Restaurant Marketing: The Secret Ingredient to Driving Traffic is Value

Competition for share of stomach has never been higher in restaurant marketing. Restaurants are competing not only with other restaurants, but with grocery and convenience stores. Value menus and deals are popping up across the landscape at 2009 price points.

What is Driving this Fierce Competition?

Although inflation has slowed in recent months and dropped below wage growth, consumers just experienced 2+ years of inflation outpacing wage growth and remain concerned about the future.

New data from Circana showed an 8% year-over-year increase in use of deals at restaurants by inflation-weary consumers during the first quarter of 2023. Consumers’ inflation fatigue contributed to slowing sales growth in April—the industry’s weakest performance since July 2022 and its second-softest month of growth in more than two years, according to Black Box Intelligence.

In the rural markets Mspark serves, consumers feel the impact of inflation more severely than their urban counterparts. From January 2020 to December 2022, discretionary income for rural consumers decreased 33%. 1

While transportation costs fueled rural inflation over the past two years, during 2022 rural consumers also had to contend with growing costs for housing, household expenses, food at home, and health insurance (as shown in the chart below).

These consumers continue to prioritize value for their money above any single restaurant preference.

This creates a restaurant marketing opportunity for pizza and QSR brands to emphasize value in their campaigns to create preference among consumers and increase their share of loyal customers.  

VALUE is Most Important to Consumers Across all Markets

Consumers, including Rural, Urban and Suburban, ranked Value as the most important attribute when selecting a restaurant. (This combines consumers who felt value was important, somewhat important, and very important. Only 11% were “on the fence” and 11% rated somewhat unimportant, not at all important, and unimportant combined.)2

VALUE Means More Dollar Menu Options

From rural to urban to suburban markets, consumers said they wanted to see more dollar menu items than any other value offerings from restaurants.2

Engage this value-hungry audience with coordinated digital and direct mail messaging that will drive them to your restaurant or website.

Did you know?

  • 60% of consumers visited a brand’s website after receiving direct mail.3
  • Integrating digital ads with direct mail increases program performance as much as 28%, based on historical program performance.
  • Engagement with direct mail is high across generations.3

Source: SC360 The future of Direct Mail, 2022

Mspark partners with you to identify consumers most likely to visit your restaurant and create a coordinated print + digital strategy that increases traffic and sales. Reach out today to plan your strategy.

Sources: Iowa State analysis, July 2022 (Bureau of Labor Statistics: CPI-U January 2020-December 2022 + CEX 2019-20211; Mintel/Kantar Profiles, January 20232; SC360 The future of Direct Mail, 20223