This week, I look at some of the Pizza and Mexican Fast Food Chains use of Social Media. Premium Casual Dining as some of them are also referred to. Specifically I will focus on Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Grill’d, Mad Mex and Guzman Y Gomez.
First up, the table below makes an interesting comparison of the actual number of stores by each chain and then contrasts this against two Facebook measures: # of Likes and # of People talking about this. To compare apples with apples, I have divided each of those two measures by the corresponding number of stores to make a like for like comparison.
Chain Store Numbers vs Facebook Book Measures
|@ Jun 13||# of Stores Total||# of Facebook Likes||# of Facebook Likes per Store||# Talking About This||# Talking About This per Store|
|Guzman Y Gomez||27||30,828||1,142||2,574||95|
Key Points to Note
1. On the # of Likes per store, Guzman Y Gomez is the clear leader, followed by Mad Mex then Grill’d and Salsa’s.
2. For # of People talking about this per store, Guzman Y Gomez stands out on its own from the other three brands.
I believe that it is a combination of factors that are contributing to these results.
1. Posting Content and Responding to Customer Feedback. In contrast to the larger Fast Food Chains in my previous post Part 1, all of the above chains had dedicated Twitter accounts and were very active in tweeting and responding to tweets. The exception being Salsas’s whose last tweet appears to have been in March this year. On Facebook, all brands were active in posting content and responding to customer feedback.
Note the language used in the Guzman Y Gomez response – “make this up to you”
The Grill’d response nicely uses humour whilst still acknowledging the problem.
Each of the brands are starting to use Instagram and Pinterest also.
2. iPhone App. Salsa’s and Grill’d do not appear to have an iPhone App, whilst both Guzman Y Gomez and Mad Mex do.
Salsa’s also have a club loyalty program – Mex Club but could it be more powerful if it was integrated and delivered via an iPhone App like Guzman Y Gomez as seen below.
Listing lottery card number winners on the Salsa’s Facebook page also seems a little outdated.
3. Actively seeking consumer feedback. Guzman Y Gomez is the only one of the chains that features a feedback icon on the home page of it’s website.
4. Social Responsibility. Guzman Y Gomez and Grill’d make contributions to local and noteworthy charities (or more strongly communicate that they do to customers). Grill’d encourage customers to help nominate charities to make it on to their list and customers in store can choose who the donation goes to. Guzman Y Gomez prominently communicate their donation on the carousel on the front page of their website.
5. Compelling content worth talking about. In the lead up to a new store opening, Guzman Y Gomez very prominently communicate on their Facebook page in the lead up that their new store will offer free tacos on the opening day of that store creating buzz, excitement and traffic to that store. Photos of the queues are reposted further giving the impression of how good their product is and how popular it is on their Facebook page. I am guessing that this would also get great PR in the local community.
Sampling your product is not a new Marketing tool, yet it is worth mentioning that Guzman Y Gomez are confident in the quality of their product offering to sample it to that many people on store opening day.
Mad Mex in contrast were challenging customers to the 1kg Big Burrito challenge to win a Lucho Libre Wrestling mask. Photos of customers trying the challenge were reposted on their Facebook page, along with customers wearing the unique masks. They also managed to turn running out of the masks into a positive, communicating with customers that they only ran out because it was so popular with customers.
6. Nutritional Information. All four chains offer detailed nutritional information breakdowns so it is not a point of difference.
7. Brand Positioning. Salsa’s and Grill’d Brand Positioning revolves around the Fresh Ingredients, Fresh Flavours and the highest quality meals.
In contrast, whilst the other brands are based also on using high quality ingredients, the Brand values are much broader incorporating lifestyle elements.
As they say ”The Guzman Y Gomez experience is about all things Latin, the food, the music. the art and the personality”. Mad Mex also says ” We love the food and culture of Mexico and are fighting to share that passion with our customers every dish. Everyday”. Salsa’s does appear a little duller by comparison.
8. Price. There doesn’t appear to be any significant price differences between the three Mexican chain offerings, in absolute dollar terms nor in how the pricing is structured. For example, pricing for extras such as guacamole.
However, Salsa’s is the only chain that does not put food menu pricing on it’s website due to in store differences between franchisee stores. Anecdotally there appear to be more complaints on the Salsa’s Twitter and Facebook pages relating to pricing and perception of value. This could relate to perceived food quality as much as price/value.
Whilst I don’t have access to store sales and growth numbers, all of the above points suggest to me that Guzman Y Gomez are performing very well against their competitors. Their Marketing & Sales departments along with their agencies deserve a lot of credit.
Mad Mex would also be doing well. However, I think their creative strategy in focusing hard on the Lucho Libre wrestling characters and promoting 1kg burritos may skew their brand appeal very strongly to males. I don’t know too many women who would find a 1kg burrito that appealing.
What can Salsa’s do to improve?
1. Eliminate or try to minimise perceived pricing disparities between Salsa’s outlets.
2. Put additional resources into Social media to better engage with their customers. That is Twitter, Facebook and further develop their Pinterest presence. Be seen to more frequently respond directly and quickly to customer feedback both positive and negative. Develop an iPhone and Android App.
3. Inject more personality into everything that they do, from their website, responding to customer feedback to the type of advertising and promotions that they run. The chance to win a $1Million promotion has been run many many times before and consumers are a bit cynical about it and have said so on their Facebook page. (I ran one myself many years ago for a well known sauce brand!!). I am not suggesting and do not believe that they need to significantly change their Brand positioning and be more similar to Guzman Y Gomez and Mad Mex.
4. Their Marketing comes across as very Corporate, push driven Marketing. They need to refresh their Digital Strategy in how to engage with their customers and retain them.
Let me know what you think. Is there anything else they can do?
Postscript: More up to date store numbers for Mad Mex and Guzman Y Gomez have been incorporated into the analysis, since this post was first published. The absolute numbers have changed but the overall conclusions are the same. I apologise for this oversight.
by Konrad Markham
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