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#GLF19 | "Either watch the train go by or hop on board," Jérôme Tafani, Burger King

Burger King is back to France. And it is thinking digital. Because digital is a fantastic tool.

One of our responses to a McDonald’s advertisement achieved fantastic results. To receive such feedback before the digitization would have meant spending millions of euros in prime time ads on TF1. In less than 5 days and with a budget under 70,000€ the equivalent of at least 500 GRP in television was generated. Before we used these methods because we had no choice. 

At the very beginning, McDonald’s marketing budget was the equivalent Burger King’s turnover. Burger King was in France until 1997, but the chain left because it lagged too far behind in terms of market shares with respect to the group’s strategy. Then Olivier Bertrand, a leader in catering, took the risk of taking over the franchise and bought Quick in order to accelerate Burger King's expansion in France. In 2012: 0 restaurant, in 2018: 298 restaurants. 800,000 million euros in revenue. Powerful growth, thanks to digital in particular.

So, how does digital work in a market with a giant like McDonald’s?
For a long time, the Number 2 in fast-food made half as much as McDonald’s. In this dominated market there are also many new arrivals. Of course, it isn’t just about digital. Initially you need a good product, no matter what, even if one might have the impression that digital can do anything. After the burger, it is the brand that is important. In order to exist in the shadow of a giant it is important to be different. It’s either that or low-cost. When there’s a monopoly: either differentiate or follow the leader at a lower price. Thanks to digital tools, we used our fans and their strength in communications to get the job done. You live in a town with no Burger King, and you want to move to a town that has one? We will pay for the move. We have created events especially for our fans, with preview openings, and we invite them to try new sandwiches first. Digital is about getting our fans to spread the word. They are our ambassadors and will be more efficient than any amount of money spent. Moreover, our advertisements talk about our fans.

It was necessary to set a new tone: irony. Not taking oneself too seriously makes it possible to communicate with fans. Even if we take our trade seriously, we can take a lighter approach in our communications.

In addition to communications, digital also participates in the moment of consumption at the restaurant. Terminals for placing orders make it possible to choose and personalize one’s menu. There is also a drive in service and home delivery.

Home delivery is an important subject: “no-risk” doesn’t exist here. The problem is the same with OTAs and search engines. It means giving up control over part of the chain, creates an image of an employer; it makes it impossible to manage product and service quality. But is not doing home delivery an option? If you do not do home delivery, then you lose out on Sunday night. Consumers pay the high price for lower quality and the option to stay home. Either watch the train go by or hop on board. Much consideration was necessary to limit risks such as with innovations on packaging. We managed to have our clientele enter their loyalty card number so we can follow them. Ideally rather than service aggregators we should use owned applications. But it’s complicated as clients prefer applications that centralize information.


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