QSR Blends The On-And-Off Premise Experiencehttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/QSR-HeaderImage-1440x428-2.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
While menu wars stand no chance for fizzling out, fast food brands aren’t just focusing on flavor profiles. They’re tapping into pop culture trends influenced by music and entertainment and bringing to life the digital world into physical spaces. From LTO promos and celebrity partnerships to full-on clothing lines, there’s a whole lot of hype making consumers crave more than just fast food. Without a doubt, QSRs have never been cooler.
Speed, convenience, and frictionless experiences may be the new restaurant norm; it’s the brands who do more than just deliver (literally) on the expected that will secure a spot with next-gen consumers. The key ingredient isn’t a secret sauce or a nostalgic rebrand; it’s experience. It’s the intangible moments creating lasting impressions, capturing consumer attention, and popping up on the “For You” feed of TikTok.
An Experiential Pop-Up
With an irreverent and quick-witted attitude, one QSR brand has managed to do just that. Early this summer, fast-food chain Wendy’s resumed its Adult Swim partnership for an all-out immersive experience to promote Rick and Morty’s fifth season. Converting its Panorama City, California location from a Wendy’s to a full-on Morty’s restaurant, guests were transported into another dimension with an out-of-the-world experience. From building aesthetics to a Wubba Lubba Grub Grub themed menu, including the Pickle Rick Pickle Frosty and Jerry’s single burger, no detail was left undone.
The fast-food brand turned the transactional lane of the drive-thru into an immersive experience with larger-than-life inflatable Rick and Morty heads as the portal. Guests (many of whom waited hours) navigated through the psychedelic tunnel of custom LED animations with the sounds of Rick and Morty piping in courtesy of a local radio station. And rather than just a combo meal and receipt, customers ended the adventure with an in-car photo op.
Not to be left out, though, fans across the fast-food brand’s more than 5,000 locations could indulge in the fun with two new available flavor drink mixes: Mello Yello BerryJerryboree and Mello Yello Portal Time Lemon Lime, as well as online digital content, to create excitement for the new crazy animated adventures of Rick of Morty.
“We’re big fans of Rick and Morty and continuing another season with our partnership with entertainment powerhouse Adult Swim,” We love finding authentic ways to connect with this passionate fanbase and are excited to extend the Rick and Morty experience into our menu, incredible content and great delivery deals all season long.” – Carl Loredo, Chief Marketing Officer for Wendy’s
While Wendy’s may be on another spectrum of consumer cool, they’re not the only brands leaning into experiential events to draw traffic. White Castle has been proudly celebrating Valentine’s Day for years, coffee and donut brand Dunkin has hosted drive-thru vow renewals, and the golden arches of McDonald’s once gave new meaning with a luxury VIP dining experience complete with a string quartet and diamond cutlery.
The food may forever be fast, but the space for QSR will continue to embrace experience. Those brands that cater not only to connecting customer touchpoints but also brand, marketing, and advertising will find the perfect matrix for a prosperous future.
Want to learn more about the Restaurant of the Future Formula? Check out our insights article exploring how QSR brands are flexing their ability to adapt by creating a new restaurant landscape with multiple brand concepts.