Taking fast food market share from McDonald’s and Taco Bell
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
25 January 2011
You can start by riding yourself of cliches
The quick service restaurant industry, otherwise known as the fast food market to the rest of us, has always been a jumble of lost brands, often competing on the same ideas: Fun, big taste and price. That is the reason why McDonald’s continues to dominate because, when everybody says the same thing, consumers generally default to the market leader.
It’s also why some brands in the fast food market are falling by the wayside, such as A&W and Long John Silver’s, which are up for sale by its owner, Yum! Brands.
As I told the Louisville Courier-Journal last week, the only differentiation with brands such as these are simple things like A&W serving root beer that don’t make a difference in the market. They are not reasons why consumers choose.
“Consumers of fast food are not buying based on ingredients or even the perceived health of those ingredients, but simply on an acquired taste and any brand equity Taco Bell has as well.”
It’s with that in mind that my prediction of two news items in the fast food market will not make an ounce of difference. A lawsuit has been filed against Taco Bell claiming the chain falsely advertises that its food is make with ground beef, when – as the suit claims – only about 35% of it is made with ground beef.
No doubt competitors are readying marketing campaigns around using real ground beef. Like that will make a difference. Consumers of fast food are not buying based on ingredients or even the perceived health of those ingredients, but simply on an acquired taste and any brand equity Taco Bell has as well. The simple fact is the suit – and any attempt by the competition to capitalize – is that Taco Bell’s consumers won’t care.
Meanwhile, McDonalds, which has owned fun for decades even as others try to take it from them, will be raising prices as the cost of ingredients rise.
Again, competitors will no doubt be ready to pounce by marketing their lower prices. Again, it won’t make a difference in the fast food market. Consumers of fast food don’t buy on price because they already see the category as cheap. They buy based on habit, convenience and – like any consumer – emotional preference. For years, McDonalds has held all those triggers as the market leader.
To all those competitors sensing an opportunity to take market share from McDonald’s and Taco Bell, let me tell you. It won’t work. The only thing that will work is if you find other emotional triggers you can own that no one else in the market does.
Otherwise, you may find yourself cutting back on real ingredients, wasting more marketing dollars and raising your prices too.
AI Marketing Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 25 May 2017 AI Marketing. Artificial Intelligence everywhere. AI Marketing AI Marketing (Artificial Intelligence Marketing) might feel like a stretch. Brands are hesitant to believe AI can replace human thinking. Too...
Walmart employees Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 23 May 2017 Walmart employees get another bonus Shopping at Walmart doesn’t thrill me. Its stores are far too expansive for me to ever feel comfortable as a shopper. I never quite know where to go to find unique...
Political Ideology Creates Broken Government Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 18 May 2017 Political ideology. Stop the madness. Political ideology The whole world is in political strife. And I believe the root cause is political ideology. It’s not surprising. I...