Posts tagged marketing consulting

The early bird special – not just for frugal retirees

Restaruants should take another look at the early bird special.  It just might be another tactical move to please customers and increase traffic and sales.

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Daily Record, Nina Rizzo, 9/24/14

The early bird special isn’t just for frugal retirees who don’t like to drive in the dark. Count the millennials among those looking for dining deals at off-peak hours.

Add families who want to feed their children a sensible meal before a weeknight sports practice. And young professionals who come straight from the office.

There is a broad range of consumers looking to stretch their dining dollars when restaurants are less busy.

“There is a great deal of pent-up demand from consumers looking to dine out,” Christin Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association, wrote in an email. “Our research shows that more than seven out of 10 adults say they would consider dining out more often if menu prices were lower during off-peak times. Restaurateurs can capitalize on this demand by lowering menu prices using special promotions during slower times to drive foot traffic.”

Many restaurants have embraced the early dining discount. The association found, in a 2013 restaurant trends survey, that a quarter of family- and casual-dining operators and 36 percent of fine-dining establishments offered off-peak dining at reduced prices. A majority of restaurant owners believe this trend will become more popular in the future.

The early bird revival was perhaps most noticeable a few years ago in states like Florida, where the real estate crash reverberated throughout the economy and forced people of all ages to rethink the notion of eating a steak at 4:30 in the afternoon.

The seniors-only stigma apparently has faded. According to the nationwide survey, 72 percent of adults said they would consider dining out more often if menu prices were lower during off-peak times. Some 80 percent of those who frequently eat at fast food and fast casual places, like Smash Burger or Chipotle, said they would take advantage of early-bird deals, too.

Eliminating a signature brand experience can present a branding problem

Behind the Wheel: Fast-casual sandwich chain Which Wich adapts to drive-thru operation.

Once a hallmark of classic fast-food joints, the drive-thru operation is getting a fast casual–style facelift thanks to chains like Dallas-based Which Wich. The customizable sandwich concept opened its second drive-thru unit this summer in Crystal Lake, Illinois, to offer more convenience, says Jeremy Cook, senior vice president of real estate and construction.

For a franchise that creates menu items to order, fulfilling drive-thru orders quickly is a big challenge, Cook says. While guests mark their choices on the brand’s signature brown paper bags inside the store, a cashier verbally guides customers through step-by-step ordering at the drive-thru window. Based on the performance of the brand’s first drive-thru location in Marble Falls, Texas, wait times average 5–7 minutes, and the system is working well, Cook says.

The brand’s initiative is the latest step of a growing trend in the industry, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of consulting firm Technomic Inc. It follows drive-thru retrofits at a small number of locations by Panera Bread, Firehouse Subs, and Einstein Bros. Bagels, he says.

“Brands are looking at how to steal share from competitors,” Tristano says, and drive thrus offer a sales boost by appealing to customers like parents with small children.

However, eliminating a signature brand experience like Which Wich’s paper bag ordering process can present a branding problem, says Warren Ellish, restaurant consultant and president of Ellish Marketing Group. “Their drive thru may boost sales in the short-term, but in the end, they could lose sales by diluting the brand,” Ellish says. “People who don’t know the brand will lose the unique ordering experience.”

Although Which Wich’s high-quality ingredients are an important draw, it’s the ordering system that makes the brand unique, he adds. It may be better for the chain to try to replicate their ordering protocol by providing paper bags and markers for drive-thru customers, or offering a smartphone app, Ellish says.

The Which Wich team expects to make refinements to its drive-thru operation as it offers the platform to more franchisees, but early indicators are positive, Cook says. “It’s like anything else,” he says. “You want to continue to get better and try to perfect the process.”

Restaurant & Franchise Branding Expert Weighs in on Wendy’s: Embrace Change – But Don’t Try To Be Everything To Everyone In Hopes Of Broadening Your Customer Reach

Soccer Shots, the #1Children’s Fitness Franchise Program, Undergoes Brand Positioning Work with Ellish Marketing Group

Soccer Shots BrandingSoccer Shots, The Children’s Soccer Experience and the #1 Children’s Fitness Franchise Program, selected Ellish Marketing Group (the leading franchise and restaurant branding consultants) to work with their management leadership team, Franchise Presidents Council and Franchise Brand Strategy team to develop a strategically focused brand positioning for the brand.  The end result of the work undertaken will be laser focused brand positioning and complete alignment behind the branding by management and the franchise system.

