What Foodservice Chains Are Doing to Reach New QSR Customers

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“In an age when consumers’ choices have never been broader, it’s critical to stand out among the sea of other brands and offerings,” begins a news article I read yesterday. No surprise, right? But it’s a reminder that the obvious isn’t always really obvious. And the article, in QSR magazine about foodservice chains’ efforts to reach a new generation of consumers, gives some interesting insight into what strategy these restaurants are using.

The article discusses these efforts in more detail, but it gives the example of these 4 companies (some of which our B2B foodservice clients sell to):

  • McDonald’s: The fast-food stalwart is leading with a re-vamped Ronald McDonald, including new clothes (no more jumpsuit, but instead a vest, cargo pants and a striped shirt), real-life engagement (sledding and playing soccer), and his very own Instagram account.
  • Taco Bell: Always a bit more rebellious, Taco Bell is taking aim at the QSR breakfast leader (McDonald’s) with its own breakfast menu, promoted by commercials featuring real people who are named Ronald McDonald, and grouchy old men mourning the loss of the way breakfast used to be.
  • Pizza Hut: Capitalizing on the old-is-new craze, the pizza chain teamed up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to introduce a new product (Cheesy Bites) and a new Ninja Turtle movie to passionate kids and their nostalgic parents. Pizza Hut even went so far as to create a fully operational 16-foot long Pizza Thrower for Comic-Con.
  • Chipotle: Arguably already the anti-establishment QSR, Chipotle isn’t resting. Building on the success of its Emmy- and Cannes-wining film “The Scarecrow,” Chipotle created an interactive game for iOS devices. 13 million film views and 650,000 game downloads shows people are paying attention and staying connected.

“You can’t just be disruptive once,” says Taco Bell CMO Chris Brandt in the article. “You have to be disruptive over and over again.”

Time will tell how successful these companies will be at continued disruption. But in the meantime, make sure the marketing your company is doing is being disruptive, standing out, and reaching your changing audience — whether that audience is hungry 11-year-old kids, or cost-conscious B2B buyers.

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