Carl’s Jr. is starved for attention

For years, CKE’s Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s brands have been known as much for the models in their ads as for anything they have done in the kitchen. It seems their young, male audience liked the ads quite a bit. Or at least paid attention. The ads aren’t just famous for having slim, carefully lit women in bikinis eating their burgers. They’re also famous for hiring very relevant women in bikinis eating their burgers. Heidi Klum, Paris Hilton and Kate Upton are just a few of the ladies employed by the brand(s) and always at just the right time in their career. They even featured Kim Kardashian in an ad (for salads) earlier in her rise to fame when the audience wasn’t seeing her literally everywhere.

Former CEO Andrew Puzder credits the approach with helping to ‘save the brand.’ But as Carl’s Jr. flags along with most of the industry, the shift is on. The brand is moving on aggressively. They’re using a new cast of characters of their own design to destroy to old elements of the brand, such as “bikinis.”

Commenters held the show hostage until the actor held a shoe on his head

The site on which the video is hosted tells you more about the confusion Carl’s Jr. is facing. Twitch, the extremely popular streaming video site for gamers and other growing niche interests was chosen most likely for the cool factor and separation from Google. As the number of views tells you, this approach is far different from their Superbowl spots. The ongoing fragmentation of TV and media is driving down their ability to reach a large swath of their audience with impact.

This is precisely why many smaller brands have turned to influencers. Influencers are hand-picked to appeal to each of the fragments of the audience that brands were once able to reach with TV every Thursday without fail. People perk up momentarily to hear what an influencer passes through their stream of content about style, food or brands. It’s a way to make a message a bit more attention worthy to a focused group. This is how marketing and advertising is evolving on the internet.

But especially on a channel like Twitch, where content is authentic and rarely staged, it’s not the place to stage a show about blowing up the old brand assets. In fact, the content of the show – actors portraying the titular Carl Jr. and his father Carl Sr. along with a wider cast of characters – is more akin to the kind of creative that would have made sense on TV. But it feels out of place and awkward on Twitch. The viewcount supports that. The top video in the set has under 15,000 views; smaller than the worst TV ad the brand has ever run. And those views are for a video clip in which the commenters held the show hostage until the actor held a shoe on his head.

Curiously, the brand had the formula for the internet age even before Twitch was invented. No, not nearly nude models eating messy fast food. This is not about the oddly sexist content of their past TV ads. But attention hacking with names their audience knew – or certainly found worth Googling – was the formula most brands are embracing online. Carl’s Jr. is pivoting to a branded version of “Arrested Development” for an audience that watches more streaming videogames than long-form television.

Right now, brands are still comparing impressions evenly and feeling that any attention is good attention. Time will tell if the strategy pays off.

Transcript of Food & Restaurant Podcast – Does this Sandwich Offer Make Starbucks a QSR?

Transcript of Food & Restaurant Marketing Podcast – Episode: Does this Sandwich Offer Make Starbucks a QSR?
Starbucks, sandwich, LTO
The sandwich combo LTO that sparked this chat.

[00:00:06] Adam Pierno: Welcome back to another episode of Food and Restaurant Marketing. Once again, with me is Mr. Daniel T. Santy.

[00:00:18] Dan Santy: Hello.

[00:00:20] Adam: We have a fun topic today because we are experts in restaurant marketing, but we are also consumers of restaurant marketing. This topic came up pretty organically over the long weekend with some exchange of some texts and some kind of quippy humor, and also sparked from a conversation about a post that we published a couple weeks ago about a brand that you might have heard of. It’s a new upstart. What’s it called again, sir?

[00:00:48] Dan: I think it’s called Starbucks.

[00:00:51] Adam: That’s correct. That’s correct. Yes, Starbucks. I always get it mixed up. It is a fantastic brand and we will definitely link to the original post that relates to this, although is not 100% related to this conversation, but they’re loosely siblings to each other, I guess. It’s interesting because I got a text from Dan and we both kind of shared a chuckle. Go ahead and tell them what you sent me.

[00:01:19] Dan: I was in Instagram, my Instagram. That’s a social media platform.

[00:01:25] Adam: [laughs] I’ve read about it.

[00:01:29] Dan: That at an ad for Starbucks that has– what’s their small coffee called?

[00:01:36] Adam: Tall.

[00:01:37] Dan: Get a tall and a breakfast sandwich for guess what price point; five dollars, the famous QSR price point.

[00:01:45] Adam: The five-dollar-foot-long.

[00:01:46] Dan: Yes. It’s been around forever now.

[00:01:48] Adam: Yes, and I was pretty surprised too. The visual did not lead with the coffee. The coffee was background to the breakfast sandwich. If you changed the colors out, it could’ve looked like a McDonald’s ad.

[00:01:58] Dan: Right and they were pushing breakfast exactly as what the occasion that they were driving. So, I found it very interesting and then it wasn’t too much later that day that I was watching television and here comes a 30 on the same promotion. So, breakfast at Starbucks, five bucks, sandwich and a tall coffee.
I was so fascinated because the brand really hasn’t used television very extensively number one. Number two; when they have used it they’ve really promoted more their high-end brand or clover or different high-end beans and so forth, which makes sense because it’s on brand with who they are and who they’re continuing to want to be as a luxury brand. But to see them pushing a five dollar price point was fascinating, I thought what was equally fascinating is when I toured three stores only to discover that there is no POP in the stores; zero.

[00:03:01] Adam: We had some fun with the media that you saw on Sunday or Monday, but that was the big aha. I went into Starbucks today for another points challenge because I’m addicted to that game. I was looking around too knowing that you had seen all that media, which I haven’t seen anything, but when I opened up the app walking into the store, there was a promo for that same offer. In the store, though, I didn’t see any POP. The POP was still classic Starbucks, like high-end very brand–

[00:03:32] Dan: Yes, they were selling some latte [unintelligible 00:03:37]

[00:03:37] Adam: Yes, they have a new one that I can’t pronounce either [Editor’s note: It’s called Cascara]. I’m not even going to try.

[00:03:40] Dan: Right. [laughs]

[00:03:42] Adam: They always have a new latte that they’re pushing it seems like.

[00:03:46] Dan: I guess on the surface, I was startled because I thought, I wonder what’s happening from sales perspective. What’s the strategy behind this LTO if it’s indeed an LTO? Is this something they’re going to continuously push? But because they’re going head to head with McDonald’s obviously, and their huge push and huge success, I know Subway’s now doing breakfast. BK is doing breakfast.

[00:04:20] Adam: Taco Bell.

[00:04:20] Dan: Jack in the Box

[00:04:21] Adam: Everybody now is getting into the breakfast day part. [crosstalk]

[00:04:23] Dan: Yes. So, I guess you could argue based on that, that maybe all those brands were beginning to erode-

[00:04:31] Adam: Do you think? That’s my question.

