The restaurant franchise model has always presented a challenge for a consistent marketing approach when there are separate budgets and strategies between the company and the franchisees. Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made consumers more confined to their homes than usual. While this has had a devastating impact on the restaurant industry, one thing remains true: consumers still need to eat, and it has accelerated the already rapid rise of digital delivery services, which began before the pandemic.
According to Foursquare, casual dining visits in 2020 were down more than 20%, with visits dropping more than 70% during the height of the pandemic. Among people visiting casual restaurants in 2020, about 25-30% were ordering take-out food instead of dining in. This underscores the changing customer journey and the need for restaurant brands to take a more data-driven approach to reaching their customers. As 2021 dawns, location data can help large quick-service restaurants deliver ads to TV households where residents are increasingly on the move in the real world. But what does this really mean for restaurant marketers? And how do you survive, let alone prosper?
A major consequence of this disintermediation becomes the increasing difficulty in harvesting first-party CRM data, which is essential for optimal targeting and messaging. The good news for foodservice brands is that there are now new technology solutions available that will enable a more holistic approach to meeting the challenges of changing consumer behavior. These solutions couldn’t have come at a better time. The restaurant category has seen a steady increase in competition marked by consolidation.
The proof is in the pudding
The TV industry has made tremendous strides lately in using consumer and brand data to optimize advertiser campaign performance. As restaurant brands continue to invest in national advertising, some have begun to adopt addressable solutions. The challenge that still needs to be resolved is how to improve and fill their localization needs with their large advertising investments. Despite the good intentions of restaurant brands to adopt audience-based planning for their franchise-owned markets, the reality is that the industry lacks the technical means at its disposal to effectively organize complex data about consumers and audience information from decoders in a DMA. level.
That’s changing, according to an analysis by one of the major cable operators of national investments for three major fast-food brands derived from set-top box data generated by 23 million households, covering the first quarter of 2020. This analysis revealed that Brand A built a 7% lead in voice share over Brand B even though they both reached the same part of the audience. While Brand A reached the same audience as Brand B, it did so with greater accuracy and as a result generated 25% more frequency in an average month. This frequency had a direct effect on restaurant traffic, with Brand A enjoying a 4% increase in traffic to its restaurants compared to Brands B and C.
As 2021 dawns, restaurant brands and their agencies should consider leveraging insights, audience planning, and targeting that were previously only available on digital platforms. With access to deterministic TV data combined with location data, restaurant brands can understand how to be more efficient while aligning national and local efforts. The accumulation of this new information strengthens the feedback loop to improve future campaigns.
This new audience-based approach should resonate especially with restaurants, which have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. Restaurant brands are increasingly faced with the challenge of doing more with limited resources. But now, with new technology platforms emerging and deterministic TV data more readily available, they can do more with less.
As SVP, Client Partnerships, Davina Kent and his team are changing the way Ampersand partners with Fortune 500 advertisers by providing them with data, analytics and media platforms to reach consumers as their media consumption habits are rapidly changing. Davina previously served as Vice President of Advanced TV Sales at Comcast, where she grew the Advanced Advertising Products Division into a $100 business. million business. Previously, Davina played a key role in the success of TiVo, where she built the company’s advertising and audience analytics businesses. She led her team’s development of the industry’s first DVR audience and advertising analytics platform, while forging initial multi-million dollar engagements with WPP, IPG, Omnicom and Publicis.