The restaurant industry operates in an environment unlike anything we have seen before. As companies are tested, it is important to consider key selling points. What part of our brand makes the most sense to leverage as we manage operational challenges? How can we stand out in a competitive market?
At Fazoli’s, the answer was simple: our value proposition. Other quick service restaurants have been hesitant to apply marketing support around their value offerings. On the contrary, we believe in the power of value. Instead of foregoing discounts during this time, we listened to our customers, accelerated our value proposition, and addressed a consumer need, while battling unusual industry challenges.
Here are four reasons why a cutting-edge value proposition is an important marketing objective in today’s industry climate:
You can cater to your core demographic.
For many restaurant brands, leveraging a valuable platform may not be appropriate. But for Fazoli’s, a strong value proposition has been an important differentiator in our marketing strategy. Families have always been at the heart of our customer base, and having affordable, easy-to-find options on the menu is key to winning over their customers. So consider your core demographic and determine if a value proposition makes sense for your customers and your brand. Before the pandemic, we were testing a new value platform – 5 under $5, which offers five main courses offered at a daily low price of $4.99 – and planned to launch it in late 2020. But acknowledging that how important affordable meals would be when many consumers have been furloughed or had their income reduced, we accelerated the launch of the system as quickly as possible. In addition to our 5 under $5 appetizers, we’ve expanded our family meal options, which also offer great daily prices to feed four to eight people. At the end of 2021, we added the Ultimate Sampler Family Meal and the Baked Super Family Meal to our range of packages and only marketed them via CRM. During the test, the range’s impact increased from 9% to 12.5% across the company’s sites. Following the increase in sales, we rolled out both new family meals to franchisees this year to meet the needs of more families.
You can balance your menu.
Each restaurant has a variety of consumers with different appetites who visit for various reasons. That’s why it’s important to have a balanced approach to your marketing plan, offering products and prices to suit a wide range of occasions. Low cost and affordable options are the main messages we communicate in paid media, but for those who dine we offer our new menu items which are a bit more expensive, but still offer great value – like an Alfredo $9.99 Shrimp and Lobster which we will debut later this year.
Customers stay engaged with a multidimensional value platform.
Having a dynamic and discernible value platform gives you a unique way to interact with customers. Since launching our 5 under $5 menu in 2020 as a limited time offer, the range has become one of the biggest contributors to our success, establishing itself as a new part of Fazoli’s DNA. . Italian classics, like Fettucine Alfredo and Spaghetti & Marinara, are 5-under-$5 staples, and then we take the opportunity to refresh the menu by adding a new item each promotional window. Signature baked pasta, gluten-free starterstares and other high-end, irresistible options have brought more variety and kept customers excited for what’s to come. In 2021, the 5 under $5 menu was our top performing promotion with an average impact between 11-12%, so the items are certainly very appealing and offer the perfect marriage of food quality and value. Due to its historic success, 5 Under $5 will continue to be the foundation of our value proposition this year.
This is a victory for consumers.
In today’s environment, operators across the industry are facing challenges with food, labor and packaging costs rising faster than ever. Restaurants certainly need to evaluate their prices to find a cost-effective solution that best suits their business. But we cannot forget that consumers are also experiencing financial difficulties with rising costs. Our clients have their own business model, and they are also seeing price inflation for groceries, gas, and other basic necessities, leading to lower discretionary income. So we have to offer prices that balance what the consumer gets and what he pays for it. It has to make sense to the customer, otherwise they will go somewhere else where the overall value is better.
In the current climate, restaurant brands may have several reasons to avoid addressing their value proposition. But, a customer-centric approach may be exactly what your marketing mix is missing. Whether it’s stealth inflation affecting consumers or you’re looking to reach your customers in new and creative ways, a value proposition could be the secret ingredient in your marketing strategy that will keep customers coming back. Longer.
Jodie Conrad, Chief Marketing Officer, has been with Fazoli for five and a half years and is responsible for all brand marketing and culinary functions – including advertising, digital/social media, field marketing, consumer insights, off-site business development, public relations and new product development/testing. She was promoted to Marketing Director of Fazoli in August 2019.