Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||McDonald’s, Subway Rank as Most-Visited QSR Chains
Starbucks, Burger King and Wendy's Also Among the 10 Most-Visited Quick-Service Brands, Study Finds
Quick-service chains with the most locations ranked among the most-visited brands in a new study from Seattle-based Placed Insights, but the report also revealed new marketing opportunities for some of them based on demographic information.
Based on more than 70,000 consumer interviews during April 2013, Placed Insights' "Dining Out in America: The Quick Service Restaurant Landscape" report found that McDonald's and Subway led all quick-service restaurant companies in consumer visits. Nearly 51 percent of consumers surveyed said they had visited McDonald's recently and 39.7 percent of them said they had visited Subway.
Starbucks Coffee was the next most-visited quick-service chain, with 25 percent of respondents stopping in recently, according to Placed Insights. The coffee giant finished just ahead of Burger King and Wendy's, which had 24.7 percent and 23.8 percent of consumer visits, respectively. Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut, Sonic and Arby's rounded out Nos. 6 through 10.
The report is the first installment of a two-part series on quick service; the second half of the report will be published later this month.
Coffee is king on the coasts
Several regional differences arose in Placed Insights' April report, though the one consistent finding was that McDonald's was the most-visited restaurant brand in every region, including the Northeast, Midwest, South and West.
Though it has nearly 10,000 more U.S. locations than McDonald's, Subway finished second in traffic and was the No. 2 most-visited brand in the Midwest and South. The sandwich chain finished No. 3 in the West and Northeast.
Coffee chains leveraged their "home field advantage" in the West and Northeast, Placed Insights wrote, as Seattle-based Starbucks was the second most-visited brand in the West, and Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Donuts took the No. 2 spot in the Northeast.
Burger King, Wendy's and Taco Bell were the only other chains to rank in the 10 most-visited brands in each region. The South was the only area where Wendy's outranked Burger King.
The Midwest was the only region with two Mexican food chains, as Taco Bell placed No. 5 and Chipotle Mexican Grill placed No. 10 in the area. The Midwest was also the only place where Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen cracked the 10 most-visited restaurants list, placing No. 7.
Similarly, several other brands achieved outsize traffic in their core markets to rank among the top 10 most-visited chains in certain regions, such as Panera Bread in the Northeast; Sonic and Chick-fil-A in the South; and Jack in the Box, Panda Express, Carl's Jr. and Jamba Juice in the West.
Demographics' effect on traffic
Placed Insights' survey also studied traffic patterns of consumers in different demographic groups, like ethnicity and income. The report revealed that Caucasians were the least likely group to skew heavily toward any one restaurant chain, while Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans had several brands they frequented more than other groups.
Asian-Americans were nearly four times as likely than other demographic groups to visit Jamba Juice and nearly three times as likely to visit In-N-Out Burger, based on Placed Insight's index scores for visit frequency. Asian-Americans' index scores for Jamba Juice and In-N-Out were 390 and 292, respectively, where an index score of 100 represents average visit frequency for any one chain.
Hispanics' highest-indexed brands were Pollo Tropical, El Pollo Loco and In-N-Out Burger, with scores of 410, 299 and 296, respectively. That demographic group also indexed above 200 for Wienerschnitzel, Del Taco, Church's Chicken, Carl's Jr., Jack in the Box and Whataburger.
African-Americans' highest-indexed restaurant brand was Church's, at 311. That group also indexed above 200 for Checkers, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Krystal, Rally's, Captain D's and Krispy Kreme.
Conversely, Caucasians did not index above 150 for any restaurant brand, though Taco John's, Culver's and Tim Horton's led that demographic group with index scores of 136, 132 and 128, respectively.
Placed Insights also broke out a separate analysis for McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Taco Bell, and found that Wendy's was the only brand to index below-average frequency for the Hispanic demographic, with a score of 84.
By contrast, McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell indexed at 104, 101 and 100, respectively, for Hispanics. Placed Insights noted that McDonald's is the fourth-largest Spanish-language advertiser in the United States, while Wendy's only recently significantly increased its Hispanic-media spending. Wendy's also indexed far below average for Asian-Americans, at 54, though that demographic group indexed below 100 for all four brands.
Taco Bell skewed the youngest in frequency index scores by age group, Placed Insights found. The chain was the only brand to index slightly above 100 for the age brackets of 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44, as well as the only brand to index below 100 for the 45-54 age group. The report showed consumers 55 and older were 19-percent less likely to visit Taco Bell, and only Wendy's scored above an index of 100 with that group.