[00:04:31] Dan: -traffic at Starbucks.

[00:04:33] Adam: It has to be a defensive move, right?

[00:04:36] Dan: Right.

[00:04:37] Adam: It has to be.

[00:04:37] Dan: Absolutely, yes.

[00:04:39] Adam: Because otherwise– that’s the day part they’ve been trying to build off of. They closed down their wine test that they were doing. They just shut that down kind of overnight. They gave up on that evening day part, which it was a noble effort. I wouldn’t have been surprised if they could’ve pulled it off, but maybe they’re just retrenching about on their craveable core like we’ve discussed in the past.

[00:05:02] Dan: Yes. I should’ve ordered it, to be honest with you.

[00:05:05] Adam: Just to see what the experience was?

[00:05:06] Dan: Yes, see what the experience was and to see if they even– to see whether the staff, the barista even knew about it.

[00:05:16] Adam: If they knew it was an offer or a special or something worth talking about, or if they just wrung it up and gave you a microwave sandwich.

[00:05:21] Dan: Yes. I also wouldn’t mind tasting it to see if it’s– to see what the quality is behind it, too, because I have a– excuse me, I have a high expectation for quality there. Food’s a risky business especially when you get it out of the package. I think they’ve done a good job with their packaged product that they have. You can pick up that snack box, obviously, the yogurts and some other things like that. But all over sudden when you’re doing prepared items that are getting microwaved, you just want to go–

[00:05:56] Adam: It’s not a good look. I don’t order the food there for that reason. I see them unwrapping it and I see them putting it in a microwave and it doesn’t feel like you’re saying. It doesn’t match my expectations of the high-end experience. I wonder how they’re planning to address that going forward or if they– I guess it doesn’t seem to bother them too much.

[00:06:17] Dan: Yes. It’ll be interesting to see what they do. Clearly, there must be a traffic issue.

[00:06:23] Adam: It’s got to be and to drive traffic to an item like food where they know there is a potential for a disconnect in the experience, that’s pretty interesting move, but it’s got to be a traffic and upsell move, right? Five-dollar combo?

[00:06:38] Dan: I guess, but think about this. Their margins on a latte are ridiculous, right? They’ve got to be.

[00:06:46] Adam: Right.

[00:06:46] Dan: So now all over sudden, your sending me to get a sandwich and we all know food and paper cost. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve got a whole another dynamic and food’s so much more expensive and the margin on food is difficult and you’re giving me a cup of coffee for five bucks. It’s a interesting play all the way around.

[00:07:06] Adam: Well, yes. It was a tall coffee. When was the last time you ordered a small coffee anywhere? I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a small coffee.

[00:07:15] Dan: Yes. No, I haven’t either.

[00:07:17] Adam: So, you’re upgrading that and contributing to the margin?

[00:07:20] Dan: You think maybe I’m getting that sandwich, but saying give me a Grande?

[00:07:24] Adam: Yes, or you’re turning that coffee– I think that’s a drip coffee. You’re turning that into a chai or something fancy.

[00:07:29] Dan: Maybe.

[00:07:30] Adam: You’re a fancy gentleman.

[00:07:31] Dan: I am very fancy.

[00:07:32] Adam: For sure.

[00:07:33] Dan: That’s interesting, Adam. I never even thought about that. I wonder how they would price that. We ought to test that. I want that five-dollar special, but I want a Grande.

[00:07:44] Adam: I bet you that’s what the baristas– if there’s any training, that’s what they’re trained to do. You sure you want a tall?

[00:07:48] Dan: Yes.

[00:07:49] Adam: You sure you don’t want a venti?

[00:07:50] Dan: Yes.

[00:07:51] Adam: Right? You sure you want a–?

[00:07:51] Dan: Or a Latte.

[00:07:52] Adam: Right, and just, “Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.” Because when you think about the original brand promise, when you were introduced to Starbucks, you weren’t introduced to it at a QSR level at all. It was this special experience. It was experience coffee.

[00:08:11] Dan: It’s experiential.

[00:08:12] Adam: The coffee house experience.

[00:08:14] Dan: Right. The whole concept was to come on in, relax, as you pointed out in your article, get yourself a cup of coffee, sit down, relax, visit with friends, use their free wi-fi–

[00:08:26] Adam: Spend time.

[00:08:27] Dan: Yes.

[00:08:27] Adam: Spend time, but now the question that I’m asking is with– you start out with this exclusive experience. You start out with this perceived luxury where I feel like I’m treating myself. Now, we’ve moved so far towards mass acceptance. I mean, there are honestly places where– who we were just talking to that was telling us there was a place in Portland where there were three Starbucks on a four-corner street?

[00:08:52] Dan: Yes, exactly.

[00:08:55] Adam: They’re so mass, it can’t still be luxury. So, now when I see QSR messaging, I really get curious about what they’re thinking about strategically inside there.

[00:09:06] Dan: Yes. I think that they’re probably– there’s got to be stress. There just has to be stress. The brands matured significantly. There’s so much competition especially from the independents. Let’s face it; the hipsters, the Millennials, they tend to really like to support local. There’s about a push for local. American Express does that at the holiday [crosstalk]

[00:09:35] Adam: Yes, Small Business Saturdays.

[00:09:37] Dan: Small business. So, all of a sudden, there’s a lot of push-back for a big massive chain like that and the ubiquity of it.

[00:09:46] Adam: Well, let’s take that fork in the road. Would you expect then because I’m thinking of places locally around here like Cartel or other places here in Arizona, there’s also Blue Bottle which is like a bigger chain. There’s a lot of places that are more–

[00:10:02] Dan: Dutch Bros.

[00:10:03] Adam: Yes. They have a more local, cult feel to them than Starbucks, which is your mass brand, your McDonald’s of the coffee industry. So, they have two choices; they can just say, “We’re the guerrilla. We are the McDonald’s of coffee, get on board. We’re everywhere. You can’t avoid us.” Or they could try to figure out how to make themselves seem smaller. They could camouflage themselves as a smaller brand, but it seems like this is a very QSRy [Editor’s note: QSRy is definitely not a word] offer.

[00:10:33] Dan: This is just saying, “We’re the gorilla and we’re going to keep going down this path and act that way.” They might be winning or surviving, or thriving because we don’t have their numbers, obviously, by sheer mass, by volume. Convenience is their big play today to your point about that Portland corner. Maria and I were in San Francisco and there was one directly across the street from the other.

[00:11:04] Adam: Right. Right, exactly.

