Posted At: October 27, 2008 12:30 PM
by Molly McPherson
Fast food restaurants are an everyday convenience for today’s average American. They save time and provide an easy meal. Nevertheless, fast food restaurants have to worry constantly about their reputation and image. A challenge for these establishments is to find new, exciting ways to promote their business with food as a constant product. Fast food restaurants are using different public relations strategies to win consumer support, such as going green, getting involved with charity and even hosting costume parties.
Trade the grease for some green
Subway works to give a positive image by being in the business of health and responsibility. Subway’s “eat fresh” campaign invites Americans to trade the burger for a better-for-you sub sandwich. According to a recent press release, Subway is becoming involved in the green movement. The restaurant chain recently participated in the “Change a Light, Change the World” program, trading their old lights for energy-efficient fluorescent lights. Furthermore, Subway has changed its equipment by making its napkins from recycled materials. Subway has even moved its distribution centers closer to its stores to cut down on gas emissions.
“We have made a commitment as a brand to become more environmentally accountable,” said Bill Schettini, chief marketing officer for the chain. As the environment trend grows as a priority in society, Subway is joining the cause to provide you with fast food and an eco-friendly outlook.
Lending a hand gives a leg-up on the competition
McDonald’s has always had a leg-up on the competition when it comes to charity because of its relationship with the Ronald McDonald House. With disasters happening all over the U.S., McDonald’s is doing its part in helping alleviate some need by giving a meal to victims. Last year during California’s wild fires, McDonald’s gave a free Extra Value meal to any emergency worker involved in the crisis, according to a press release. In addition, the company provided many displaced families with Wi-Fi Internet access, making communication easier. Moreover, McDonald’s encouraged its staff, owners, operators and suppliers to work at local evacuation centers to help the crisis as much as they could. “We’re all members of this community and know personally the difficulties people are going through,” said San Diego McDonald’s Owner/Operator Philip Palumbo. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and McDonald’s is certainly looking to help with disaster relief.
Pigskins and cow costumes
Chick-fil-A has long been the college football champion because it sponsors the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but this year Chick-fil-A decided to kick it up a notch for kickoff by giving free Chick-n-Strips to anyone showing their football pride on Sept. 1, 2008, according to a recent press release. Not only does Chick-fil-A encourage dressing up to support football teams, it also holds a costume party in the summer for Cow Appreciation Day. This past July, Chick-fil-A had its fourth Cow Appreciation Day when its loyal customers who dress up in a cow costume are given a free meal, according to a recent press release. This event inspired all age groups to dress up and show their support for cows. “While the event is a natural tie with our cow-themed marketing campaign, Cow Appreciation Day is intended to be a fun day to reward some of our most loyal customers with free food,” said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s senior vice president of marketing. Between the costumes and the college football parties, Chick-fil-A identifies with its customers by offering a fun-loving, celebratory image.
Fast food restaurants market a steady product by creating new, innovative strategies that revolve less around the food and more around the trends of society. Whether that is taking a social issue and expanding it to a public relations strategy, giving to charities and current disaster relief efforts or creating celebrations and rewarding loyalty, fast food restaurants constantly manage their image and reputation as they seek to gain consumer support.