The fast food QSR industry has exploded in recent years thanks to its ability to provide a decent meal at an affordable price. Although some might criticize the fact that there can be high fat content in some of the dishes, there isn’t any other niche of the food industry that can provide the amount of calories for such an affordable price. That’s just one advantage you’ve got and these additional marketing ideas will help you enhance your other advantages.
It all begins with your ability to interact with customers on a local level. If you’ve got a franchise, then you’ve got national and regional marketing help already. For the Mom & Pop QSR, you’ve got the same challenges that any franchise has: generating local support. Develop relationships, interact with your neighborhood and the surrounding community, and just be there for people when they need you to be. There isn’t a more powerful way to market yourself locally.
Fast Food Marketing Ideas for Growing Business
1. Provide Added Value
Kids love to get Happy Meals or other similar QSR products not because of the food it contains, but because of the prize they receive. Adults are the same way. Anything that can add value to the purchase of a food item is something that will tempt people to visit your fast food establishment. Glasses, toys, stuffed animals, and even lighthouse statues have all shown success. Have a variety of items to collect for return visits, use themes, or even partner with other popular local brands to enhance this service.
2. Maximize Each Demographic
What works to bring a 55+ older customer into a fast food restaurant is likely different than what brings in a 32 year old father of three. Market to each demographic specifically and solve a problem for them in some way to maximize your marketing efforts. For households with kids, offer a discounted kid’s item with an adult purchase. For the senior crowd, offer age discounts or earlier dining times to accommodate their needs.
3. Direct Mail Works
A QSR already provides a pretty good deal, but coupons make that deal sweeter. Use direct mail to get coupons into the hands of your local customer base. You can send these out directly, have them inserted into the local newspaper, or included with the local weekly advertising flyer that is distributed to most zip codes.
4. Have a Good Loyalty Program
Your best customers should be rewarded for their loyalty in some way. Find a way to provide them with an added level of value so that they’ll want to keep coming back for more of your fast food options. It could mean free combo meals, upgrades or add-ons, or even free delivery depending on what your business model happens to be. Your program doesn’t have to be purchase-centered to be effective either. You could offer items based on the number of visits too.
5. Get Involved
Everything your fast food business does is centered around value. You already have an established value by providing an affordable meal. To enhance this value even further, you’ve got to go beyond lower prices and get involved with your community. Sponsor events, organize community improvement days, or do something special for an individual in your community as a surprise, like paying for their groceries.
6. Promote Charitable Work
Anything that brings people to your fast food restaurant is an effective marketing tool. If you’re part of a charitable program that allows people to bring in items to donate, then you’re also contributing to a good local cause that will further your local reputation. Toys for Tots is a common program because toys can easily be dropped off into a box over the holidays. Look for similar programs so that you can make a difference and drive more traffic.
7. Be Immersive
Part of the unique nature of the human mind is that it is attracted to immersive fantasy environments that allow for an escape from real life. If you create a marketing campaign that can surround each targeted customer in your preferred demographic, you’ll literally create a craving that can only be satisfied by a visit to your QSR.
8. Be Social
Social networking is a natural part of the modern human experience. With nearly 1 billion people using Facebook, 350 million people using Twitter, and countless millions using other social media options, any presence you can get into this extension of life that exists on the internet will create an instant personal relationship. People take possession of their likes, shares, pins, and retweets. If you create engaging content and interact on a person-to-person basis, you’ll become part of that person’s life and be at the top of their mind constantly in your industry.
9. Have Fun
A simple game can provide hours of fun for someone and give them hours of brand exposure as well. Develop a simple, interactive game online for your website and you’ll have invested into one of the best marketing tools of all.
10. Let People Choose
If you’re developing a new product, then let people choose some of the aspects of it. You can let them guess the spices in the food, name the new menu item, or contribute to the structure of the dish if you want. You’ll benefit because you’re receiving instant feedback from your demographic. Your customers benefit because they feel like they got some skin in the game. Adding a prize for the winners with the best ideas only enhances the value you’re providing.
11. Get Mobile
Because technology is so relational today, having a mobile marketing plan is essential for every QSR. It could be something simple, like having a website maximized for mobile device visits. You could incorporate an SMS campaign. Bluetooth sensors can help you send out coupons, discounts, and advertising messages to any equipped device that is within range. When you target people who are in the process of their day, you’re more likely to get a result.