The restaurant business is full of concepts that have gone stale. Mindful of their sizeable investment (a sunk cost!), many restaurants attempt to enhance or revive their tired platforms with mixed success. Rarer, but more important and much riskier, is the “relevance reset” – something big, announced with great PR fanfare and paid media – that says to the customer: “Hey, I know I was irrelevant to you in the past… but look again!”
We first heard the term “relevance reset” in a Pizza Hut presentation to investors earlier this year. Executives described their $10 Any Pizza effort as “not a traditional [marketing] window. It is a relevance reset” (complete with a graphic of a giant reset button). Since then, we’ve been looking at the industry with this concept in mind. When new ideas are launched, are they game changing, like $5 Footlong or Domino’s new pizza campaign? Or, are they possibly-helpful-but-not-game-changing tactics, like Fire-Grilled Ribs at Burger King or IHOP’s lower-calorie Simple & Fit menu (all of which may be fine, but won’t make a stale concept fresh again)?