When it comes to boosting sales, it’s important to concentrate on what customers want more than when you want to sell it to them.
As restaurant marketers, we tend to invent a lot of words that make total sense in our planning meetings, but are meaningless in the real world. What if people talked in real life the way we talk in the boardroom?
“Spouse, let’s see if other members of our customer segment in this geo-targeted zip would like to join us in the late evening daypart at the QSR in our trade area for an LTO transaction.”
What’s funny about that sentence is that if you are a restaurant marketer reading this this blog, it probably made perfect sense.
One of my favorite invented words is “daypart” (as I type this, my spellcheck keeps telling me it’s not a word). I love it because a killer daypart strategy can be the Holy Grail to sales and profit growth.
But, the key to a successful daypart strategy is not to think about it as “parts of the day.” Rather, focus on satisfying needs (we have a term for this, too, by the way – it’s called “Need States”). In other words, stop thinking about discounting your lunch and dinner items to get people to buy them during historically slow times of the day. Instead, study what’s going on in your customers’ lives at a particular point in time and become part of the solution.
Example: In the late evening during the summer months, we know there are two important customer segments (young adults and families with kids) who want to get outside, relax and connect. We know from looking at snacking/treating research that ice cream significantly over-indexes with these groups during this particular time of year at this particular time of day.
As a result of these insights, we worked with SONIC to create a nationally branded program called “Even Sweeter After Dark” to satisfy this need. There is typically very little discounting during this program. Instead, we drove sales by providing the right product/experience at the right time with the right message when the customers were in the right frame of mind.
If done right, you’ll get people talking like this, “Honey, let’s see if the Johnsons next door would like to join us and the kids down at Sonic after dinner for a shake.”
Photo credit: Linda – Lindspetrol