Here’s Why the Top Three QSR Chains are the Ultimate Marketing Masters

Here’s Why the Top Three QSR Chains are the Ultimate Marketing Masters

Today’s foodie has more restaurants to pick from than ever.

With innovative fast casuals and elevated casual dining restaurants popping up across the country, quick-serve establishments are being forced to rebrand and adapt to keep consumer attention.

For any restaurant to keep up in this competitive digital space, their marketers have to think outside the box. While traditional print marketing may be still relative, the consumer’s everyday experience is now a virtual one.

Every restaurant brand is trying to catch the attention of this elusive, distracted consumer, but some brands do this better than others. QSR chains, especially those who have been around for a while, understand that marketing can make or break a brand.

We decided to take a closer look at the top three QSR brands on Foodable’s most recent National Top 25 Restaurants list to see how these ultimate marketing masters stay above the competition. 

Starbucks is King

This coffee-focused QSR landed at No. 1 on the 2017 mid-year National Top 25 Restaurants ranking.

What’s this brand’s secret recipe? Is it the creative limited-time beverages like the Unicorn Frappuccino that end up going viral? Is it the wildly popular mobile app? It’s a mixture of both of these things.

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Social Restaurant Visits Jump Over 5 Million: What Does That Mean for the Industry?

On this episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” host Paul Barron highlights the restaurants that have grown the most in the past month and what that means for the industry as a whole. We will also look at Del Taco’s brand performance and its biggest competitor: Moe’s Southwest Grill.

According to Foodable Labs, the restaurant industry continues to show an increase in growth. This growth is illustrated through the analysis of real-time data signaling a brand’s visibility across social media platforms. One of the big indicators of restaurant industry health is SRV or Social Restaurant Visits. A social restaurant visit is an action a consumer takes, whether it is a mention, photo share, or “check in” on a social media platform, referencing a restaurant’s location either in a post or within the post’s geo-metadata.

“If volume on conversation is up, that gives us a indicator that potentially we could be seeing either sales shifts or traffic in restaurants moving up or down,” Paul Barron said.

Foodable Labs has added another measurement known as Facebook and Twitter Combined Industry Visibility. Are people talking about going out to eat and are they engaging with top brands? Currently, the total industry visibility month-over-month was somewhat flat, with a slight increase in interactions, unique users, and units identified in the month of October over September.

Looking back at June 2016, the industry experienced the lowest number of interactions of the year to date, with numbers of interactions at 54 million and the number of unique users at 31 million. Contrarily, October showed continuous growth, although slow, in the industry with interaction figures reaching 71 million and unique users reaching over 42 million.

Growth Within the Industry

Restaurants showing notable SRV growth in October over September 2016, include:

  1. Tender Greens jumps to the No. 1 spot with an 8.82 percent SRV growth.
  2. Chick-Fil-A steals the No. 2 spot this month with a 5.11 percent SRV growth after not making the Top 10 list back in September.
  3. Arby’s has been consistent in its ranking month over month, staying at the No. 3 spot since August. Its SRV is currently at 4.92 percent.
  4. Shake Shack, which has been on the list before, is now at the No. 4 spot with a 4.87 percent SRV growth.
  5. Freshii drops from the No. 1 spot to No. 5 with just a 4.82 percent. SRV growth month over month
  6. &pizza is a new entry in the Top 10 list, coming in at the No. 9 spot with a 4.27 percent SRV growth.

An important takeaway from this data is total SRVs for the industry jumped up in August, September, and again in October by over 5 million.

Top Performers

Two brands that prove our case are top performers Del Taco and Moe’s.

Here’s what Foodable Labs found:

Del Taco

  • Same store sales growth for 12 quarters
  • New market and new menu item penetration
  • 68.48 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Moe's Southwest Grill 

  • 36.4 percent of Chipotle guest crossovers
  • Overall higher engagement than Chipotle
  • 50.87 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Watch the full episode to learn more!

