According to the provided data and analysis, Chick-fil-A is in an excellent position to expand and to improve, becoming a major fast-food franchise. As such, it is in need to adapt a new marketing strategy. It should provide access to the broader audience, as it would improve upon the current customers’ demographics. To do that, however, Chick-fil-A needs a solution that will appease to different age categories and races, pandering to its strength and downplaying and minimizing its weaknesses. Currently, the audience of Chick-fil-A consists primarily of people belonging to the age group of 35 to 54, of white skin and female gender. As this brand aims to expand, it should be more attractive to the younger audience, be more accessible and distinct from other major fast-food franchises.
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Improve Mobile App Experience
Convenience is a keyword for the fast-food industry. Most consumers dine there because it is faster, more convenient than going to the café or cooking at home, and is at a reasonable price (Ferrell & Hartline, 2013). The importance of convenience to the customers is further proven by reliance on mobile phones and various apps that streamline most of the everyday routine(Namin, 2017). Mobile ordering is one of such aspects that apps simplify. In 2017 mobile ordering saw growth by 50%.
Chick-fil-A, as most of the modern fast-food chains, has its mobile app, Chick-fil-A One. It is a convenient and popular extension that provides necessary access to the menu, coupons and possible discount and events. It has its rewards program, along with support for dedicated customers. However, it has flaws. It is easy to see that its primary targeted audience is the regular customer of the franchise. As such, events, discounts and coupons mainly target those demographics. In other words, it lacks in means of attracting new clients. Moreover, as the main demographics of Chick-fil-A are people of age from 35 to 54, it lacks in attraction to the younger audience.
To solve that problem, it needs to make the app more novice-friendly and viable for a casual customer, adding more incentives to become a new regular of the franchise. It could be anything from the bonus program for every new dish ordered, to a discount for new clients. Another option could be an inclusion of trends popular among the youth. The pros of that venue would be an increased attraction of younger demographics and new clients, increasing market share and popularity of the franchise. The cons are that it could cause an aversion in regular demographics, alienating them from the mobile app and new programs.
Include Third-Party Mobile Apps
While dedicated mobile apps for fast-food franchise allow for streamlined access to the reward programs and company’s products, they also place limitations on consumers, as they can only be rewarded in that restaurant chain(Namin, 2017). Generally, consumers who download a mobile app are regular customers of this franchise(Holt, 2016). That means that fast-food chains seeking to make themselves more appealing should reach out to other platforms.
That is where mobile apps come into the picture. They allow customers to gain rewards at different places, allowing the franchise to diversify their targeted demographics. Bonus programs and point systems provide an incentive to make certain purchases, allowing shifting interest on a particular product, which would increase the effect of introducing a new dish into a menu, for example. In other words, mobile shopping apps, which allow consumers to gain rewards at a variety of places, provide fast-food chains with franchise and diverse audience.
In addition to that, shopping apps allow fast-food chains to connect to traveling clients, allowing them to choose the time when they will be near a restaurant’s location. Given that decisions to order fast-food are often made on impulse, that ability is hugely beneficial for the franchise. Third-party mobile apps grant that ability, in addition to the advertising and potential partnership bonuses that would follow. The pros of the venue would be an increased exposure and diversification of clientele, allowing integrating more chains and partners into the process. The cons would be that such apps would not only require providing information to the third party, increasing risks for the franchise, but also the incurred costs and that process of diversification will be slow.
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Broaden Food Assortment
While external changes are essential for the franchise to expand, internal development should also occur. Food assortment is the main diversifying factor among the fast-food franchises, so implementing a distinct variety should be a priority (Namin, 2017). The main ingredient of Chick-fil-A is chicken meat, like that of KFC, though it positions itself as a high-end fast-food chain while implementing more healthy dishes in recent years.
As such, it has a good start to distinguish itself further. One possible venue to do that would be to expand the menu with healthy food further. That will not only allow raising awareness of the importance of a healthy diet but will make it more mainstream. In addition to that, it would turn Chick-fil-A into the first major healthy fast-food chain, making it more distinct and allowing claiming a more significant share of a new market.
However, this also has drawbacks: such food is generally more expensive and less available, and it is hard to judge how popular those products will be among the main demographics of this franchise.
Ferrell, O. C., & Hartline, M. (2013).Marketing Strategy, Text and Cases.Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Holt, D. (2016). Branding in the Age of Social Media. Harvard Business Review. Web.
Namin, A. (2017). Revisiting customers’ perception of service quality in fast food restaurants.Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 34, 70-81.