For consistent nationwide messaging, QSRs need to secure local operator buy-in

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October 13, 2021, 2:02 AM UTC

Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) should consider national and local advertising needs in combination.

Given that QSR brands and their local franchisees have different needs, a marketing approach that answers the needs of both without also alienating customers is required. With franchisees contributing to national ad spends and franchisors competing for the market share, there could be disenchantment if a national campaign aimed at generating buzz doesn’t also help increase sales at franchisee locations.

Corporate-led campaigns can come under scrutiny, and the backlash is often dealt with by local franchisees. For example, Subway's campaign, featuring athletes like Serena Williams and Megan Rapinoe, drew criticism after Rapinoe took a knee at the Tokyo Olympics, affecting sales for some franchisees.

QSR brands must give franchisees a seat at the deciding table so that national ad campaigns don’t backfire at a local level. When franchisees buy into a system “they're paying the mother ship to do marketing, the mother ship needs to deliver”, notes Dan Rowe, CEO of Fransmart. Five Guy’s CMO, Molly Catalano believes the way to do this is to set up a board of franchisees.

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