Current High-Flyers in the Restaurant Industry 

On this episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” host Paul Barron, discusses the current state of the restaurant industry. We discuss the restaurants that have grown the most in the past month and what that means for the industry as a whole. We will also look at Jersey Mike’s brand performance and its biggest competitor: Arby’s.

According to Foodable Labs, the restaurant industry is showing continued growth. This growth is illustrated through the analysis of real-time data pulled from social media platforms. One of the big indicators of restaurant industry health is SRV or Social Restaurant visits.  This could be when a customer mentions, takes a picture, or performs a "check in" on social media referencing a restaurant’s location either in the post or it's recorded in the geo-metadata. Foodable Labs has added another measurement known as Facebook and Twitter Combined Industry Visibility.

Are people talking about going out to eat and are they engaging with top brands? Currently, there is almost a 30% increase in total industry visibility.

Looking back at June 2016, the industry experienced the lowest number of interactions of the year up to date with numbers of interactions at 54 million and the number of unique users at 31 million. But, September showed continuous growth in the industry with interaction figures reaching 70 million and unique users reaching 40 million.

Growth within the Industry

Restaurants showing notable SRV growth from September to August 2016 include:

  • Freshii - remains in the #1 spot with 8.12% SRV growth
  • Arby’s - experienced an increase of SRVs helping the brand stay at the #3 spot with  a 6.41% increase
  • Mendocino Farms - a new entry into the Top 10 at the #4 spot with a 5.55% increase in growth
  • Honeygrow - coming in at the #7 spot with a 5.02% increase in SRV growth
  • Panera - 4.57% increase month over month. “For a brand their size, that’s a pretty significant number,” said Paul Barron.

An important takeaway from this data is total SRVs for the industry jumped up in August and again in September by 2 million.

Jersey Mike's vs Arby's

Jersey Mike's has been on a terror for the last 3 quarters. They have experienced a 34 point rise in Foodable Lab’s overall RSMI. This is a pretty significant jump from being ranked at #18 to their current ranking at #12.

“They are really on a collision course. An article that was done by Bloomberg, just recently, actually picked Jersey Mike’s out as one of the fastest-growing restaurants and the potential sandwich chain that was remaking the segment, much like what fast casual has done in the burger business, Jersey Mike’s could be the forerunner on the sandwich segment.”

In the Jersey Mike’s versus Arby’s head to head comparison, here’s what we saw:

  • Jersey Mike’s shares 28.4% of Arby’s guests; and
  • They also scored the higher than Arby’s on Mobile Engagement
  • In turn, Arby’s has had a 25 point rise year-to-date; and
  • Arby’s made it into the Top 10 brands with an increase in SRV’s for the month of September

Watch the full episode to learn more!

How Arby’s Beefy Branding Comeback was a Success

How Arby’s Beefy Branding Comeback was a Success

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

In order to survive in today’s ever so competitive market, a brand has to adapt and evolve with its customer-base.

With the emergence of fast casual, farm-to-table, local sourcing, etc– consumers have higher expectations when it comes to their dining experience.

Not to mention, the digital realm has created a loud world for consumers to live in. They are constantly being bombarded with advertising on social media, TV, and on their favorite websites, blogs and apps.

Every restaurant brand is trying to catch the attention of the elusive, distracted consumer and to do so, restaurant marketers have to think outside the box.

But developing a cohesive marketing message is easier said than done. Sometimes a brand doesn’t find the right marketing recipe right away.

A chain that initially struggled with a brand revamp was the quick-serve restaurant, Arby’s. Although the chain had a slow start, it eventually made an impressive comeback.

Let’s take a closer look at how the brand managed to bounce back and rise above its slumping sales.

A Rocky Start

Arby’s sales were consistently slipping starting in 2010. In October 2012, the brand started a rebranding process with a modernized logo, the new tagline “Slicing Up Freshness” and a revamped website. Unfortunately, this brand refresh was not well-received. The logo, in particular, got negative criticisms for being “forced” and looking “incomplete.” In a poll with 3,600 participants by the brand, 93% said they disliked the updated logo.

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