more likely to be around. Once they smell the sweet treats, the products sell themselves.

Employee Benefits

Some restaurants, while focusing on quality customer service, understand the importance of creating a productive environment for their employees. Franchises like Chick-Fil-A are recognized by customers for going the extra mile to say “my pleasure” rather than “you’re welcome” or making sure food gets out quickly during peak hours. They also make sure their employees have great experiences and opportunities, including their True Inspiration Scholarship that allows employees to pursue an education of their choice. They also have great restaurant-employee relationship building. A great example is franchise owner Ashley Lamothe, Chick-Fil-A’s youngest ever franchise owner. While working in management, a franchise operator sparked Ashley’s interest in becoming an owner while in school originally for theater. Lamothe, a wife and new mother to a beautiful daughter, was able to grow with the company from a young age; as long as you are the legal Chick Fil A hiring age of 16, growing into a company leadership position is not only possible, but encouraged with great guidance from fellow employees and franchise owners.

Even with companies closing down due to low customer participation, your restaurant chain can be successful by following these easy and effective tactics. Creating opportunities to build customer relationships through promotions, social media interactions, and even loyalty discounts will show customers how much they are worth. These tricks will draw in customers and encourage them to both return and bring more customers for both food and the experience.

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