None of the four chains indexed above 100 for consumers making less than $25,000 per year. Beginning at the household income range of $25,000 to $50,000 per year, they all were slightly above average, with Taco Bell leading Burger King with index scores of 103 and 102, respectively, and Wendy's and McDonald’s each scoring 101.
From there, at income levels starting at $50,000, $75,000 and $100,000, Wendy's had the highest frequency indexes of the four.
(Source: Nation's Restaurant News, 05/30/13)
To download a copy of the Placed Insights report, follow this link.
||Look at Those RVs Go: Americans Return to Homes on Wheels
The recent acceleration in car sales is impressive, but there's an even better sign the U.S. economy is getting back on track: surging sales of recreational vehicles.
The makers of RVs shipped 32,100 machines in the U.S. in April, a 19 percent increase from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.
RVs are a notable niche because it takes no small amount of consumer confidence to buy a gas-guzzling home on wheels. Between 2007 and 2009, more than half of the RV market disappeared. Light-vehicle sales, by contrast, dropped by 36 percent.
"No one needs an RV," said Jeff Tryka, a spokesman for Thor Industries, one of the biggest U.S. RV makers. "It's a purely discretionary purchase, while there's always going to be a base-level demand for cars."
The motor home and towable camper business, a $14 billion market in the U.S., is on track for its best performance since 2007. For the year to date, shipments are up 13 percent and the RV association expects more than 307,000 vehicles to roll by January.
The sales boost doesn't matter much to Detroit, but it's big news about 200 miles away in Indiana, where roughly half of the country's RVs are made. It's also great for companies like privately held Jayco, the Forest River unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, and Thor, which cranks out some of the most popular RV brands, including Airstream and Keystone.
When the RV market bottomed out in 2009, Thor's payroll dropped to 5,400 workers; today it employs 8,800. And in anticipation of higher demand, it just bought a factory in Wakarusa, Ind., equipped with 35 booths for painting giant campers. Last quarter, Thor posted income of $19.9 million -- a 45 percent increase from a year earlier.
Winnebago Industries, one of the only publicly traded companies in the RV business, is also cruising right along with $6.3 million profit in the latest quarter, swinging from a $910,000 loss.
Just like the auto market, relatively low interest rates and more efficient models are driving demand.
"During the depths of the recession, you couldn't get much financing at all," Tryka said. "Then it came back to $30,000 or so per vehicle, then $60,000. Now you can get financing pretty easily up to about $150,000."
Not surprisingly, Thor's biggest gains of late have come from its opulent motorized coaches, not its towable pop-up campers. The recent sales boom is also a result of pent-up demand, according to Tryka, as consumers put off upgrades until the economy improved.
More than 9 million American households already own RVs, the highest level on record according to RVIA statistics. And the industry expects a wave of new buyers as baby boomers hit retirement. Right now, though, it's summertime in America and the busiest month of the year for sales of homes on wheels.
(Source: Businessweek, 06/05/13)
||Funeral Directors Thinking Outside the Box for Baby Boomers
In death, as in life, baby boomers want to do it their way. And the death industry is gearing up to meet this demand as the generation that bucked authority customizes how it dies.
Boomers, who never lost their youthful taste for rebellion, want to control every detail of their "stairway to heaven" up to and including buying "pre-need funerals" to prepare for the inevitable. The industry also is responding by consolidating to take advantage of economies of scale as boomers age.
"If you look at the boomers, they've sort of changed everything as they've moved along the consumer spectrum," said Clint Fendley, analyst at Davenport & Company LLC.
"We're personalizing everything," said Nathan Smith, founder and president of 'Til We Meet Again, a custom casket and urn company. Smith opened his flagship store in Wichita, Kan., three years ago. Today, he has four stores around the country and franchise agreements for more than a dozen others. "There is such a huge demand for this product," he said. "The baby boomers are driving this."
Smith said the extent of personalization can be significant. One customer, a "self-professed hippie that was stuck in the '60s", ordered a casket with an exterior that looked tie-dyed, Smith said.
For this "born to be wild" generation, Smith said motorcycle-themed items are popular. "We have urns that look like motorcycle gas tanks we can custom paint to match their bikes," he said. "We've done a lot of caskets with hot rod flames or painting them to match the bike."
Smith has licensing agreements with entities ranging from pro sports teams to Orange County Choppers to the Vatican.