 

Soccer Shots Brand PositioningThe new brand positioning was unveiled during the 2014 national franchise convention in Chicago.

Restaurant & Franchise Branding Consultant, Ellish Marketing Group, Completes Brand Positioning Work for Regional Pizza Chain Blackjack Pizza®

Askar Brands operator of multiple quick service and casual dining restaurants across the nation including Papa Romano’s, Papa’s Pizza To-Go, Breadeaux Pizza, Blackjack Pizza, Mr. Pita, Stucchi’s Ice Cream, CJ’s Brewing Company and Big Al’s Sports Grill, selected Ellish Marketing Group, international restaurant and franchise consultants, to work with the management team and franchise leadership team of Blackjack Pizza to define the brands brand positioning.

Askar Brands provides word class support to all of their brands by providing management, marketing, training and operations materials to allow their franchisees to focus on their execution and customer retention.  The development of a pre-emptive, ownable and defendable brand positioning for Blackjack is consistent with their philosophy.  The end result of the brand positioning work from Ellish Marketing Group will be a more focused and more competitive pizza brand.

Warren Ellish to Address IFA 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference

Warren Ellish Franchise and Restaurant SpeakerWarren Ellish, President & CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and Senior Lecturer at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management will be the opening speaker at the International Franchise Association 2014 Emerging Franchisor Conference. The convention will be held on November 18, 2014  in Dallas, Texas at the Sheraton Hotel.  Warren will address “The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Emerging Franchise Into a World-Class Brand.”

The IFA Emerging Franchisor Conference is designed for franchise operations executives, CEOs, COOs, Presidents, franchise development executives, franchise marketing experts, franchise relations specialists and anyone responsible for the growth and efficient operation of their franchise system. The conference is specifically designed to address challenges and opportunities unique to franchise systems who are looking to grow. This is a prime networking and educational conference for franchisors that are ready to take their systemInternational Franchise Association to the next level. This program will feature franchise leaders sharing what they learned when they were trying to build their brand. Attendees will hear motivational stories, expert tips and proven strategies that helped them attract new franchisees, build brand recognition and a loyal customer base, increase productivity while streamlining operations. Simply put, this is a must-attend event!

Don’t Let A Point Of Similarity Become Your Point Of Difference

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is helpful to anyone who wants to influence other people. Whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and make an impression that lasts. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no one else’s brand does as well and that your target cares about? When defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this.  When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association ShowInternational Franchise Association National Convention and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average, just like everyone else and good. Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate. For more information on how to quickly and affordably position and brand your business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach Warren directly at 303-762-0360 or .

Pleased To Be a Part of The Restaurant Industry As It Continues to Benefit From An Improving Economy

Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014

Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014 Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014Washington DC  (RestaurantNews.com)  The National Restaurant Association‘s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the latest employment trends:  “The national labor market continued to heat up in June, with restaurants remaining among the strongest growth sectors.  According to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national economy added a net 288,000 jobs in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the fifth consecutive month with gains of at least 200,000 jobs. “In total, the national economy added nearly 1.4 million jobs during the first half of 2014, the strongest six-month performance in more than eight years. “Restaurants continued to be among the leaders in job growth, with the industry adding a net 32,800 jobs in June and more than 173,000 jobs during the first six months of the year.  Overall, restaurant employment was up 3.1 percent on a year-to-date basis through June 2014, nearly double the 1.7 percent gain in total U.S. employment. “Job growth within the restaurant industry has been broad-based in 2014, just as it has been throughout the post-recession period.  On a year-to-date basis through May 2014 (segment-level figures are lagged by one month), quickservice restaurants added jobs at a strong 4.0 percent rate.  This puts the quickservice segment on pace to post job growth of at least 4 percent for the third consecutive year. “The fullservice segment added jobs at a 2.9 percent rate through the first five months of 2014.  While this is down somewhat from the consecutive 3.4 percent gains registered in 2012 and 2013, fullservice employment gains remain well above job growth in the overall economy. “Meanwhile, the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – which includes concepts such as coffee, donut and ice cream shops – added jobs at a robust 6.1 percent rate on a year-to-date basis through May 2014.  If this trend continues, it would represent this segment’s strongest growth since 2007, as well as the third consecutive year with employment gains above 5 percent. “Look for these positive growth trends to continue through the remainder of the year, as the restaurant industry continues to benefit from an improving economy and stronger consumer sentiment.” Read more from the Economist’s Notebook. For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper at Restaurant.org/Trendmapper (subscription required). Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014 Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurantsFacebook andYouTube.

