Measuring the success of social media engagement for a quick-service brand often depends on an operator’s goals. For California-based Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., parent company to Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, digital platforms are an ideal venue for feedback and crowdsourcing. Earlier this year, the company took to Facebook to revamp a staple email polling campaign and get more consumers excited about its annual February Guest Favorites promotion.
Enter a Souplantation in New Mexico and you might be enticed to try a bowl of Posole Soup, a Southwestern concoction made with pork, chilies, and tomatoes. “It’s one of my absolute favorites, I always get it,” says Souplantation CEO Michael Mack.
However, despite being one of the CEO’s preferred dishes, you won’t find Posole Soup at any of the company’s 120 other locations around the U.S. because the word posole doesn’t market well outside of the Southwest.
What do Bic underwear, Harley-Davidson wine coolers, and Jamba Juice soup have in common? They’re all ways companies have tried to extend their brands—and they all failed.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the rough and manly image of the Harley brand wouldn’t fit with the light and girly product attributes of a wine cooler, but the fates of other brand extensions are harder to predict.
Known for its buffet offering of salads and soups within large dining rooms, Souplantation is opening an Express prototype of its concept that the company hopes can deliver the brand to new markets and nontraditional locations.
Michael Mack, CEO of Souplantation parent company Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., says the new Express prototype is intended to ride the rising success of the fast-casual segment.
While the old adage says there’s nothing new under the sun, the new decade brings fresh takes on traditional menu items while ethnic, vegan, and local ingredients make farther inroads into the quick-serve culinary scene.