The restaurant industry in the United States is massive. With food and drink sales reaching a skyrocketing 766 billion US dollars in 2016, a significant part of these sales were generated by general eateries including full service restaurants, cafeterias, bars and limited service restaurants. Specifically within the ‘venue’ category, full service restaurants make the most sales with approximately 263 billion dollars expected in this segment for the year 2017. Limited service restaurants, including fast food chains trailed behind with an estimate of 234 billion dollars.
Fast food has been prominent in the United States ever since the 1950s when renowned food giants like KFC and McDonald’s had just started expanding. Today, over 45 percent of the entire US population consumes fast food on a consistent basis which implies that the individual consumption of fast food is at least once a week. Despite the increasing awareness that fast food holds zero nutritional value with absurdly high sodium and calorie content, the above sales figures remain consistent.
Minimugs Food Pvt. Ltd. is an initiative by a recent UCLA Grad, Travis Finlay. Travis wanted to leverage the popularity of fast food to provide healthy, nutritious food on-the-go. Their product offering included healthy wraps, rolls and multigrain burgers and healthy bakery products. Travis came to us because he needed help expanding. Initial response in Los Angeles had been overwhelming and within 7 months of starting out as a food-truck, Travis had transitioned to a limited service establishment on Sunset boulevard. Since the neighbourhood had already been saturated with other restaurants and bars, Travis wanted to find ways to stand out among the older establishments in the area. The Gainbuzz team started with a thorough exploration of the goals and challenges that Travis was facing with his restaurant business.
From the beginning, Travis had made it very clear that Minimugs was established with an aim to replace unhealthy food habits with his new, healthy, clean-eating menu. Travis was also very clear about the fact that he did not have a huge marketing budget so he did no wish to build his marketing campaign around outdoor hoardings, digital displays or other expensive mass-marketing effort. Travis’ mission was to provide wholesome goodness to his consumers’ diet as a way of encouraging busy people to adopt a healthy lifestyle without compromising on the ease and convenience of fast food. The goal was to get the word out about Minimugs’ new permanent location to as many people as possible – especially to the flourishing local student population in the vicinity.
In order to make Travis’ healthy food proposition functional and generate a strong demand within his target population, we had customers complete a pre-campaign and post implementation survey, The results of the pre-campaign survey gave us clear insight into the challenges that Travis would be facing when he relocated to Sunset Boulevard:
- Travis was competing to grab the attention of loyal McDonald’s and KFC customers
- These pre-eminent fast food chains had a lot of resources at their disposal and an already existing customer base
- Being able to offer great tasting, nutritious food at a reasonable price point
- Marketing with a small budget and without prominent outdoor displays
Although the pre-existing restaurants in the area had large budgets and an already existing loyal customer base; they would not be able to offer the health benefits and the ‘feel good’ vibe that Travis was able to offer with his 100 percent organic and nutritious meals. Jointly with the Gainbuzz team, Travis came up with the following actionable strategies to overcome the challenges mentioned above:
- Greater emphasis on both nutrition and taste for the overall satisfaction of customers
- Engaging and leveraging the already existing consumers who frequented the restraints in the area by distributing pamphlets providing nutritional and caloric information comparing Minimugs offerings to those of the better known fast-food chains.
- Tieing up with the local co-operative farming participants to buy their organic produce
- Giving away coupons with a discount to Minimugs to be used with a limited period of time.
- Tieing up with a local student bands to perform at Minimugs Jam sessions one day a week to attract interest
- Advertising in the local student newsletter as a way to spread the word about Munimugs
- Changing their brand voice and tone to reflect their green, clean, delicious menu
Since Minimugs was only a block away from the main UCLA campus, the Gainbuzz team was able to activate Travis’ existing contacts within the student body to spread the word about Minimugs. Gainbuzz also helped Travis craft a targeted print advertising campaign and execute a rebranding campaign to better suit the health and wellness niche. Travis’ menu was rebranded to create a light, cheerful, green vibe and reflect the local organic produce that his signature dishes featured.
Minimugs collaborations with local vendors, community gardens and local musicians paid off generating overwhelming local interest from the surrounding community. Gainbuzz also conducted a post-activation survey in which the team found that 8 out of 10 people in the local community had recommended or wanted to recommend Minimugs to their friends and family. With the promising response received from the customers, Minimugs Food Pvt. Ltd. eventually ended-up expanding to another location within the city.
“Being new to the world of marketing, I was really apprehensive about putting a lot of my hard earned money into a marketing campaign with Gainbuzz. From the very first call, the Gainbuzz team was very helpful, constantly making suggestions to improve my branding, leverage my network and adopt strategies to tap into the local community to build a strong following of customers. The rebranding work they have done for me has worked wonders. I feel that we have really captured the essence of the minimugs experience and the proof is in the pudding – three months ago, Minimugs was in such high demand that I had to open up a second location to meet the growing customer need.”
Travis Finlay, Owner, Minimugs Food Pvt. Ltd