[00:11:05] Dan: You see that a lot, especially in the major metros where there’s a lot of walking. But all of a sudden, it really becomes– it’s not a choice, it’s a convenience. It’s like when I set a meeting with somebody and they want to go have a cup of coffee, typically it’s like, “Well, let’s meet at that Starbucks at the corner of.” So, it’s just convenient.

[00:11:25] Adam: You almost could name any corner and there is actually a Starbucks there, whether you knew it or not.

[00:11:30] Dan: That’s exactly right.

[00:11:31] Adam: I think that’s true.

[00:11:32] Dan: That’s exactly right.

[00:11:32] Adam: Well, do you think that’s a negative? That it’s so ubiquitous, that I say, “No, no let’s go somewhere else. Let’s go somewhere special. Let’s go– meet me at this place. Meet me over here, or let’s do something else.”

[00:11:47] Dan: I know McDonald’s doesn’t exactly parallel this, however, McDonald’s is just now eking themselves out of a long-term traffic problem they were having. They were convenience play, right? Because think about the sheer number of stores that they have.

[00:12:05] Adam: And locations. They’re the A, A, A, real estate.

[00:12:08] Dan: Always, always.

[00:12:09] Adam: Easy on, easy off.

[00:12:10] Dan: They’re upgrading all those locations, too, to make it easier for drive thru. So, they’re really upping the convenience play there, but that’s what I mean is that McDonald’s got there, and now they’ve had to really reinvent themselves to win back customers. The breakfast day part was huge, a big play there. They’re obviously doing variety things, but I wonder if they’re not really damaging the brand with this strategy. It doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

[00:12:42] Adam: Something’s weird with both of those because McDonald’s had great luck when they launched all day breakfast, but it’s cooled off now they have a traffic problem again. That’s kind of a relapse of a traffic problem, if you will.
As people adapted and said, “Okay, I’ve had an Egg McMuffin at 2:00PM. That’s not interesting anymore.” So, they’re sort of probably retreating back to pushing breakfast at breakfast time, and Starbucks is saying, “No, no, no. We’re going to– you gave up this spot, we’re going to try to hold it.”

[00:13:09] Dan: It’s not a defensible competitive advantage, breakfast offerings.

[00:13:14] Adam: It’s not.

[00:13:15] Dan: Everybody just followed suit.

[00:13:16] Adam: No, and you could go to–

[00:13:17] Dan: Boom, boom, boom.

[00:13:17] Adam: I can go to QuikTrip. I mean, you can get a pretty good breakfast almost anywhere. I mean, compared to a breakfast sandwich, it’s not hard. So, it’s–

[00:13:26] Dan: So, all of a sudden, they’ve got challenges that aren’t familiar to them.

[00:13:33] Adam: Yes, I think so. So, trying to get into that QSR space for Starbucks is not familiar to them at all. I don’t think it’s familiar to their core customer. I think their customer, in general, has obviously grown up seeing that stuff, but the customer that they covet, I don’t think is responding to that $5 offer.

[00:13:53] Dan: Right, because their core customer is that person who goes and gets that exact drink that they love, and get– you know, my ex-wife got the PITA, the pain in the– I called it the pain in the– yes.

[00:14:07] Adam: [laughs] Because you got that fancy drink and I need it shaken three times, and exactly 176 degrees.

[00:14:11] Dan: Exactly, and that’s their core. Think about the people that come in and just– they have their white cup with the green circle on it, and it’s the same thing they get every day, day in and day out. So, interesting play for sure.

[00:14:26] Adam: Well, they’ve been so successful at getting those people. With the way that they have leveraged that app to get people into, really into habitual visitation and going in and ordering that same thing. Now, it’s like, “I hit one button, it orders me yesterday’s order. I don’t even have to think about it.”

[00:14:44] Daniel: Is that right?

[00:14:44] Adam: Yes, it’s amazing. It’s fantastic.

[00:14:48] Dan: Yes, because you don’t have to talk to the barista, that’s why you like it. [laughs]

[00:14:50] Adam: I don’t have to talk to anybody. I’m not very social. If you’re listening, do not call me. You can leave me a voicemail, I guess.

[00:14:57] Dan: You know, one of the other things I want to talk about is related to this, just going back to the marketing. You know how much we hammer on the idea of craveable, right?

[00:15:08] Adam: Yes.

[00:15:09] Dan: That commercial, I didn’t go, “Oh my gosh. I got to get that.”

[00:15:14] Adam: I’m going to post the ad. I took a screenshot of it because actually I was a little bit put off. It looks like what you actually get, which is not how you do it. You’ve got to take some liberties when you’re talking about food and make it look craveable.

[00:15:28] Dan: Yes, where’s the cheese dripping off that thing or-

[00:15:30] Adam: Yes, it looks like it just came out of the microwave.

[00:15:31] Dan: -somebody consuming it, perhaps?

[00:15:34] Adam: Right. Maybe they’re easy on the eyes, as well. Male or female, I don’t care, but attractive to look at.

[00:15:40] Dan: It was none of that.

[00:15:42] Adam: Could it be a local offer that they’re just [crosstalk]-

[00:15:45] Dan: Testing in Phoenix?

[00:15:46] Adam: -10 zip codes?

[00:15:48] Dan: That’s a great point. I never thought about that, but maybe that’s why there’s no POP. Phoenix is a notorious test market for many, many brands, national brands.

[00:16:00] Adam: But we’ve seen it on TV. They’re too sophisticated. They wouldn’t miss that. It would be in the store if they wanted it in the store.

[00:16:08] Dan: They could be testing– maybe they’re just testing the offer, see if it has any measurable impact on traffic.

[00:16:20] Adam: Yes, that’s probably part of it. It’s definitely an interesting move. But now, it looks like they are in QSR mode. Let’s talk pricing. You brought up margins on coffee, and those margins used to be more ridiculous. Starbucks sort of hurt themselves by becoming so successful that the supply cost more money, so they cut their margins. I’m sure they do okay.

[00:16:44] Dan: I’m sure they do.

[00:16:46] Adam: But getting into that $5 game, and having like a meal offer, weird?

[00:16:52] Dan: Very, and dangerous. I think you said it. If the audiences tends to be a little more upscale and willing to spend that 3.50 to 5.50, whatever it costs to get their latte there, now all of a sudden you’re telling me I can have a coffee and a sandwich for less than my latte cost?

[00:17:12] Adam: Right, yes. What about the brand perception? Their value prop is not– the word value doesn’t belong anywhere near their value profits. You don’t go in there to save money.

[00:17:27] Dan: No.

[00:17:27] Adam: Right? Like Subway, a $5-footlong? Let’s go.

[00:17:28] Dan: You expect it. Right.

[00:17:31] Adam: Right? But I know what I’m getting into.