Nationwide, the funeral industry is worth $17 billion, and there are 2.4 million to 2.6 million deaths each year in the United States, according to the Sterling, Va.-based International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association.
While the number of deaths has remained steady, the outlook for the industry is strong, considering the aging baby boomer generation -- 76 million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964 -- is expected to push the death rate higher within the next decade.
Ann Bastianelli, CEO of marketing firm Anthology Consulting and a marketing professor at Indiana University, said the boomers' view of life was reflected in their attitude toward death.
"One of the things we identified was this whole notion that your life is individual and personalized, and your death should be also," Bastianelli said.
The demand for customization in everything from caskets to memorial services to keepsakes will help boost the industry's earnings. "There's definitely a revenue opportunity for funeral homes in general if they can offer value-added services," said Kathy Williams, co-owner of American Funeral Consultants.
"It's up to the funeral directors to kind of think out of the box to think of things that will generate income and will make the funeral meaningful for the families," Williams said.
Indeed, Wall Street analysts estimate that Service Corporation International, which just announced it is acquiring Stewart Enterprises in a $1.4 billion deal to become the largest U.S. funeral company, will see next year's profits triple what they made in 2006.
The combined company, operating over 2,100 funeral homes and cemeteries, is expected to have annual revenue of almost $3 billion and generate about $60 million in annual cost savings.
Of course, boomers are primarily in their 60s; they aren't at death's door yet. But their penchant for controlling everything, even something as fundamentally uncontrollable as death, dovetails with the growing business of what the funeral industry calls "pre-need" sales.
"Through pre-need sales today, operators can lock up that future volume today," Rice said.
Ten years ago, the industry was in a slump, with costs rising and a slowing death rate. By selling pre-need funerals -- the plot, the coffin, the service, even the catered reception afterward -- funeral companies were able to generate revenue, even if profits slumped.
Although they can't book all of the revenue from such sales right away, "it's a pretty nice built-in stream of future revenue you can count on," Fendley said.
Service Corp. reported a 10.2 percent increase in cemetery "pre-need" sales in 2012. But Chief Marketing Officer Philip Jacobs told the Houston Business Journal recently that only about one-third of the funerals his company handles are planned in advance.
Funeral service providers also can suggest to customers that even cremation, which has increased in popularity as the cost of a traditional burial has climbed above $6,500, can be personalized -- for a price.
The vast majority of the nearly 20,000 funeral homes in the United States are independently owned, with the rest held by a few big corporate players like Service Corp.
The newly combined company will have a footprint of 1,653 funeral homes and 515 cemeteries, which gives it purchasing power and economies of scale that will let it offer as many options for boomers' end-of-life as Starbucks does for their morning coffee.
(Source: CNBC, 06/05/13)
Daily Sales Tip: Digital Attraction Strategies
Traditional prospecting strategies are important, but sometimes you need other ways to break through prospects' delete barrier and digital attraction strategies can help.
Here are just a few digital attraction strategies that can help you maximize your prospecting and grab new contacts' attention.
1. Dig Into Social Networking
Most sellers think that doing research on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter is enough when it comes to integrating social networking into their prospecting. There's plenty more you can do!
Connect with prospects on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter. Join groups where your prospects are.
Once you're connected in some way, using your social network to send direct messages may get past gatekeepers when nothing else will.
Start discussions, comment on posts, and re-tweet to be visible while emphasizing your credibility in your target market. Your goal here is to get and keep prospects hooked on you!
If you want to build awareness with your prospects, be seen where they're visiting. Write articles or blog for sites they frequent. These are perfect vehicles for showcasing your expertise. They can also help to keep your prospects watching you.
Tailor each piece specifically to your target market, writing about issues they're experiencing and offering suggestions and tips. People trust and respond to experts who provide good ideas and tips that really work. Be one of those experts.
3. Send Out E-Newsletters
E-newsletters have been around for quite a while now, and aren't quite as "cutting-edge" as other digital prospecting techniques. They are, however, ideal for helping you to stay in consistent touch with prospects who aren't yet ready to buy and customers who haven't purchased in the past year.
One great thing about e-newsletters is that they allow you to stay in touch without having to worry about whether or not you're being too pushy. It's one of the least invasive digital attraction strategies. You provide valuable content while reminding prospects that you're available to help.
Prospecting can seem impossibly difficult at times, but it doesn't have to be! By supplementing your personal attraction strategies with digital strategies, you can build awareness, demonstrate your expertise and attract the prospects that are right for you.
Source: Sales speaker/consultant Kendra Lee