BRAG-ing About: Restaurant Brands That Rock At Relationships

Oct 05, 2022
By: Ravi Pimplaskar

Our BRAG Index is out! The Brand Relative App Growth Index puts a lens on the relationship between brand and app growth for leading apps in major categories. Our “BRAG-ing About” blog will take a deeper look into Big Issues facing each category.

COVID lockdowns made kings of food delivery apps, with apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and Instacart dominating our first BRAG Index around food and drink. With lockdown restrictions easing, however, food delivery growth has stagnated. With this in mind, we focused our BRAG Index II on finding out which restaurant brands have been able to re-introduce themselves to their, now, more mobile-savvy customer base.

While food delivery apps certainly will always have their place in the market, standalone restaurants will always have an inherent advantage over them: the ability to use their brand and product to build meaningful customer relationships. Mobile forward brands have used this advantage to not only draw customers to the app and store, but to always start building those relationships within their app. 

A brand that has always crushed building relationships is McDonald’s – and it shows in our BRAG Index. The BRAG Index measures how well a brand’s app performs against its brand funnel – or, rather, how much it exceeded or fell short of app growth expectations. It is no surprise that McDonald’s topped all standalone restaurants for brand funnel (a measure of consumer awareness and install intent). The surprise was that McDonald’s SHATTERED expectations by being the only brand funnel leader in ANY category to also top our BRAG Index.

McDonald’s creativity has always resonated with customers. Monopoly games, dollar menus, catchy jingles like “I’m Lovin It”, and kid friendly characters like Ronald McDonald have given it a level of brand loyalty that far exceeds competitors. But the new mobile market required them to extend this creativity to their mobile app. So they came up with mobile promotions like only allowing people to order its popular Szechuan Sauce through the app, a National French Fry Day, and a “Camp McDonald’s” promotion to drive app growth WHILE building that brand loyalty that has made it a fast food icon for decades. 

Other brands that have similarly used their product and brand to build smart promotions:

  1. Starbucks runs a Thursday Happy Hour that provides app only discounts and promotions
  2. Dominos drove app growth with a “Piece of the Pie” rewards program that allows users to redeem points for promotions on the app.
  3. Taco Bell, pleased its app customers with a Taco Lover Pass that offered one free taco a day for 30 days. 
  4. Chipotle thought outside the box (bowl?) partnering with Cash App (our BRAG leader in finance) to combine their Guac Mode free guacamole promotion with free cash! 

All these apps have performed well in the BRAG Index proving that extending their marketing to the mobile world matters when it comes to building brands. As we continue to move to a Post-Food Delivery App world, winning QSR brands will be the ones that re-engage consumers in a fun and friendly way. 

Read more about who topped our BRAG Index II!

By Ravi Pimplaskar
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