[00:17:33] Dan: You just put yourself on, I think, which is our point about this whole thing is you’re now putting yourself on par in a competitive space with QSR, which is a male 18 to 24-year-old [laughs] audience in spades.

[00:17:44] Adam: Yes, it’s not your audience.

[00:17:45] Dan: So, is that what you want? You want men 18 to 24 coming in the restaurant? I don’t think so.

[00:17:52] Adam: Well, let’s talk about the flip side of that because I hadn’t thought about it until you just said that audience, that demo. Are you going to compare favorably? If I go to McDonald’s and I get their coffee and whatever their breakfast sandwich is, and then I go to Starbucks the next day for five bucks, and I get their coffee which, in my opinion is better, and their sandwich, which probably isn’t all that much worse, does that $5 feel like a deal at that point? Does that change perception?

[00:18:21] Dan: Think about this.

[00:18:22] Adam: But it’s a small coffee versus a 20 ounce coffee at McDonald’s, probably.

[00:18:25] Dan: Right, there’s that, but then there’s the experience. So, QSR is known for, what? Being quick.

[00:18:33] Adam: It’s in the name.

[00:18:33] Dan: You could–
It’s in the name. I’ll give you three guesses. You can find yourself in a Starbucks and it’s not quick, because depending on what time of day it is, if you’re being driven in there for breakfast, it’s going to be morning rush hour.

[00:18:50] Adam: I mean, prepare yourself to stand there and wait with this rush of online orders.

[00:18:54] Dan: Really? That’s going to be an experience downfall for them-

[00:19:02] Adam: Great point.

[00:19:02] Dan: -if they drive traffic. So, if they do successfully drive a QSR– if they steal a QSR occasion, which appears they’re trying to do, then that QSR customer is going to go, “What is this? This isn’t–?”

[00:19:19] Adam: Right. I’m standing here waiting for 10 minutes for this thing to come out of the microwave. At least McDonald’s has the courtesy to hide the microwave behind the–
There’s nothing wrong with microwave breakfast sandwiches. We love them. It’s delicious. Well yes, but I think that offer in particular tells me they’re looking at the QSR model. The pricing tells me that. TV, as a medium, mass market, QSR model, I mean we’re just talking about-

[00:19:50] Dan: A hundred percent.

[00:19:51] Adam: -Burger King, it’s the number one driver for craveability, now they’re on TV. What did the TV spot look like?

[00:19:58] Dan: You know, it felt a lot like that Instagram post. It was like a voiceover with–

[00:20:06] Adam: Solid green.

[00:20:07] Dan: Yes, the camera moved towards the sandwich and the coffee and five bucks.

[00:20:14] Adam: I’ll find it on YouTube and try to post it with this, so people can see it and see what we’re talking about here but–

[00:20:22] Dan: Obviously, the production quality was fine, but there was not a lot of thought put into how to position that sandwich.

[00:20:33] Adam: The food styling.

[00:20:34] Dan: You’re right, and all of that. The audio wasn’t something about the ingredients and–

[00:20:42] Adam: Was it just a straight up? Come in and get a five dollar–?

[00:20:46] Dan: What I remember. Keep in mind, I’d be careful because I did just see it one time and I probably [crosstalk]
But again, it wasn’t– I think about what Carl’s Jr. does with that burger and all the QSRs. They show off that food we call the food porn. There was no food porn going on here.

[00:21:10] Adam: Yes. They aren’t trying to make it look like, “Just come in and get this deal. We have got to get rid of these sandwiches. They’re going to go bad.”

[00:21:15] Dan: [laughs] We got to get rid of these sandwiches.

[00:21:17] Adam: But what do you think of TV? You said earlier and I agree that when they’ve been on TV it’s been more lofty. It’s either been their packaged product or CPG kind of angle on Starbucks or brand. They’ve done holiday themed or like Frappuccino branding but they haven’t done, “Here’s your offer LTO stuff.” That’s it. They have the pricing. They have the offer and they have their on TV, the number one driver of craving, where are they going from here? Give me some prognostication.

[00:21:49] Dan: I think it’s going to fail, and the reason is what I was just talking about earlier. We know that television is a highly effective medium. So, if TV proves out in this scenario and does drive that occasion, I think the experience is going to not live up to expectations in terms of wait time to get the product and so forth and how I have to order and the environment I’m in, too. I think it’s flawed.

[00:22:25] Adam: So, if they get those people that they are trying to get–

[00:22:28] Dan: I don’t think you’re going to get it. I don’t think you’ll get the second occasion out of them.

[00:22:31] Adam: No, but I don’t think you’re going to win the Taco Bell audience that just defected from McDonalds and back again, and now back again, it’s not going to Starbucks to try.

[00:22:42] Dan: No way.

[00:22:43] Adam: They have to deep fry the sandwich in I don’t know, Frappuccino. I don’t even know what kind of gimmickry they would have to do to get that audience.

[00:22:50] Dan: Yes. They’d have to wrap it in some kind of chicken fried goo or something like that [laughs].

[00:22:55] Adam: Well, so much of this stuff– chicken, yes that sandwich. So much of this seems about novelty and there’s nothing novel about this, but it’s also not sophisticated. It doesn’t have the Starbucks like polish. Everything they do is really freaking polished.

[00:23:11] Dan: Everything.

[00:23:12] Adam: But this doesn’t.

[00:23:13] Dan: Again, I couldn’t pronounce the name of that latte because I went to three different stores and every store had that POP up promoting that new latte.

[00:23:22] Adam: Yes, you walk in and it hits your right there.

[00:23:23] Dan: Yes, it was on the door then it was right up above [crosstalk]

[00:23:26] Adam: It looks pretty good.

[00:23:27] Dan: It does.

[00:23:28] Adam: The appetite appeal on that is really well done.

[00:23:30] Dan: Right, right. But that’s their core, right? That’s what they do. That’s what they do well. It looked high-end to me. I looked at it and said, “That’s probably five bucks for one of those bad boys.” More power to them if they sell those because five bucks for that probably has a hell of a lot more margin than five bucks for a tall and a sandwich.

[00:23:50] Adam: Yes. I’m not kidding. I just was at Sunoco filling up my car and they had an ad, an A-frame in the parking lot that said “Our New Breakfast Sandwich,” and it looked better.

[00:24:03] Dan: Seriously?

[00:24:04] Adam: It looked better and I’m sure–

[00:24:04] Dan: Sunoco’s got a better–? [laughs]

[00:24:05] Adam: It’s like a roller dog. You know what I mean? It’s an AMPM, it’s not Sunoco, so I stand corrected. Still, though, the photography looked better. Not comparing the sandwich, the food product and the food product, or the experience. But just that food photo, I was like, “Hey, maybe I should go into AMPM and get the roller dog action here.” But I didn’t. I didn’t look at it and think it looked terrible. Starbucks going– it just doesn’t look like their brand.