Building Your Brand – Is Your Restaurant or Franchise Brand Strategically Positioned?

 

Is your restaurant or franchise brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated? Are you sure?

You don’t have to embark on a lengthy and expensive consumer research study to find out if your restaurant or franchise brand is strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated. Just try this quick and easy exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Ask each member of your management team, each member of your marketing organization, and key external strategic and creative resources to answer the following three questions:

  1. 1.    What business is your brand in? Your “frame of reference”.
  2. 2.    What is the “target market” for your brand?
  3. 3.    What are the “points of difference” for your brand? Note: List no more than three.

Analyze your results. If you observe either or both of the following, your brand positioning can most definitely be strengthened:

  • Significant inconsistency in the answers to most if not all of the above three questions.
  • “Points of difference” that are really “points of similarity” to your competition or simply “points of entry” in your business – and not pre-emptive, ownable and defendable attributes that are important to your target market.

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is crucial to anyone who wants to influence other people, whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and making an impression that lasts. Positioning is the way in which you want the consumer to think about your business (products and services) relative to competing brands. It is the most basic of all strategic statements, provides the blueprint for the marketing and development of the brand, and focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities.

Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive “point of difference” and complete management alignment behind this positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand. A brand must make a strong impression that lasts and translates into profitable sales and long-term growth.

What are the three critical elements of a brand positioning statement?

1 – Target Market: Composed of consumers considered to be good potential users for your product/service. Don’t think demographically. Think about what the similar set of needs and/or concerns are which motivate this group of consumers’ purchase behavior.

2 – Frame of Reference: Describes the consumer grouping of like products or services (or competing brands) with which your product or service competes.  It is easy to think about this as “what business are you in”. Make sure you consider all of the options that a consumer has available to satisfy a specific need.

3 – Point of Difference: The specific consumer benefit that you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no other brand does as well and that your target cares about?  Why should your target value your brand?

Don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. So when defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this. 

When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association, International Franchise Association National Convention, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average and just like everyone else.

Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate.

A brand is not a mark. A brand leaves a mark. Believe it or not, your customers do not really care about your brands’ name, your logo, or your tag line. What they do care about is who your brand is, what it stands for, what your brand offers and why your brand is different. People want to love brands. They want to feel amazing about using your brand. So stop worrying about the name of your brand, your logo or your tag line.  Focus you attention on clearly positioning your brand and gaining complete management alignment behind that positioning. The end result will be the development of a concise positioning statement, agreed upon by your core management team.

Properly position your brand and you will be in good company. I’ve worked with hundreds of global, national, regional and local brands including many restaurants and franchises – – all using a disciplined approach to developing a clearly defined brand positioning statement. Each of these clients that focused their attention on brand positioning have reaped the benefits of their efforts.

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Warren Ellish is a senior marketing executive with over 30 years of client and consulting experience in consumer products marketing, restaurant marketing, franchise marketing, dental marketing and retail marketing. He is a renowned marketing and branding consultant, lecturer and speaker on branding and brand positioning, is President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and is a member of the marketing faculty at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Ellish was named to the Advertising Age “Marketing 100–the superstars of US marketing”.

Mr. Ellish has a successful track record of assisting the senior leadership of highly competitive multi-unit trade area driven businesses (with a focus on restaurant and franchise brands) generate high returns on investment based on a strategic focus to drive profitable traffic and product mix.  A significant amount of his work has been with start-up, emerging and turnaround businesses.  He has launched many new brands and concepts that became successful growth businesses while also revitalizing many once formidable brands that lost their way to become strong competitors once again.  He has been responsible for developing brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands.  His core practice areas include: brand positioning, restaurant marketing and franchise marketing for domestic and international clients.

Soccer Shots Selects Warren Ellish to Keynote 10th Annual Franchise Convention

_DSC4454Warren Ellish, President & CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and Senior Lecturer at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management will be the keynote speaker at the 10th annual Soccer Shots National Fracnhise Convention. The convention will be held on Saturday July 19, 2014  in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.  Warren’s keynote will address “The Three Critical Steps to Positioning Your Franchise Into a World-Class Brand.”

Soccer Shots is the leader in youth soccer development for children ages 2-8. Their nationally recognized program offers a high energy, fun, age-appropriate introduction to the wonderful game of soccer. Their innovative curriculum emphasizes both soccer skills and character development. Their goal is simple: “to leave a lasting, positive impact on every child we serve”.

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