Quick-service operators have a tough task promoting themselves in a market where consumers are increasingly concerned with keeping to a balanced diet. This year began with new healthy eating–based marketing campaigns—a renewed interest in a trend that had taken a backseat to promoting price and value for a while.
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.
QSR magazine has a keen interest in trends in the fast-food business, and publishes many articles by learned authors on the creation and life of those cause-and-effect little devils. Some go on to greatness, some reverse, and some just die out of old age or disinterest.
My editor and I were talking about subjects for this article and he suggested that it might be interesting to explore some of the trends I saw in my 32 years of walking the halls of McDonald’s, both there and in the industry at large. Just for fun. So, here goes.