[00:24:32] Dan: No. Again, it’s very fascinating. It will be interesting to watch. Probably we’ll be doing a follow up podcast on this.

[00:24:41] Adam: Yes, the stock price will be triple and it will be like, “Starbucks booming breakfast sandwich business.” It could have been predicted.

[00:24:47] Dan: Stealing shares from all QSRs.

[00:24:51] Adam: You can almost put it in writing. It’s going to happen. All right, well, I think we’ve covered this one. Thank you all for joining us. If you disagree, you’re wrong, but if you want to try to debate and have some fun with this topic, we would definitely love to hear from you. You can find us on Twitter @F&RM or you can email us Dan@foodandrestaurantmarketing or adam@foodandrestaurantmarketing. Thanks for listening.

[00:25:16] Dan: As always, eat well.

Transcriptions by Go Transcript.

sandwich, Starbucks, experience, brand, LTO, daypart

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Transcript of Food & Restaurant Podcast – Steal Your Share

Transcript of Food & Restaurant Marketing Podcast – Episode: Steal Your Share

[00:00:05] Adam Pierno: All right. Welcome back to another episode of Food and Restaurant Marketing. We appreciate everybody tuning in once again. I’m here with Dan Santy joining me once again and I’m Adam Pierno.

[00:00:17] Daniel Santy: Good Afternoon.

[00:00:19] Adam: We are talking about a very fun subject for us because we read the most ridiculous articles in our quest for news and information. If you stack them all into one pile, I think this topic is probably twice as tall as the next closest pile. You want to tell them what we’re talking about today?

[00:00:41] Dan: The prediction of the demise of casual dining as we know it today. There have been so many articles on this topic and especially at the end of ’16 and the beginning of ’17.

[00:00:54] Adam: It’s just big building up steam like the old cartoon snow ball coming down the mountain. Right now, it’s got Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry fully enveloped in that snowball as it continues to roll down the hill just building energy in the media really.

[00:01:05] Dan: Yes. It’s quite fascinating to watch all the predictions about casual dining, to watch all the prediction about the success of fast casual, QSR. In some respects, I think every restaurant chain is facing enormous head winds going in to ’17 whether it be traffic, same stores sales growth and new competition.

[00:01:42] Adam: That’s the thing that always gets left out. I mean in the Miller Pulse study we go quarter by quarter, month after month if you’re looking. Traffic is down or flat. Sales are down or flat. For everybody, it’s up point one percent for a fast casual, which is the fastest grower.

[00:02:01] Dan: Right. You’re predicting 1% decline for casual dining but fast casual is getting 0.1% increase. It’s funny how the reporters spin the data to get their message out, that they want to get out there. They don’t want it to be negative about casual dining.

[00:02:22] Adam: They want to steer away the story, the narrative for some reason. That’s part of what we’re going to talk about today and then, as as always, we try to come with some solutions on how to stem the tide if you’re really facing this. But, my question Dan initiated this topic and it’s of interest to Dan in particular. So I want to hear his thoughts overall. I don’t think although casual dining has taken a pounding for a dozen years and I’m not saying it’s free and clear, people still do go.

[00:02:53] Dan: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. If your traffic’s down 1%, that means there’s still a lot of people walking through your doors and dining and spending their discretionary dollars. My attitude about it is if I owned a casual dining chain, I’d be fighting like hell right now to steal share. Not only from my direct competitors, maybe other casual dining chains theoretically. You would have to argue that that’s where you should start. But I’d be fighting like hell to get people to come in over fast casual and say, “Hey, up your game. Come get better food. Come get a better experience than beans and rice thrown in a foil bowl.”

[00:03:41] Adam: Don’t you dare. don’t you dare. don’t you dare besmirch my fast casual.

[00:03:45] Dan: [laughs] I’m [unintelligible 00:03:44].

[00:03:47] Adam: Well, that’s definitely part of the problem is — There’s an article that we’re writing right now for that talks about identifying your competitor to help you identify who you are and what your actual strengths are as a brand. I think what happens to casual dining is they were involved in an absolute slaughter just on the competitive casual dining front. Before, 15 years ago, before fast casual even came into the picture, and then all of a sudden the was just this new wave of competitors who was eating the bottom out of their business.

[00:04:21] Dan: Well, everybody — I shouldn’t say everybody, but I think people fail to remember though is that one of the reasons fast casual became so successful over the last, let’s call it a decade, was the recession. The great recession drove people’s behavior to the fast casual because it was less expensive. You didn’t have to leave the tip and so forth. You still could dine out. I wouldn’t call that dining but you could still go out or bring home a good meal.
Let’s face it, a lot of fast casuals are putting out really quality product right now. So there wasn’t a big sacrifice. Now, it’s time though. I mean the economy is back, in my opinion and it’s time for casual dining to retake the consumers’ mind. Retake the consumers’ desire to have a dining experience. I think everyone’s lost on that. People still love to eat out and be with their family, be with their friends, be with their co-workers what ever it may be. Casual dining has to quit lamenting the problems and seek to find where the successes are.

[00:05:40] Adam: Right. I think they have to really look at their own individual experience instead of the obsessing over the category failure. You know, if you’re solution is well, it’s how can we get more general than this. But fast casuals, millennials love it. So what else do millennials like? They like technology so we’re going to put a Ziosk on the table. Well, no don’t do that.

[00:06:05] Dan: Please don’t.

[00:06:05] Adam: Red Robin, I’m looking at you. Don’t do that and then that diminishes what happens at casual dining that’s actually a positive thing. Having four, five, six people at a table communicating to each other. Now, you’ve put something on the table to stop that? What are you doing?

[00:06:25] Dan: It’s that follow the trend mentality or any shining thing. I’m sorry.

[00:06:34] Adam: Quick solution.

[00:06:35] Dan: Yes. Quick solution, use technology some how or another. What I am preaching on a regular basis is look inside first. Look inside your four walls.

[00:06:48] Adam: What can we fix?

[00:06:49] Dan: What are you doing right too? What needs to be fixed? Do a true self-examination of what’s not working, what is working. Shed what’s not and focus on what is.

[00:07:02] Adam: Totally. Sometimes, the biggest innovations are not something like Ziosk. Sometimes the biggest innovation is somebody really paying attention to their menu and their mix and saying, “You know people really like this appetizer, our mac and cheese appetizer. I wonder if we could turn it in to a burger entree or I wonder how we can get that as a platform and sell more of it and make the people who like it really happy.”

[00:07:28] Dan: Yes. Or hoist it up. You could even be simpler with this.

