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Fast Food vs. Fine Dining: Why You Should Know Your Audience

Published on October 2, 2023, 4:32 p.m.
by Jillian Middleton.

“Wait, we weren’t even nominated for album of the year? Wack,” tweeted @Wendy’s after it dropped its five-track mixtape titled “We Beefin’?” as a comeback to its rival Wingstop.

Wendy’s is well known for its social media behavior, specifically on X (formerly known as Twitter). Its social media

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team is constantly roasting Wendy’s competition and winning over the brand’s audience with funny, witty comments.

Why does this strategy work for Wendy’s? Would it work for Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a world-renowned fine dining experience located in some of the largest cities across the United States? Probably not.

The secret sauce

Knowing your audience in the food public relations industry is crucial. Dominik Bartoszek, digital marketer, said that “a well-executed PR strategy is an integral part of any restaurant’s success, setting it apart from many restaurants that solely rely on traditional advertising,” and Wendy’s social media team has perfected their craft. They use a secret sauce for their social media strategy, and that’s why it works so well — Wendy’s customers love it.

“The high school and university goers below the age 24 have been the primary target audience for Wendy’s,” according to a Total Food article. This audience is known to be tech-savvy, active social media users, who are looking for more than just a convenient meal. The Forbes Business Development Council said that “social media platforms continue to provide fast, versatile and cost-effective ways to reach young audiences, who generally use their mobile devices often.”

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Wendy’s social media team has implemented several marketing strategies to appeal to their younger audience, one of them being the Wendy’s Late-Night Plan, where Wendy’s locations would stay open past midnight; this option used to be common for many fast-food chains, but after the recent effects of COVID-19, most stores did away with it.

Time and time again, Wendy’s social media team has shown that they know exactly who their audience is, and how to reach them. It’s no secret that they have won over a large majority of their fans from Wendy’s effective public relations and advertising campaigns.

The best of the best

In the last few years, however, there has been a rise in quality-conscious customers, who value the quality of the food over the fast service. Ruth’s Chris prides itself in its chefs having “The Best Culinary Training.” Compared to Wendy’s, Ruth’s Chris targets a completely different group of people.

A lot of Ruth’s Chris’ success has come from visit-based marketing. This strategy has allowed its restaurants to connect its advertising efforts and digital marketing with in-store results.

So how did Ruth’s Chris achieve success in reaching its audience? Through a marketing platform called Adentro.

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“Adentro is a marketing platform that pairs both the in-store WiFi network to monitor guest behavior and attribute guest visits to marketing exposure,” according to a Total Food article. By using this platform, Ruth’s Chris is able to collect its customers’ emails, how many times they visit the restaurant and how long they are there for.

This valuable information gives Ruth’s Chris a lot of insight into exactly who is visiting its stores, which in the long run helps the company target exactly who it needs to.

The last bite

We all know and love our favorite restaurants for specific reasons, whether it’s because they post funny content on their social media, or we genuinely enjoy dining at their restaurants.

One of the most important steps in being successful on social media as a restaurant is knowing who your customers are, and what they are looking for. With younger audiences, it’s imperative to meet them where they are with relevant content that they can relate to. But don’t forget to consider your not so social-media-active users, too.

So next time you’re scrolling on X or Instagram, keep an eye out for those brands that speak your food language. You might just find your new favorite restaurant because of it!

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