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Episode 22:
Where’s the Beef?

When facing a revenue shortfall, companies frequently search first for a marketing solution. But before doing so, it’s wise to make sure your operations are in check. In the 1980s Wendy’s was struggling with declining same store sales. Rapid growth through franchising had led to inconsistency across stores. Thinking the problem was one of marketing, Wendy’s created the most hyped advertising campaign in fast food history. “Where’s the Beef” caused revenue at Wendy’s to shoot straight through the roof! But because service levels had deteriorated, “Where’s the Beef” also showed America exactly how bad Wendy’s had become. Subsequent quarters, sales fell and Dave Thomas had to return as CEO to fix operations. The lesson…be sure you can deliver on your brand promise before advertising it. Urgent Care Expert, Alan Ayers has more…

Just Checking In: Episode 22 - Where's the Beef?

Good afternoon, this is Alan Ayers and I am Just Checking In outside of Wendy’s here in Rockford, IL to talk to you about the importance of having a smooth operation before you spend money on marketing.

Now, the story of Wendy’s is one that’s very near and dear to my heart. The company actually started in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio back in 1969. 15 years into the company – so by 1984, Wendy’s had exponential growth in its footprint but because Wendy’s grew through franchising there was a great deal of inconsistency from location to location. So by 1984, Dave Thomas (CEO) had actually retired from the company and the company was seeing a decline in same store sales. The new management team got together and said, “Well clearly the solution to this decline in same store sales has got to be marketing.” So they went to their ad agency who came up with the most successful advertising campaign to that point which is “Where’s the beef?” That Chicago Grandmother Clara Pella and her saying, “Where’s the beef?” captured America’s heart and soul. It was part of the 1984 presidential debate between Walton Mondale and Ronald Reagan and it was just the catch phrase being used or overused everywhere – “Where’s the beef?”

Well, “Where’s the beef?” was successful. It drove people to Wendy’s and sales shot up through the roof, but it was not sustainable. That’s because the operations had deteriorated to the point where Wendy’s was really struggling. Quality was down, service was down, wait times were long, and so really all –“Where’s the beef?” accomplished was drawing people/ America into Wendy’s to show America exactly how bad Wendy’s had become. So even though there was an immediate spike in revenue due to “Where’s the beef?” a couple of quarters later they actually fell – revenue fell and they were in a worse position than they were before the ad campaign. In fact, Dave Thomas at that time had to step out of retirement to return as CEO to focus on repairing operations.

So the point is, when you are struggling with volume there could be any number of reasons, but before looking to a marketing solution, first look inwards to make sure that you are providing the type of experience that will lead your current patients to return and lead those patients to tell others to do likewise.

If you have questions about marketing or operations or any other issue related to your urgent care, please feel free to contact us at Practice Velocity at the website you see on your screen.

Once again, this is Alan Ayers Just Checking In.

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