[00:07:30] Adam: Put an LTO around that exact thing.

[00:07:33] Dan: Right, exactly.

[00:07:33] Adam: Sell it — bundle it with something else and just make it attractive and remind me that I like it.

[00:07:37] Dan: Right. It does two things. Number one, what you just said and it reminds your core customer that you like it. It reminds your lapsed customer who maybe hasn’t been in a little while, “Oh, I used to love that item,” and then finally it’s something that a customer that you’ve never had before goes, “Hmm, doesn’t that look delicious?”

[00:07:57] Adam: Right, right. But you know it’s going to get paid for by the people who already like it.

[00:08:01] Dan: Exactly.

[00:08:01] Adam: So that leads me to the fourth thing that it does well and that environment is it doesn’t cost you anything. If it’s an item you’re already selling, you don’t have to go and calculate the cost you just have to say I think we’re going to sell 10% more if we put this much promotion behind it or if we resell it or we train our servers to sell it in this way.

[00:08:20] Dan: Exactly.

[00:08:22] Adam: There’s your percentage off that you are on sales. Right?

[00:08:28] Dan: Exactly, exactly.

[00:08:30] Adam: I mean we can really go on and on about that, just optimizing and looking at your internal processes. But I think today, what we want to talk about is everybody is saying the demise of casual dining is coming. We don’t agree. I think there’s going to be some brands that shake out in 2017 and then we’ll have an article coming about which brands we’re predicting or will be gone.
But I think what we want to talk about today is really about, listen, is if you’re in the casual and dining environment, how can you steal share? It’s time to retrench yourself. Dig in. Let’s talk about some five steps to stealing share. Then if your outside the casual dining sphere, I think this is going to be interesting to hear. Some strategies you’ll be facing from the casual dining environment which I believe is actually going to turn around.
We’re not going to say 10% gains but I believe as we lose some poor performers, the category is going to look a lot different in comp sales and in category sales. When you get some of those B players and C players out of there. It’s going to change things a lot.

[00:09:38] Dan: I agree a hundred percent. The other thing that’s happened over the last two, three, five years I would guess, don’t have any hard stats on these but there’s a number of stores that have been closed which helps dramatically to we were overpopulated with locations. Now, seeing a number of different brands close 20, 30.

[00:10:01] Adam: 90.

[00:10:01] Dan: 90 stores which is good. Now, we keep seeing stores opening as well obviously, whether it’s new brands or fast casuals expanding or whatever. Regardless, when you have fewer locations, you’re going to be able to increase your margins at your best performing restaurants.

[00:10:22] Adam: Yes, the competition gets a little less fierce. You could argue that they were more — we were over saturated in casual dining locations before fast casual even started to blow up. I mean it was ridiculous for every good location there were probably three subpar, not brands but locations that just under delivered. Of course, that sets the sage for another category to come in and take business.

[00:10:49] Dan: Yes. It’s what I call the Cold Stone [Creamery] problems that many of them expanded too fast. Not being really disciplined about A locations, starting to accept for just to get stores open B and sometimes C locations. If you look across those brands that have shuttered stores, I would eventually guess you could argue that many of them were B and C locations and that’s why they were struggling or suffering in the first place.

[00:11:17] Adam: Yes. Well, what’s unfortunate is if you’re in the environment where you’re looking at closed doors, a lot of times you don’t get a choice about the A and B and C locations you would like to but a lot of times you just say, “Okay, well what leases are expiring,” and now you’re losing an A location in a prime spot that drives a lot of traffic because the brand is taking a beating. It’s hard to reconcile if a landlord who now says, “Well, I don’t know if I want your outdated brand in there when I could put a Yard House in here.” It’s an up and coming concept that will fill this 7,500 feet and have customers.

[00:11:54] Dan: The real estate game is so important that it’s probably something we should talk about on one of these broadcasts because I think it’s long been misunderstood on how important location is for a restaurant brand.

[00:12:10] Adam: Yes. Each brand has their own footprint or thumbprint that they need to make it work. That’s a great idea, let’s put them in the pipeline. I have a guest we can bring on for that. We’ll keep you posted. Let’s talk today though about stealing share. If we are in a casual dining brand, let’s talk about the five steps that we think we need to take to steal that share. We already kind of started talking about one. You want to dig in a little deeper?

[00:12:40] Dan: It’s what I call the cravable core. Again, this is examining a couple of things. One is your menu, you know through your sales data, what you’re selling. You know not only what only what you’re selling, you know where margin is. You have to find the cravable core and hoist them up like we mentioned earlier and really push them. Don’t think of it as, “Oh, all people are tired of this,” they’re not. It gives them a reason to come in. It reminds them why they come in the past.

[00:13:16] Adam: Yes. If you think of most brands, you can probably identify the cravable core without knowing the sales. Without seeing the numbers, it’s usually pretty clear and then when you sit down as a consumer you say, “Well, what are these? The last five pages of this menu don’t make any sense. Or, I’m looking at the board and the first three screens feel related and then there’s that fourth screen where it’s, what?”

[00:13:40] Dan: What is all this stuff?

[00:13:40] Adam: Why is there a Mexican item up there, like Green Burrito at a Carl’s Jr. Why is that happening?

[00:13:45] Dan: Yes. That falls in line with the same, not only the cravable core but the idea of simplification too. Remind people why they’ve loved coming into your restaurant for so many years. You started adding things, the thing got bigger a lot of times, we were adding things to think we were being competitive with someone opening up down the road or a new flavor profile or God forbid, we had to chase millennials with something specific. You’ve got to really look at the menu and simplify it so people understand what they’re coming in for and remind them why they like it so much.

[00:14:28] Adam: Yes. I blame that stretch of the menu on the success of Cheesecake Factory that looks and sounds a casual dining brand but it’s its own animal, it’s its own beast. It does things a lot differently than everybody else and the menu is a novel. It’s Dostoyevsky of a dining place with ads in it. I mean it has its own gravitational pull and I think it had a lot of casual dining brands. Well, we could expand. All of a sudden, we could do pasta. That’s an easy thing to do. Stop it right there, don’t you dare.

[00:15:02] Dan: Right. Please don’t. Please don’t.

[00:15:04] Adam: It’s time to retrench and focus on.

[00:15:06] Dan: Mexican restaurant adding hamburgers.

[00:15:09] Adam: Right, let’s not do that. That’s not why they’re coming. What about item number two here?

[00:15:15] Dan: Well I’ll go broader than just the LTO which is what I want to talk about in item number two. Before that, is to talk about spending measured media. You have got to spend to drive traffic. Awareness equals traffic, it’s just that simple. Retreating and not spending is not the way to go, especially if you want to steal share. We always believe in again, in the simple approach of saying LTO. So this limited time offer on a cravable core item is a really easy way to get traffic in the door. Your staff already understands that product. You don’t have to do anything from an operational stand point. Put the core price that you’ve always had or if you want to discount it go ahead.

