Value Menus boom during times of economic hardship, but they don’t produce high returns for the fast feeders’ bottom lines.
The marketing trend for QSR advertisers has begun to change. Instead of having more dollars allocated to the value menu, budget will be shifted toward more margin-friendly menu items such as drinks and core menu items. Does that mean franchisees should do away with the value menu?
Currently QSR advertisers are keeping their value menu items backstage while bringing their new and/or higher-priced promotional items to center stage, along with beverages. It’s likely that the franchisees are on board with this strategy since it seems as though operators and corporate often feud over national advertising.
Dennis Lombardi, executive VP of WD Partners, agrees in the article The Case for Cheap Eats, “Franchisors and operators have been at odds, but the truth likely lies in the middle. If you can start creating incremental traffic, then the operative leverage inherent in the restaurant business will help generate more profit.” He added that operators often underestimate the magnetism of value offerings.
Burger Business suggests that the future of the value menu is more about the beverage than the burger. Especially during the summer, drinks are being pushed due to warmer weather but also due to their high margins. “It’s partially because of the time of year, but drinks are also extremely profitable,” said Dick Adams, a former McDonald’s franchisee, in a recent Ad Age article.
McDonald’s is continuing to push their dollar menu breakfast items just in select markets with more of the focus on their core items. They are advertising their signature namesake item, The Big Mac, as well as four new dipping sauces for their Chicken McNuggets. But their beverages are still $1.
After Burger King franchisees had feuded with corporate over $1 double cheeseburgers and prevailed, BK went on a short stint of promoting their Stackers line of burgers, $1 for a one-patty burger, $2 for a two patties, and so on. However BK is going back to its roots, advertising their Whopper with “Whopper Lust.”
Consumers will always be looking for the deal, no matter the economic state. And now that they know what things could sell for, it would be hard to be the solo QSR who does not participate in value menu offerings.
As Lombardi said in the abovementioned QSR Magazine article, “If others have value offerings and you don’t, odds are you’ll be taking less money to the bank a year from now.”
Photo credit: Packmatt