Editor’s note: This is the second monthly column from Rom Krupp, the founder and CEO of Marketing Vitals, an analytics software helping restaurants of all shapes and sizes. Read his first, about Twin Peaks and its creative marketing strategy, here.

When it comes to burgers, Hopdoddy Burger Bar has figured out how to generate excitement and customer loyalty through sustainability in purchasing and preparing. With 21 locations and growing, I asked the fast-casual burger chain’s brand manager, Erin Fohn, about the company’s marketing strategy. Below are her thoughts:

What role has social media played in brand awareness?

They play a major role in how our brand lives outside of the four walls of our restaurants. With social photos in particular, social media gives us the chance to show off craveable images of our delicious food and the fun experiences friends have by capturing their good times. Bringing the indescribable vibe of what it’s like to be at Hopdoddy has made social media a wonderful way for our managers and customers to communicate what we do best. These real-time visuals give credibility to our brand by showing the genuine enthusiasm for Hopdoddy.

How have your charitable-giving promotions and sponsorships helped with community relations?

We delight in helping our communities in any way we can, whether it’s through our Goodnight/Good Cause Burger where $1 from every burger sold is donated to a local charity or a profit sharing dinner with a neighborhood youth sports team. These opportunities enrich our community relationships with both our guests and our team members. We are proud to be a destination for doing good in our area.

What marketing strategies did you launch with that you still use today?

Solid public relations and here’s why. It is key for launching and maintaining a strong brand. We have worked diligently to develop a unique Hopdoddy voice in the media, and consistently celebrate good media attention in our growth, customer excitement for our menus and locations, positive community outreach, and more.

Do individualized local or national campaigns generate the best ROI? 

Targeted local marketing seems to drive the best return, and watching guest frequency go up in a targeted market is one of our main goals for individualized local campaigns. Since we can track efforts and traffic through our analytics platform, we can see sales and guest traffic trends around those campaigns in specific markets. This gives us decision-making power to optimize promotions, prices, menu items, and more.

What is your top marketing tip for a new restaurant just starting? 

Talk to your guests because happy guests will be your loudest and most credible way of marketing. Always listen, seriously review their comments, and never take a single guest’s feedback for granted. What they think will always be what you need to know!

Monthly Reader Question:

How can we keep our employees engaged? — Chuck from Tampa, Florida

Education, training, and opportunity are essential as is to day-to-day recognition. Praise and feedback should never be delayed. Respond to employee ideas and actions as they happen. Providing helpful feedback and showing appreciation will build loyalty, increased engagement and higher morale.

Do you have a restaurant marketing question? Email Rom@MarketingVitals.com and follow him on Twitter @Vitals_com

Rom Krupp is the founder and CEO of Marketing Vitals, a game-changing analytics software helping restaurants of all shapes and sizes with intelligence that leads to actionable decision-making With over 20 years working with over 400 brands, Rom Krupp helps restaurants turn data into dollars.
Outside Insights, Story, Hopdoddy Burger Bar