[00:16:16] Adam: That depends on your business.

[00:16:17] Dan: That’s up to you. A lot of times, we’ll put LTOs together for clients and just say put the regular price on there. We just want to get people a reason to come in because do not forget, people are making that dining decision late. You have an opportunity every day to capture share by being out there and giving them a reason, reminding them that you’re here and get your share of their stomach.

[00:16:45] Adam: Yes, that’s an interesting point people are making that decision late. We know that they make it within under an hour in the most cases or some people don’t actually even consciously think about where they’re going. Our research showed us that 17% just end up at a restaurant not sure how they got there. It speaks to, you said measured media and that the climate, the environment that we’re in is for conversion and tracking and metrics and measurements which we wholeheartedly believe in.
But, the idea that every impression can be tracked to a purchase or it failed is ridiculous. We know that I have to be aware of the thing to consider it as a consumer and so if you don’t show me something that I can just background process, yes. Is it nice to have a coupon I click to or is it nice to have something that takes me to an experience that drives me to the store? As much as we can, yes, you want to do that.

[00:17:40] Dan: Yes. I’m glad you’re bringing that up about digital tracking and attribution. Listen, in that model and it’s great that we can track. It’s great that we can attribute sales in some cases to some of that activity. The truth be told is you still have to have frequency. You got to have an integrated plan. Now, that’s why I still as you know follow my sword for television when you can afford it. Now, we’re big proponents of streaming TV.

[00:18:15] Adam: We’re going to do a debate on television. Me versus you, I think it’s time. I think it’s time.

[00:18:21] Dan: Ding, ding, ding. Round one. I love it.

[00:18:22] Adam: That’s going to another episode or maybe that would be a good place to bring in another expert, another guest, because I agree with you.

[00:18:29] Dan: I think it would have to be a moderator to prevent us from duking it out.

[00:18:33] Adam: We’re doing an octagon, right. I do think I love the awareness play and I love that when the math works, when the economics works that I have the budget to do it in a market. I’m penetrated in a particular market. I love it and I love awareness. I want to — I think we really need to dig in on it. I think people would be interested to hear the —

[00:18:54] Dan: I think that’s fair. Clearly the landscape it should be but another time.

[00:19:00] Adam: Another time, yes. Put a pen in that. Put a pen in that. Your point is that LTOs can be used to drive traffic. It doesn’t have to actually be on sale or discount but it can be. I think the most important thing that we’ve seen is the LTO as your brand message, gives them both a reminder of your brand. That if you choose the right item from the cravable core, it’s telling them something, signaling them something about the brand and the experience based on what that food is. If it is a mac and cheese ante as we said earlier, I kind of get what I’m walking into. Then third, it’s a reason that’s what they need. They go, “Oh, yes, right, I want to go in and get that thing.”

[00:19:41] Dan: If priced right, under that 9.99, magical. What we like to think is that magical 9.99 if you’re bundling something up. Obviously, the mac and cheese isn’t 9.99. Regardless, make that very attractive and you’re going to — same thing, you get a credit with the consumer that, “Oh, it’s not as expensive as I remember.”

[00:20:01] Adam: That’s right. That’s right.

[00:20:02] Dan: Or as I think it is.

[00:20:04] Adam: Now, the awareness is buffered a little bit. You’re hedging on that just awareness play of let’s say your TV or digital display because you actually have an offer that you’re putting forward. It’s not just a brand advertisement that’s saying, “We make the best X. It’s proof point. We’re going to put our money where our mouth is. Come in and try this for this. It’s a bet.”

[00:20:26] Dan: Right.

[00:20:26] Adam: You’re going to like this.

[00:20:26] Dan: The LTO could be attacked, right?

[00:20:28] Adam: Yes.

[00:20:29] Dan: Depending on the unit type. Just sell the brand. Remind them why they like the brand.

[00:20:36] Adam: Then pay them off.

[00:20:36] Dan: Here’s the reason to come on in. The next thing I wanted to talk about, Adam, is because I didn’t — this falls under the category of why are we still doing this if it’s not working.

[00:20:48] Adam: Yes. This goes to the debate we were just starting to have.

[00:20:50] Dan: Right. Right. I think you have to really examine where you are spending your money. Is it really effective or are we just doing what is it we’ve always done? Is the agency just recommending what it knows? You’ve really, I think today because the landscape is shifting so dramatically so often, have to continually be auditing where you’re measured media dollars are going and use the data you have available to you.

[00:21:20] Adam: What is that? The medium is the message, is the cliche?

[00:21:24] Dan: Right.

[00:21:24] Adam: But if you’re investing hugely in spaces like couponing or FSI’s are just a killer.

[00:21:32] Dan: Right.

[00:21:32] Adam: If you’re not executing those flawlessly, they’re just eroding you’re same store sales. Because depending on how you’re doing, we’ve seen brands that are over doing those and training consumers or living the definition of insanity where they’re expecting consumers to start coming in and paying full price when twice a month they’re sending them coupons.

[00:21:52] Dan: Right.

[00:21:52] Adam: They’re never coming in for full price if that’s what your medium X is made up of.

[00:21:56] Dan: How many brands have we consulted with over the last three years, that when we inherited those great clients, they were on that coupon heroine, which is what we used to call it. Getting them to transition off it is tough. It’s difficult.

[00:22:14] Adam: It’s probably a year and a half process if you’re really, really — if the things are working as they’re suppose to work, you’re looking at an 18-month or two-year deal to comp over the really best periods.

[00:22:26] Dan: Right. But you can do it.

[00:22:27] Adam: Yes.

[00:22:27] Dan: We’ve seen it done now-

[00:22:28] Adam: We’ve seen it done.

[00:22:29] Dan: – a number of different times and a number of different ways.

[00:22:32] Adam: It’s a commitment.

[00:22:33] Dan: Yes. It is.

[00:22:34] Adam: It’s a commitment from everybody all the way up. If you don’t have the commitment of the people at the top you can’t, you will not pull it off. You will be replaced sometime in the first six months when they start looking at the end of the year.

[00:22:45] Dan: But the message has to be, if you’re going to go down that path is that, this is going to change the makeup of the our consumers’ mindset. This is going to allow us to actually drive sales without giving things away, which means we can start getting our margin back.

[00:23:01] Adam: That’s the name of the game.

[00:23:03] Dan: You’ve got — traffic’s one thing. Same store sales is another and then the Holy Grail. Are you getting margin on that?

[00:23:09] Adam: Right.

