For 15 years, developers at KFC tinkered with the business formula that was established by founder Colonel Sanders, a formula that drove the chain to the top of the chicken quick-service segment: selling fried chicken. Times had changed, and the brand was attempting to respond to consumer demand for a nonfried menu option.
On February 2, 2008, Auntie Anne’s hosted Free Pretzel Day at all of its U.S. outlets. For a six-hour window, consumers could enter any Auntie Anne’s location and receive a free pretzel. The promotion had some in the quick-service industry wondering what possible benefit could come from Auntie Anne’s giving away the brand’s signature item—one that many readily purchase—for free.
For those inquisitive souls, Auntie Anne’s was armed with answers.
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In March of 2008, Subway launched a value deal nationwide that already had explosive success in a number of the chain’s South Florida stores. The introduction of the $5 footlong deal across the U.S. was intended to be an answer to the $1 value menus of industry standard-bearers such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s and a new direction for the brand in the wake of its advertising success with Jared Fogle.
It usually takes a trade show or the threat of legislation to bring quick-service competitors together, but occasionally the industry puts business aside and rallies around a single cause. In the wake of the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, brands flocked to the Gulf Coast to offer assistance. More than four years later, they again seem to have found a common charitable pursuit.
In the aftermath of the massive earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 12, the restaurant industry has responded with various fundraising initiatives to help the devastated Caribbean island nation.
The destruction was “unimaginable,” in the words of Haitian President René Préval, whose presidential palace lay in ruins after an early-morning earthquake that may have killed as many as 200,000 people. The earthquake razed large sections of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, burying countless bodies in the wreckage of collapsed buildings.