Q: We've recently been presented with some very attractive opportunities that have the potential to really grow our company. How should we evaluate these?
Denise Lee Yohn
Q: I'm thinking about updating my website soon. Anything I should know for that process?
A: With social media and mobile being so prominent in the marketing landscape these days, many people have stopped tending to their websites. But your website can continue to play a critical role in your company's marketing and communications strategies. The way it plays that role, however, needs to change.
Q: Other restaurants seem to be moving away from 99-cent-and-under value menus. So what is the right discounting strategy?
A: True, McDonald's has replaced its Value Menu with the Dollar Menu & More, and Wendy's 99 Cent Menu has been reconceived as the Right Price Right Size menu. But that doesn't mean the category has forsaken discounts as its primary traffic-driving tactic.
Q: What is a "brand positioning," and do I need one for my restaurant?
A: A brand positioning is a strategy statement that explains whom you are selling to, what your business scope is, and what you do to create value for your customers. A clear, definitive, and competitive brand positioning is essential to developing a great brand. So, yes, you need one.
Q: What does it take for a quick-service brand to become a great brand?
A: I get this question all the time. Many people look at superstar brands like Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Nike and mistakenly conclude those companies achieved their successes as a result of good timing, great advertising, or just plain luck. But I’ve found that these companies have employed specific, somewhat surprising, techniques that have turned them into industry icons.
My year-end top brand stories recap was well received last year, and I decided to do it again. I’ll break from my usual Q&A format to recap this year’s most important brand developments in fast food.
Q: What are the best ways to promote a new menu item?
A: Product innovation is no longer simply a positioning strategy; it's become a necessity for all quick serves. So it's smart to look into introducing a new menu item.
Q: A Whole Foods just opened a block down the street. Should I be worried?
A: Yes! While a nearby Whole Foods is likely to draw traffic and attract higher-income customers to your area, it's also likely to steal sales from your restaurant. People now perceive grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and even standard chains like Kroger and Safeway, as more convenient, more affordable, and higher quality than quick-serve restaurants.
Q: What does it take to get good publicity for my company?
A: Just like every other marketing tactic, public relations has undergone significant changes in recent years. No longer can you simply send out a catchy media advisory and expect to get press coverage for your news.
Q: I've been hearing so much about Millennials lately. Do I really need to pay attention?