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How Hyperlocal Marketing Can Drive Growth for Franchise Restaurants?

Consumers are eating out or ordering food now more than ever and this trend is surely moving upward and onwards. Eating out culture is more of a community bonding exercise now since the pandemic hit us hard and created distances that made us realize the importance of this community.

In such a crowded space, with hundreds and thousands of options to choose from while eating out, how does one make sure that their restaurant chain is noticed? We've all seen many fast-food chains or franchisees across the city or multiple locations. But when hunger strikes, don't we remember what's close by and from where food can be ordered or picked?

Why hyperlocal marketing is so essential for restaurants

That's why hyperlocal marketing for your restaurant chain or franchise is so essential.

As your brand grows, the constant need to improve your food franchise or chain advertising strategies should become your number one priority. But modern restaurant marketing entails a lot more than creating ads or maintaining a social media page. It requires restaurants to leave their comfort zones, test new tactics, and measure what moves the needle.

In this visually appealing and tantalizing world, your restaurant marketing campaigns should capture this very essence and captivate the senses of your audiences and this can be delivered brilliantly through the digital medium.

But this can be a herculean task for brands with a national presence, who have to cater to both local and national markets and maintain a brand-safe uniform messaging and tone.

1. Understanding your target group or audience

Fast food joints and casual food establishments/franchises of all sizes are faced with the mammoth task of understanding their TG across every platform and every local market. They need to do enough market research and trial & error to create compelling, relevant content to attract potential customers. This requires brand marketers to prioritize a combined national and hyperlocal strategy for social and digital marketing.

For example, a social channel like Instagram will cater to audiences who are younger and have the tendency to eat outside more often, like students who are studying outside or people moving out. So the interests vary drastically and so does your demographic selection from one platform to another.

Let's look at Domino's Pizza TG & Demographics:

The graph attached below shows that the majority of their TG would be under 50 years old. That means their prime target market is 18-30-year-olds who are living alone, single, college students, searching for discounts & offers, or young adults staying outside their hometowns.

The Income Segmentation of Domino's TG:

Their primary target market would be the middle class and lower-middle-class group who are always on the lookout for quality along with reasonable pricing.

Domino's India Social Media Accounts & Followers:

  • 103K subscribers

These numbers clearly indicate that Domino's India TG are spending the most time on Facebook and that is the ideal place to target them hyper-locally with paid ads and organic posts that can push them to take an action and make them aware of the current offers running.

That's why it's important for restaurant franchisees to understand where their target audience is present and how to reach those demographics most effectively. These interests and lifestyles can help you consistently express that in every piece of content you create and every action the brand takes.

2. Maintaining brand uniformity & identity across restaurant franchisees

Just catering to local audiences is not the end game. For a franchise or a restaurant chain that has a national & local presence, it is important to keep the sanctity of the brand intact. This means that the brand image and messaging have to be uniform and in compliance with the overall brand guideline.

If we take McDonald's as an example, one of the most successful & easily recognized fast-food chains in the world.

They have around 30,000 franchising stores in 119 countries, targeting approximately 47 million people each day and generating about $ 15 billion in revenues annually.

To develop such a huge presence all over the world, they have successfully focused on both the local & international elements and have consistently maintained a unique brand image with its most popular mascot Ronald the clown, which is a favourite among the kids and families. This instant connection with the brand and its red and golden clown mascot Ronald, placed outside all its outlets, continuously reminds the families and its TG of its promise of delivering value and happiness.

They largely focus on customer satisfaction and experience by catering to various taste buds across the regions.

Their menu varies in various countries and sometimes even within the country to focus on different regional preferences, leading to specialized menus catering to local flavours.

For example, in India, they have a lot of vegetarian options inspired by Indian cuisine for burgers and other snacks, such as Veg Pizza McPuff, Maharaja Mac (veg or chicken), McAloo Tikki (potato patty), McSpicy Paneer (cheese patty), Masala Grill Veg, etc.

The Indian outlets do not serve beef and pork due to religious reasons. And in the US, the classic hamburger or cheeseburger contains a beef patty. Similarly in the US, they have far more breakfast and beverage options, like oats parfait, breakfast burritos, milkshakes, sodas, etc. Whereas in India, we have unique options like McFloats (ice cream with soda) and Thumbs Up (Indian soda).

Within India, there are two different menus: one for North and East India and one for South and West India. The menu for South and West India has even more variety. The range of beverages and desserts is much wider than in North and East India (though still not as vast as the US).

