Wienerschnitzel announced that 2016 marks the sixth consecutive year of same store sales increases for the 330-unit brand. Despite restaurant industry declines overall, Wienerschnitzel’s 2016 sales are up 5 percent and growing, while transaction counts continue to rise. The company attributes its success to a number of initiatives including constant enhancements to the guest experience, forward-thinking marketing campaigns backed by behavioral research, as well as continuous menu innovation.
“Our six consecutive years of sales growth are a result of strong strategy, with the most important being our overall approach. We are a 55-year-old brand with the mentality of a start up,” says Doug Koegeboehn, chief marketing officer for Wienerschnitzel. “This means we work harder, we are willing to try new ideas and we aren’t afraid to do things differently. As a result of this approach, people have begun thinking of Wienerschnitzel as a lifestyle brand that they want to engage with, rather than just another limited service restaurant chain.”
Wienerschnitzel recently conducted an intensive segmentation study that revealed not only demographic insight of limited serve restaurant customers but, more importantly, an understanding of their attitudes and behaviors. This has allowed the brand to remain focused and implement ideas that resonate with their core audience in a way they can really get excited about. Recent areas of brand concentration include:
Innovative menu developments such as the introduction of Loaded Chili Cheese Fries, as well as the addition of the Crowd Pleasers Menu, a wallet-friendly menu designed to feed the whole crew, are broadening appeal and generating more transactions.
Celebratory guest incentives like offering free meals to moms on Mother’s Day, free Root Beer Floats on Root Beer Float Day and military discounts on Veteran’s Day are implemented throughout the year to show guest appreciation, drive traffic and gain loyalty.
Lifestyle-oriented commercials geared toward capturing tomorrow’s consumer, including the recent Crowd Pleasers commercial featuring Jeremy McGrath, the most winning motocross athlete in history, are attracting a younger generation of hot dog fans.
Action sports activations and strategic partnerships with industry heavy hitters like Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross (JGRMX) and Tillys allow Wienerschnitzel to be where their fans are and engage in a meaningful, organic way.
Philanthropic efforts through Wienerschnitzel’s Hot Dogs For Homeless program, as well as charitable involvement with The Literacy Project, the Roc Solid Foundation and others, are boosting employee morale, generating goodwill and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars—helping Wienerschnitzel fulfill its mission of serving food to serve others.
Employee relations efforts are focused on listening to feedback and improving the lives of team members. In fact, CEO Cindy Galardi Culpepper recently appeared on the CBS hit series, Undercover Boss, where she gave nearly $700,000 to deserving employees.
Franchise growth with new building designs including the Heritage Prototype, a smaller footprint design structure inspired by the original A-frame build, are allowing new and existing franchisees to build where other brands will not.
“We are making a continuous effort to be where our fans are and support what they care about, and our impressive six consecutive years of sales growth proves that our approach is strongly resonating with consumers,” continues Koegeboehn. “The brand is evolving and taking pioneering steps to attract new fans, which is why our customer counts are up while others are declining. Life is good at Wienerschnitzel.”
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