[00:23:10] Dan: Or are you giving up margin just to get somebody to walk through the door and they won’t walk through again unless you give up more margin again.

[00:23:17] Adam: That’s the problem. Yes. But also, I picked on FSI’s and couponing. But, I mean awareness equals trial, as we said earlier. So is your — we’re talking about looking at media plans as they exist. Are you even hitting the right people and getting them aware or are you spending in a way that’s missing the target? Sometimes we see that brands are doing something because they always did it but meanwhile the markets moved and they just didn’t even notice that their audience is not the same audience or somebody’s already come and eaten that audience up.
You can’t have many more because five guys has that audience now. Now, we have to find a new audience and here’s the media we can use to get that.

[00:23:56] Dan: Yes. Please, please do not say we need to reach millennials.

[00:24:02] Adam: There’s only 80 million of them. I hope you have a lot of money if your goal is to reach them. You really can’t do it with TV for half of them.

[00:24:10] Dan: I think marketers have been mislead dramatically about trying to put all these millennials in a bucket and characterize them all to have the same seven traits. I think the work we do around personas and defining the range of different types of people coming into our clients’ establishments is much better because then we go find look like customers. That takes more work. The millennial push is simple, say, “I’m going to target millennials.” Are you really? Is that a demographic? Is it a mindset?

[00:24:46] Adam: Right.

[00:24:47] Dan: What does that even mean?
[00:24:48] Adam: Yes. I think you want to be as specific as you can with your target. A lot of times, that makes people uncomfortable to get more specific because if I’m shooting at 80 million people it seems like a bigger and a bigger number I can go get. But honestly, you want to get it as well defined as you can and then as Dan is saying, test different look alikes that differ on smaller variables and the media will participate.
I mean, there are ways to target geographically. If we know — if we look at each location and we target. We just start with the one or two locations and you figure out this is the zip code that drives the most traffic to this stores. Then you find the zip codes that are just like those.

[00:25:31] Dan: Exactly.

[00:25:31] Adam: Or where are they coming from? Well, a lot of our traffic comes from this mall.

[00:25:35] Dan: Right.

[00:25:36] Adam: Okay. Now, we know that we can use that as a target. What can we do to drive more traffic from that space?

[00:25:40] Dan: The other thing to avoid, especially now that we have more data available to us, is it’s not a concentric circle.

[00:25:50] Adam: Right.

[00:25:51] Dan: The whole idea of a one-mile radius, a three-mile radius, a five-mile radius. That’s not how it works because traffic patterns don’t work that way. Everything is not — you’re not the hub of the city. [laughs] I think the geo targeting work we’ve done using some of our proprietary tools have really helped cut clients see that some people are actually driving a relatively significant distance to get to the restaurant.

[00:26:20] Adam: Right.

[00:26:21] Dan: Which means let’s make sure we target the other people in that zip code.

[00:26:25] Adam: Man, and I understand why they’re willing — why are those people willing to drive.

[00:26:28] Dan: Exactly.

[00:26:29] Adam: Which goes to your next point here in the outline, interest.

[00:26:33] Dan: Right.

[00:26:34] Adam: Right. What about — why are they treating it differently? You have those people in almost every brand we’ve ever consulted with that are willing to go an extra half travel distance to get to the place. Why? What do they see about it differently than the locals that are right inside your standard trade area?

[00:26:55] Dan: It’s your product.

[00:26:56] Adam: Right.

[00:26:57] Dan: It’s your experience that you’re putting out. Nobody is going to travel an extra mile or two or whatever the number is because they had a bad experience.

[00:27:09] Adam: Right, because it’s average.

[00:27:09] Dan: Right. They go, “Let’s go to the average restaurant.”

[00:27:12] Adam: That’s right.

[00:27:13] Dan: No. “You know what, I love this menu item. Let’s go there.” That’s that craving thing.

[00:27:19] Adam: Yes.

[00:27:21] Dan: It breaks the barrier, quite frankly.

[00:27:24] Adam: Really, unlocking what it is about the experience or what they’re interested in particular. Let’s just build a bigger audience to go test against.

[00:27:32] Dan: Yes, testing is obviously another thing that we preach extensively especially as it relates to digital media today. I think a lot of brands are a little bit nervous about digital media and I don’t blame them. It’s an emerging landscape or evolving rather landscape. There’s been all kinds of talk about its efficacy but the bottom line is test, test, test, test, geofencing. Test, interest based ads and see what works because not every message it — just putting one message out there anymore, you’re not going to attract –

[00:28:15] Adam: No.

[00:28:15] Dan: – every audience that’s available.

[00:28:16] Adam: Yes. Especially when we go back to measurement, we’re talking about testing and measuring and optimizing so you’re being efficient with any investment that you’re making. But if it’s the online media to an offline experience tracking that through. I mean there are definitely ways to do it and tracking threshold crossings and tracking parking lot arrivals and tracking coupons and all that stuff. I think that’s where it gets uncomfortable for people as they’re trying to navigate the spaces, “Well, I can track it and therefore I will be measured by the success of testing this.” Well, maybe.
[00:28:51] Dan: I think the —

[00:28:52] Adam: But testing it at standing still is not a good strategy.

[00:28:55] Dan: Right.

[00:28:55] Adam: I’m just not doing that.

[00:28:56] Dan: Right. I think that brands have to be willing to change things up and not change things up in a reactive way like, “Oh, sh*t.” Sorry. “Oh, shoot.”

[00:29:10] Adam: I can cut that out.

[00:29:13] Dan: Traffics down and you do that knee jerk reaction. You can’t do that because then you end up putting programs together that are not strategically thought through.

[00:29:24] Adam: Right. We have to be on Snapchat.

[00:29:25] Dan: Right.

[00:29:26] Adam: No, you don’t.

[00:29:27] Dan: Please.

[00:29:27] Adam: Some brands do but you probably don’t, whoever you are listening.

[00:29:31] Dan: Right. [laughter]

[00:29:34] Adam: All right. Well, I think we’ve run the gamut on this topic. You may see a repeat of this as we dig back in. I have a feeling the articles will not stop on casual dining’s demise.

[00:29:45] Dan: No. No.

[00:29:46] Adam: As we predict, you’re going to see some brands falling off. So each new tombstone is going to bring another ream of articles about the demise of the entire category.

[00:29:57] Dan: We welcome you to have a counterpoint. Maybe you believe that casual dining is absolutely in a death spiral. If you do, please let us know. We love to go back and forth-

[00:30:10] Adam: Absolutely.

[00:30:11] Dan: – with people and debate things. Thanks again for listening.

[00:30:15] Adam: Absolutely. Thanks for listening.

Transcriptions by Go Transcript.

targeting, share, experience, brand, LTO, daypart

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