Chick-fil-A

Fast Food By Candlelight

Brands aim for a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget.

With Super Bowl XLV in the books and the Packers heading back to Green Bay victorious, marketing directors everywhere are turning their attention to another winter milestone: Valentine’s Day.

From special products to ridiculous deliveries, a number of quick serves are rolling out promotional campaigns to drum up business for the Day of Love.

Pinkberry, the Los Angeles–based frozen yogurt concept, launched a promotion last week that offers to send a gift on behalf of one Pinkberry customer to another in the form of a “Swirly Gram.”

The New Kids’ Meals

Kids’ menus have come a long way from the days when they were little more than sandwiches, soft drinks, and small fries for the small fries.

As parents increasingly seek out food that is healthful and nutritious for their children, particularly in light of America’s growing childhood-obesity crisis, restaurants have sought to provide menu items that are not only good for kids, but also taste great.

Cheap Marketing Tips that Work

In the teeth of the recession, Back Yard Burgers developed a new, slimmed-down marketing strategy. The roughly 200-unit, Nashville, Tennessee–based chain cut costs across the board, developed a slick-looking website, and created a social media strategy centered on Facebook and Twitter.

But Ken King, a senior consultant with National Restaurant Consultants Inc., says this was a disaster.

“Their same-store sales in some stores are down as much as 20 or 30 percent,” King says. “They’re just not reaching the public at all.”

Wake Up Breakfast Proteins

There is an answer to the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

It’s definitely the egg—at least when it comes to breakfast. Few morning menus are without them. But these days, chicken and another popular poultry protein, turkey, are increasingly popping up on a.m. menuboards at quick-service and fast-casual restaurants.

2010 in Review

Reporting by Blair Chancey, Sam Oches, Daniel P. Smith, Robin Van Tan, Barney Wolf & Lori Zanteson

1. BK Sold to Brazilian Investors

Becoming the decade’s biggest restaurant buyout, No. 3 burger chain Burger King Corp. was acquired by 3G Capital, a New York firm backed by Brazilian investors, for $3.3 billion in September. —BC

2. The Food Truck Obsession

Starting a New Dia-blog

In 2007, Dan Kim started blogging about his newly conceived frozen yogurt concept, Red Mango, months before the first location even opened its doors. Using MySpace as his primary outlet, Kim built an online buzz about the chain, posting photos of the store’s progress while keeping his future customers apprised of his passion and love for the product. 

He remains an avid devotee to the blog, as well as to Facebook and Twitter, even now that his Dallas-based chain includes more than 60 locations in a dozen states.

Local Heroes Top Golden Arches

In a recent survey, local brands, fast casuals, and (of course) Chick-fil-A rank at the top of consumer satisfaction list.

Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, and Panera Bread rank among the best quick serves in the country in customer satisfaction, according to a study J.D. Power and Associates released on Tuesday.

The 2010 U.S. Restaurant Satisfaction Study evaluated consumer responses to an online survey that measured four aspects of customer satisfaction: price, environment (ambiance, cleanliness, convenience of location/hours), meal (quality/taste of food, meal presentation, portion size), and service (speed, wait staff courtesy/friendliness). 

How to Do it Right: Hiring

The battle to hire and keep the best people starts with the first time you have contact with prospective employees. Customers of the best fast-casual operators expect more in terms of food and service than what they get from competitors in other segments. 

This poses a great challenge for us in the segment, as employees have the opportunity to make more money working for mediocre casual-dining chains because of the tipping model. But we can beat that.

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