I remember one time they even did a special collab for a limited-edition BTS Meal (South Korean boy band) which was a big hit all over the world. These types of collaborations with different brands have worked well for the brand in the past.

McDonald's has truly aced the franchise advertising game when it comes to maintaining brand uniformity and identity. Even though it caters to various markets and regions, the brand identity is still intact and the red and golden arches and Ronald the clown, always remind you of the brand, no matter where you see it.0

3. Use of regional and vernacular content across regions and social handles

Generally, if you are a big restaurant or fast-food chain franchise, you would likely stick to English as your primary language because that's what your audience understands. But when you step outside those native English-speaking countries and launch internationally where the spoken language may not be English, then how do you reach out to such audiences and ensure that the content is seen, heard, and understood?

Let's look at a few examples of brands using the local language for their creatives:

Burger King Ad in Spanish & Japanese

Chaayos ad in Hinglish, Taco Bell's Hinglish Instagram post & Domino's Pizza Hindi ad

Starbucks using the power of regional content & Haagen Dasz capturing the Chinese market

Inspiring Success Story of Cadbury India adopting 'Local' to 'Glocal' ad strategy

Challenge: Reviving local businesses and promoting Cadbury Celebrations hyper-locally during Diwali '20

What they did:

This was the time when businesses were hit hard during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the ones to suffer the most were local or neighbourhood stores, as they rely on store footfalls and walk-ins. This campaign beautifully depicts how a hyperlocal ad campaign can do so much more and serve the community better.

No matter the country, city, or location, hyperlocal marketing campaigns for restaurants, fast-food chains, or any local business always involve the use of vernacular or regional language.

Big MNC brands also do that in various parts of the world, they adopt the local language and flavour to talk to the local audiences who will understand and respond to that language.

This is one of the core principles of hyperlocal marketing for franchises. Once you know your audience, it is the most important step to communicate in their preferred language.

The use of vernacular content to promote your products and services, makes the audience relate to your brand better. But even if you use the local language and do not promote it across your social handles and through other paid activities, that just goes to show that all your communication efforts were in vain.

It's not just about the language, the visuals shared on the social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube should also emphasize the local flavours of that particular region. This makes your audience believe that you understand their culture and talk their language.

Scaling franchise marketing hyper-locally for restaurants

There are countless mediums to connect on the hyperlocal level—social channels like Facebook, email marketing, search engine marketing, PPC campaigns, SEO, Directory listings like JustDial, Sulekha, Yellow Pages, Yelp, GMB listing (google my business), etc. From discovery to micro-influencers to UGC, the social platforms have become a major player for restaurants of all sizes, making them an important piece of the jigsaw puzzle of the franchise marketing world. And with each platform comes its own set of understood audience rules, preferences, and protocols.

While brand marketers can arm their franchisees and partners with a bank of visual content that reflects the brand at-large, many struggle to scale campaigns and resonate on a local level.

Turn audience insights into your secret sauce recipe for success

In order for a campaign to be successful, restaurant marketers must have a strong understanding of their target audience and personas.

Are they Baby Boomers, Gen Y, or Gen Z? Do they respond better to content that's funny or something that cuts to the chase? A great place to start is by analyzing social media and paid campaigns data. From post-engagement to action taken, data can be your business's secret sauce to use and learn.

Local restaurant branches can also simply ask their customers by using short feedback forms to better understand what brought customers in the door and what they wish to see more of from this particular restaurant.

Fast-food franchises, fast-casual chains, or local eateries … a restaurant's identity is constructed from every branded visual element that it uses to interact with customers.

Despite the fact that social networks are bringing individuals closer together than ever before, consumer culture's physical and hyperlocal restrictions remain in place. When used at scale, custom content that is bold, unique, regionally relevant, and offers a compelling and sympathetic story is more likely to stand out.

But if you lack the resources or the bandwidth to implement hyperlocal marketing strategies for your restaurant franchise advertising, then it's better to leave it to the experts. Outsource your brand's franchise advertising to a digital agency or an automated franchise marketing platform that can help you create and maintain a centralized structure for all your outlets with a uniform messaging that echoes the brand's ethics and values.

We at Mediqart offer a unique product called “ Mediaqart Sync ” which is specifically developed for franchise advertising. Our tool helps you seamlessly collaborate with your franchisee partners and create hyperlocal marketing strategies that can be customized and executed at scale for digital channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Google. We give the brands the flexibility to view all campaigns from a single Brand Dashboard and help you locally advertise near the outlets or franchisees to increase sales and revenue.

If you are looking to scale your restaurant's marketing efforts, then we are the right fit for your brand.