Burger King’s efforts to “modernise” its marketing are beginning to pay off, parent company Restaurant Brands International (RBI) has said, as it focuses on investing in its digital capabilities to reach consumers.
In a call with investors today (4 August), RBI CEO José Cil said the fast food chain is focusing its “media firepower” on “fewer, well-tested, high quality and high-impact messages”.
“We’ve seen our global leadership in this area begin to resonate with guests,” he claimed.
In October 2021, Cil said Burger King’s marketing had been diluted by “spreading [itself] too thin across too many messages with mixed results”.
More recently, the business pledged to better test its marketing and advertising initiatives to ensure “more impactful” work, something which it has now implemented.
Cil told investors today the business is “learning more” from consumers’ digital interactions with the brand and using these lessons to drive engagement and adoption of its digital platforms through integrated marketing campaigns.
RBI is continuing to focus on its digital capabilities across all its brands, which also include Tim Horton and Popeyes, the business said. In its second quarter ending 30 June 2022, almost a third of its system-wide sales were digital.Burger King to ensure ‘more impactful’ advertising with ‘better testing’
Digital sales for the business grew double digits year-on-year to over $3bn (£2.44bn). Overall system sales for the business grew 14.2%, representing an increase of nearly $1bn (£825m) year-on-year to $10.1bn (£8.34bn).
Burger King specifically saw a 14.6% system sales increase globally to $6.44bn (£5.32bn).
The fast food brand is also seeing a boost in digital sales across its international business, it claimed. While total growth in digital sales across Burger King was in the double digits, RBI said international growth in digital sales was well above that.
Particular areas of growth were in delivery, mobile order and pay, and loyalty, Cil said, adding: “Guests are using digital channels more than ever.”
RBI’s chief operating officer Joshua Kobza added that the business is seeing benefits for its brands through collaboration between the marketing and digital teams.
He gave the example of Burger King US’s ‘Frequent Fry’er’ loyalty campaign, which gave members access to free fries every week for the rest of the year. This collaborative work between digital and marketing “has proven to be incremental to digital sales since its launch”, the company claimed.
Carefully monitoring price inflation
Post-pandemic Burger King is performing ahead of many of its rivals, Cil claimed.
“Burger King’s strong brand positioning has served as an incremental growth driver above and beyond the macro recovery in many of our markets,” he said.
He added that in the UK, Germany, France and Italy, Burger King ranks as consumers’ number one QSR preference, something which he attributed to “strong brand affinity”.
The business admitted that price increases are an unfortunate reality in the current climate, but said it is closely monitoring the situation to ensure traffic isn’t affected.
“We look at the competition and then we take into account the consumer and where they are in the journey, so we are very thoughtful about this,” said Cil.
“We use third parties to help us assess the situation by market, by brand by and by locale as well. And then we work with the franchisees to ensure that they do the best they can to price in the best way possible to ensure that we don’t get too far ahead of the consumer.”