From pizza to French fries to coffee, is there anything more uniquely American than fast food? Whether on a family road trip, or on a quick lunch break downtown, fast food is unequivocally ingrained into the American experience. It’s also an insanely lucrative industry. Not only does this segment generate a global revenue of more than $570 billion, it is expected to have an annual growth of 2.5 percent for the next several years.
So, what does this mean for fast food franchise owners?
First off, that the industry isn’t going away. Operating a fast food chain is still a profitable opportunity—and will be in the foreseeable future. However, with more than 200,000 fast food restaurants in the United States, competition is high, especially as dynamic fast-casual concepts continue to diversify the industry.
Now, more than ever, fast food restaurants need to generate consistent revenue. Driving sales with measurable increases in the fast food industry is entirely possible. Sometimes, it just requires restaurant owners to think outside of the box.
Looking to increase sales in a fast food restaurant? Here are three tactics to look into.
1. Off-Peak Pricing
Busy at lunch but looking to increase dinner sales? Perhaps you’re slammed on Fridays and Saturdays, but are hoping to bring in customers during the week. Off-peak pricing occurs when restaurants offer lower prices during off-season or slow periods. For example, a pizza chain may offer a buy-one-get-one Tuesday lunch special to draw in customers on a traditionally slow day.
Bounceback certificates are another way to get peak-time guests to visit your establishment during off-peak times. Restaurants simply offer incentives at the point of purchase to encourage the guest to try your restaurant at another time. For example, if you’re busy for dinner and need to drive lunch sales, you can provide customers with certificates that are only redeemable during lunch hours.
While simple in theory, bouncebacks require owners to test different offers and track response rates. With a little work, however, off-peak pricing and bounceback certificates can produce more in revenues per dollar invested than traditional advertising.
2. Loyalty Programs
In retail settings, members-only and loyalty programs promote proud, card-carrying members, while creating expectations and building loyalty. In fact, 70 percent of consumers expect to receive discounts in exchange for personal information, while 55 percent expect to receive exclusive offers and events.
Why not implement loyalty programs to increase sales in a fast food restaurant? Reward initiatives such as birthday email programs can be executed with automated tools. Guests either submit their email addresses in exchange for their free birthday coupon, or restaurant owners plug in the email addresses and birthdays of existing customers. Email marketing programs then track response rates to show what percentage of emails are bringing guests into your restaurants.
These programs can show effectiveness and calculate your ROI. Birthday offers can help build loyalty and inspire repeat customers. Plus, once guests are in your system, you can send them relevant deals and offers throughout the year.
However, while email marketing is fairly easy to implement and boasts a colossal 4400 percent ROI and $44 for every $1 spent, it’s important to note that upkeep is necessary for programs to truly succeed. Restaurant owners must be willing to put in the legwork to not only implement an email marketing program, but also keep it going.
Looking to truly influence how your consumers purchase your products? Coupons not only compel consumers to act, they influence how much they spend. In fact, 90 percent of adult consumers said that promotions influence the amount they spend and the items they purchase. Much like building loyalty, the more you offer your customers, the more they’ll spend at your restaurant.
Coupons can also sway consumers away from competitors. 78 percent of consumers said they were influenced to buy a brand they wouldn’t typically buy because of a coupon and 80 percent of shoppers would switch brands when offered a promotion.
So, where’s one place that nearly all Americans visit on a regular basis, regardless of income, location, shopping habits, or age? The grocery store. People have to eat (when they’re not at your restaurant, of course!). Reaching local consumers in areas they’re bound to frequent is an infallible strategy for brands to reach the eyes of new and existing customers.
Register tape advertising has established itself as an effective way of delivering restaurant coupons to relevant consumers. Because people tend to shop within a few miles of their homes, it’s possible to reach a hyper-local audience. Local fast food chains benefit from receipt coupons by inviting consumers—both new and return—to visit their restaurants.
Do you have any techniques to increase sales in a fast food restaurant? Be sure to share below.