Brad Harris, owner of Big City Burrito

DMNews talks with Brad Harris, owner of Denver-area Big City Burrito franchises, about an integrated mobile campaign for the restaurants.

Q: This was your first integrated mobile campaign. Why take this approach?

A: We wanted to target the younger generation, and we know that teenagers and kids are big into texting. It’s a grow­ing media segment, so we thought we would jump on board and give it a try.

Q: Is that a different customer segment than what you traditionally reach?

A: I would say our target is people ages 18 to 34, and we’re trying to reach down a little bit into the teens, maybe the 14- to 16-year-old range. The high school age is where [mobile use is] really strong, so we’re trying to build that, as we know that it’s our primary quick service restaurant user.

Q: How did the campaign work?

A: We sent out a direct mail piece in a Money Mailer envelope that had a couple of coupons and a header that said, “Want a free burrito? Just text: BIGCITYB to 686868.” When potential customers would text that shortcode, they would get text back that would say, “Please come in for a free regular burrito, no purchase required.” We also gave them an option to opt in for future deals via text message.

Q: Why offer the opt-in option?

A: We are building a database. In the future, we can selectively send offers via text to the people that have opted in.

Q: How was the response?

A: At first, we offered just a free burrito, and in the first three days we had 105 opt-ins. It was a little crazy because it was our first time doing a text campaign, and we saw droves of high schoolers coming in and sharing information to get free burritos. Traffic was good, but it ended up downselling some customers who had come in and paid.

Q: How did you fix that problem?

A: We changed the offer to buy one get one free, which slowed response down a little bit. People who had the free text on their phones originally would still get a free burrito, but after that would have a buy one get one. That was a good way to minimize the cannibalization in store.

Q: Would you do it again?

A: We’re not going to be quite as aggressive but we will send out some buy-one-get-one-free offers and some reminders of specials.

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