With nearly 200,000 quick-service restaurants (QSR) in the United States, competition for customers is fierce. How can a brand create an authentic connection with key customer segments in an area where consumers have so many options? The answer lies in leveraging influencer marketing for quick-service restaurants.
While QSRs are popular with nearly any American, Gen Z has shown particular interest in this restaurant category. Of the 5 billion restaurant visits Gen Zers made from July 2021 to July 2022, 4.3 billion were to QSRs, according to the NPD Group.
Some QSR brands have keyed in on younger generations. McDonald’s is among the most successful, making waves with celebrity meals collabs with Travis Scott, Mariah Carey, BTS, and many more.
Brands in the QSR space can engage with influencers in many ways, including:
- Hosting in-store experiences
- Providing new menu items for reviews
- Hiring them as brand ambassadors
- Asking influencers to share their restaurant visits, such as using an app to order
- Offering influencers a behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant, showcasing the kitchen, staff, or food preparation process
- Working with creators to promote restaurant loyalty programs
- Creating a special menu item in collaboration with influencers
- Hosting influencer meet and greets at specific locations
Influencers have the unique ability to create buzz with their posts. A particularly funny or interesting piece of content can center a new meme or social media trend on a brand.
Customers already engage directly with influencers, whether they are loyal followers or they come across them on a TikTok or Instagram feed. Partnering with an influencer allows QSRs two important things: direct connection with desired audiences and authentic, third-party endorsement of an exciting product.
Successful influencer marketing strategies by leading QSR brands
Possibilities abound for attention-grabbing, creative content promoting QSR brands. These examples show how much fun influencers can have with any endorsement.
Checker’s + Rally’s
IZEA and Checker’s + Rally’s tapped iskate_solo, a roller skating influencer, for this campaign. He shows off his dance moves while announcing the search for #FryFreaks across the nation. This creator’s content connects well with people willing to submit their videos to the campaign. Iskate_solo’s videos often feature music, dancing, and enthusiastic skating.
Bouldin Acres Austin
Bouldin Acres in Austin hosted a free Yelp event to increase engagement with local foodies. Mimi, a popular Austin food influencer, created this Reel featuring decadent brunch food, pickleball, and an exciting outdoor patio.
Big Dawg TV, an influencer dubbed the Foodie Travel Guy, featured Cici’s Pizza’s “Piezilla” in this video. He joked that the Piezilla might need a tow truck to be delivered. This TikTok video shows how influencers can put their twist on a partnership through their unique sense of humor and filming style.
Liz, a foodie influencer, partnered with Cici’s for a post about the Piezilla. Her photo shows the pie’s size and doesn’t look out of place in her Instagram grid, which is filled with the delicious food she purveys.
Key metrics to track for influencer marketing campaigns
The authenticity that influencers bring to the table can make a campaign greater than the sum of its parts. Still, tracking metrics and determining influencer marketing campaigns’ outcomes is important.
For campaigns that involve specific menu items, sales of those menu items should be tracked before and after the influencer campaign.
A campaign that challenges users to create their own content – like Checker’s + Rally’s #FryFreak content, for example – can be assessed based on the amount of user-generated content that is produced, and the overall level of engagement with a brand’s social presence.
Sales and foot traffic coming into a restaurant after an influencer campaign can be handled through IZEA’s full-service team and Solution Partners. Partnerships put IZEA’s expertise in influencer marketing to work, optimizing influencer campaigns and accurately tracking their performance to draw valuable insight.