Restaurant Marketing Monthly Round-Up
Things are always moving in the multi-location restaurant marketing world. Read on to find a collection of some of our favorite recent trends and top stories to keep you in the loop:
In recent months, there have been a ton of fun merchandising moments from prominent multi-location restaurant chains. Earlier this season, pizza giant Papa John’s launched a satirical marketing campaign, Papa X Cheddar, inspired by popular Gen-Z street fashion culture. The launch featured a line of available-for-purchase streetwear, a downloadable hip-hop track, and authentic delivery uniforms available for secondhand purchase on online retailer Depop.
In similar funny fashion, Panera released a line of swimwear for 70% of its polled customers who are loyal soup-during-summer eaters. The promotion included a dedicated e-commerce website where customers could purchase everything from swim trunks to pool floats shaped like the chain’s signature bread bowls.
CHICKEN CHAIN COMPETITIONS
For over a year, fast food chains have been embedded in what’s been referred to as the “Chicken Sandwich War,” and promotions haven’t slowed down. During Pride Month, Burger King charitably donated a portion of every “Ch’King” sandwich sold to the Human Rights Campaign. Throwing a bit of shade to its chicken competitor, Chick-Fil-A, Burger King made note in its promotion that the deal is even applicable on Sundays.
While many restaurants are grappling with an ongoing chicken wing shortage, Wingstop creatively launched a virtual brand, Thighstop (available on DoorDash and Thighstop.com), to help alleviate the burden of its wing-heavy menu. On July 29, the chain got a little help from ThighStop to celebrate National Chicken Wing Day, by rebranding the holiday as “Thighstop Thigh Day”.
SWEET TREAT COLLABORATIONS
This was the season of brands teaming up for strangely sweet product collaborations. In an unlikely National Fried Chicken Day promotion, Chicago restaurant Frances’ Deli & Brunchery teamed up with Airheads to create the “Airheads Candy Chicken Sandy.”
In a similar pairing, ice cream chain Van Leeuwen partnered with Kraft to celebrate National Mac & Cheese Day. The result? Limited-edition ice cream modeled after their iconic comfort food. The ice cream not only tasted like mac & cheese, but also featured the distinct orange hue classically found in Kraft boxes.
With many restaurants struggling to recruit new hires, brands have been forced to get creative. To engage with candidates where they are, Chipotle took to Discord, a popular online chat platform often used by gamers, to host a virtual career fair. The server saw over 3,000 visitors in just one week, resulting in a 77% week-over-week increase in job applicants.
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