Mailer Gets Word Out About Steak-Out

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Steak-Out Franchising Inc. needs to use the mail to help solve a perception problem.

"Too many people do not know what we do," said Tim Myers, director of marketing at Steak-Out Franchising, Norcross, GA, the parent company of Steak-Out Charbroiled Delivery. "The biggest misconception is that we are similar to Omaha Steaks and that we deliver raw, frozen steaks to your home."

Direct mail is being used to tell consumers that Steak-Out Charbroiled Delivery provides takeout and delivery of cooked meals. The chain has 70 locations in 17 states, mainly in the Southeast.

"Since we're not a point of destination, we have to target customers down to the street they live on," Myers said, "and with direct mail, we can do that."

Vincent Direct, Dublin, OH, handled list acquisition and acted as the printer and mail house for the campaign. It created a two-sided, four-panel piece featuring Steak-Out's menu. Also included were several photographs of menu items and coupons customized for each franchisee.

The copy began, "Steak-Out Char-Broiled Delivery understands that your demanding schedule requires ease in meal preparation. Our business is to deliver hot, complete meals right to your door." The mailer also gave the franchise's address, telephone number, fax number and hours of operation. To capitalize on the low-carbohydrate craze, it also made suggestions for a low-carb, high-protein diet.

"The first thing we want to do is get our menu in people's hands and show them the products," Myers said. "We need to show that we have a high-quality product that is designed to travel. It's a tough story to sell since normally you think of pizza when you think of delivery. It's tough to explain to people that we can deliver a steak, salad and baked potato that you would love. But we don't want them to think we're a fast-food item."

A total of 500,000 pieces dropped in May, with 10,000 each targeting areas surrounding 50 locations. Recipients lived within three to four miles of a location.

"We allowed the franchisee to pick 10,000 homes based on carrier routes," Myers said. "We could mail the closest 10,000 homes, but we allowed the operators to pick them since one area near them may be weak. We gave them a map showing the routes within the radius and a report showing the number of homes and distance from their location, and they picked the carrier routes they wanted."

Myers said he expects the piece to stay in the home for a considerable time.

"Not only is there a good postal rate on this size piece, but people can also put it on their refrigerator with a magnet and hang onto it since it isn't too big or too bulky," he said.

He expected -- and got -- a 5 percent redemption rate on the coupons, which typically generate most of their response in the three weeks after they arrive.

"The average franchisee will see about a 10 percent increase in sales during the three weeks after they're mailed, and we've just about reached that level," he said. "When lunch and dinner are averaged, there's about $14 spent by those redeeming the coupons."

Per-piece cost totaled 24.5 cents. The corporation covered the roughly $125,000 cost of the effort, which was described as one of the services it provides and pays for with franchise fees.


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