Has business been a little on the sluggish side at your fast food franchise? Quit blaming the recession; it's time to get you're A into G and start marketing your fast food business! Banish dawdling staff from the front desk, dust off that branded scooter, and get those printed menus delivered. Here are ten ways to promote your fast food franchise.
Add your fast food franchise to Google Places for Business
More people use the internet to find businesses than any other medium. Google Places for Business is an easy way to maintain a website presence, even if you don't have a website. Your Google Places listing - known as a Place Page - will be available through Google Web Search, Google Maps, Mobile Search and Google Earth. Your Place Page includes your fast food franchise's name, business hours, business description and a link to your franchise website. You can even add coupons and weekly specials to your Place Page. Best of all, it's free.
List your fast food franchise in telephone and business directories
Loads of people still look in print telephone directories to find businesses, so it's worth your while to list in them. These days, most print directories have an online presence, as well. Online phone directories are searchable, so when someone enters a query into a search engine, your phone book listing will appear. Advertising fees are reasonable, and are charged annually. Good directories in which to list your fast food franchise include:
- The Phone Book (The White Pages) - South Africa's biggest print directory of residential and business telephone numbers. The online version is now in Beta phase.
- The Yellow Pages - there is both a print and online version of this business directory
- Brabys - an online specialist business directory which provides business, telephone and product search. Free listings which display limited information are available.
Print your fast food franchise menu on a leaflet
A printed leaflet containing your menu, physical location and contact details is one of the simplest and most effective means of getting the word out there. Use the leaflet to do mail drops in the area in which you operate, give them away with orders and/or hand them out at the robots.
Advertise in your local community newspaper
Community newspapers have excellent reach and offer a competitive cost per thousand. Unlike regional or national newspapers, a community newspaper will get right to the heart of your clientèle, within your specific geographical region. Community newspapers often offer discounts for bulk advertising. Another bonus is the one-week shelf life. Try:
- Caxton & CTP Publishers and Printers Ltd. - the biggest community newspaper publisher in the country, with titles covering Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Province, Free State and Northern Cape.
- Avusa Media Community Newspapers - nine community newspaper titles, covering Port St. Johns to Jeffrey's Bay
- Media24 Community Newspapers - titles covering the Western Cape, Northern Provinces, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Seek sponsorship opportunities for your fast food franchise
We're not talking about forking out big bucks to back a major sports team, but rather garnering a little local support for your fast food outlet from sponsoring a local sports side, for example the local high school's First XV rugby team, or a local club side. Sponsorship can be a great way to attract attention to your fast food franchise. Consider the benefits:
- Mentions in local media whenever your side has a fixture
- Signage around the sports field will help keep your business top of mind amongst spectators
- Team members and supporters wearing kit emblazoned with your fast food franchise logo are walking adverts.
Brand your fast food franchise delivery vehicles
One of the most effective ways to promote your fast food business is to advertise your fast food franchise on your delivery scooters and cars. It's relatively inexpensive yet highly visible.
Offer free delivery
Talking about your delivery vehicles, don't be stingy! Offer your customers free delivery for all orders within a certain radius.
Do mid-week promotions
For some reason, people love getting fast food on the weekend. Mid-week, however, business can be slower. Promote your business, and pick up sales, with recession-friendly mid-week promotions. Ideas include:
- 'Buy two, get another free'
- 'Two for the price of one'
- 'Half-price Wednesdays'
- 'Buy breakfast and get a free limited edition coffee mug'.
Group buying sites are an excellent platform to promote your special deals. Try Groupon and One Day Only.
Start a frequent diner club
Print loyalty cards and give them away at every opportunity. Once a customer has racked up ten sales over a certain Rand value, reward them with a free meal.
Get your employees in on the act
You employees are a valuable asset. The service they offer to customers could make or break your fast food franchise - and word gets around. That's why it's important to have your staff on board. Make sure they're neat, presentable and serve with a smile. Having an Employee of the Month competition is a wonderful way to encourage great service. Another idea to motivate staff is to hold an Employee Marketing Challenge - give discount vouchers to your employees for them to distribute amongst family and friends. Reward the employee who brings in the most sales with a decent prize.
Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa