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The competition never slows down. Some of the country’s biggest QSR chains are fighting to stay on top while others are relaunching and winning over new customers. With sales topping out at more than $250 billion, how can you make sure your operations target those consumer dollars?
You start by taking a good look at current sales strategies and refreshing your fast food marketing plan.
12 Innovative Ideas for Marketing Your Fast Food Restaurant
Not every fast food restaurant can afford to spend $52 million on advertising during football season. As a QSR owner or manager, you control the budget with careful, calculated decisions. These 12 fast food marketing ideas can help you get the most out of your brand’s promotional potential.
1. Market Responsible Sourcing
Responsibly sourced ingredients make a positive impression on consumers. They demonstrate your restaurant’s commitment to sustainability and the best environmental practices. Source fruits, vegetables and proteins from foodservice suppliers who share your concerns for environmental responsibility. Highlight these ingredients in your marketing campaign.
2. Develop Plant-Based Meals
When national chains put meat-free burgers on the menu, they’re tapping into a growing consumer interest in plant-based ingredients. Explore your options for developing dishes that attract vegetarians and flexitarians. Both groups represent a solid market that continues to drive menu engineering across the foodservice industry.
3. Keep Healthy Choices Creative
Make your fast food restaurant stand out with creative recipes that celebrate healthy eating. Wrap tacos with the crispy goodness of romaine lettuce. Take the carbs out of turkey burgers with baby iceberg lettuce buns. Turn unique presentations into promotions that draw in customers and satisfy their appetites for healthy choices.
4. Cater to Lifestyle Dieters
As consumers improve their lifestyles, they look for ways to stay on course. Build fast food marketing campaigns that target different dietary preferences. Think outside the to-go box with gluten-free, vegan, paleo and keto recipes that cater to lifestyle dieters.
5. Market Healthier Sides
Even customers who aren’t following specific diets enjoy fresh alternatives to the classic French fry. Bring in new business with fried veggies and Brussels sprout chips. Let healthier sides become brand ambassadors that keep your location high on lists of favorite fast food restaurants.
6. Bundle Meal Deals To Go
Give convenience a starring role on your menu by bundling fast food meals to go. Promote one-order packages that include main dishes, sides and drinks for four or more. Wrap it all up in custom bags and boxes that put your brand on office desks and family tables.
7. Offer Kid-Friendly Options
Win parental approval by offering healthy, kid-friendly menu options. Make kids happy with meals that meet their expectations for fun and great taste. Many of the nation’s leading QSR chains win over these discerning diners with healthy chicken wraps, grilled drumsticks and turkey sliders.
8. Market Salads Without a Bar
Salad-centric chains continue to set a new bar for niche fast food. Stay in front of this trend with fresh salads available at the counter. Catch drive-by business by promoting house-made Caesars, slaws and fruit salads to go. Market unique salad lineups as seasonal additions to your healthy menu.
9. Put Value on the Table
Use fast food marketing strategies to showcase the value your restaurant serves with every meal. Emphasize quality by using the freshest ingredients. Establish a reputation for providing friendly service in a clean, inviting setting. Highlight your brand’s commitment to the highest foodservice standards.
10. Pour Premium Brews
Premium coffees give the breakfast crowd an extra reason to pull up to your drive-thru. Espressos, cappuccinos and cold-brews bring in customers looking to recharge a busy day. Heat up sales during the summer with iced coffee LTOs. Corner the market on consumers on the run by adding premium brews to your beverage menu.
11. Make the Most of Mobile Connections
Even the smallest QSRs need to connect with customers through social media. Increase the effectiveness of your digital outreach with special promotions, loyalty programs and third-party delivery options. Mobile marketing instantly connects you with consumers on the lookout for meal deals and easy ordering.
12. Serve the Very Best Customer Experience
Innovative fast food marketing techniques only work when they result in customer satisfaction. From free Wi-Fi to consistently friendly staff, positive word of mouth translates into invaluable brand promotion. Earn your restaurant’s share of thumbs-up by always serving the best possible customer experience.
Keep Us in Your Plans
As you develop different marketing ideas for your fast food restaurant, count on us for the latest industry news. We’re proud to be a source of insight and inspiration for foodservice operations across the country. When you look ahead and map out the future, keep Hitchcock Farms in your plans.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.