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Happy New Year from all of us at APT’s Food for Thought. 2011 promises to be an eventful year in the restaurant space and we’ve heard a number of bets, top 10s, and guesses for what the year, and the strengthening economic recovery, will hold.

We’ve synthesized these ideas into a special series, in three parts, that we are launching below. Stay tuned over the next two weeks for more.

Part One: Menus, Value Meals & New Offerings

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Restaurants Get Social

December 1st, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Marketing & Media - (Comments Off on Restaurants Get Social)

Several high profile social media campaigns have made the news in the restaurant world, including Applebee’s Veteran’s Day campaign, Chili’s FourSquare chips & salsa promo, and McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Chipotle on Facebook Deals.

As these offers become more mainstream among major restaurant chains, the way restaurants invest in and measure social media will need to “grow up”, as we argue in this recent post on our media blog.

Taco Bell: What Does Value Mean?

August 9th, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Taco Bell: What Does Value Mean?)

A couple weeks back, AdWeek printed an interview with Taco Bell CMO David Ovens.  In talking about Taco Bell’s value message, David made the distinction between “price value”, “abundant value” and “quality value”.  At the time, it just sounded confusing, but with the Cantina Taco launch I’m really warming to his distinction.  And to their value strategy overall.

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More Thoughts on Taco Bell $2

June 10th, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Restaurants - (1 Comments)

Do we need more of these?

Taco Bell has now launched a petition for the Federal Reserve to issue more $2 bills, accessible through Taco Bell’s Facebook page.  There’s a full-page ad in USA Today, and the write-up on a Wall Street Journal blog is today’s most popular article on WSJ.com.  Of course, this is marketing the 3-item $2 Meal Deal promotion we discussed in a prior post (see Taco Bell $2: A Restaurant Trade Promotion?).

Here are five things what we love about this marketing tactic: (more…)

Taco Bell’s has launched its $2 Meal Deal, as described in USA Today.  The deal is a taco or burrito, medium soft drink, and bag of Doritos for $2.  Given the massive successes of McDonald’s Dollar Menu and Subway’s $5 Footlong, it seems likely that consumers will go for a deal at this price point.

The natural question is:  how can they package this offer at this price point and still make money?  The answer must be a great deal with Pepsico, supplier of the chips and drinks.  Of course, the drinks are already high margin, but it makes us wonder what kind of arrangement they have on the chips.  Regardless of the deal in this case, could other restaurants take advantage of branded supplier offers meant to discount but blow the doors off on volume?

This could be step one of bringing a more trade promotion approach to restaurant marketing.  Creative restaurant companies ought to be thinking about tests they could run to push this idea forward.

Learn more about how leading consumer products companies address this issue with remarkable efficacy in driving sales.