How to Sell Frozen Margaritas to Eskimos


Restaurant marketing is easy. Right? Make it pretty, make it yummy. Done! All you need is a food photographer, a stylist and you’re home free. Especially when it’s a casual dining brand that’s as well-known as TGI FridaysTM. After all, everybody knows TGI FridaysTM, am I right? Well, yes and no. Everybody in the U.S. for sure. Most people in the U.K., maybe. But what about everybody in Beirut? Or in Bangalore? Or Reykjavik? Or wherever it is the next FridaysTM is opening up this month.

How does a restaurant marketing team translate this all-American brand into something for which people will salivate on the other side of the world? Well that’s exactly the sort of challenge that the international marketing team at TGI FridaysTM regularly finds themselves facing everyday.

How do you develop restaurant marketing materials that cross cultures, overcome language barriers and ultimately sell bacon burgers to Buddhists?

Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 11.49.58 AM

First, you need elegant, fun menu designs that can work in a hundred different languages and a dozen different alphabets.

Next, you need TV commercials that portray people enjoying each other’s company and the food at FridaysTM in such away it can be any country. Something that appeals to both blue-eyed Norwegians and olive-skinned Saudis. Diversity is key.

But how do you develop a website for your international brand that is versatile, customer-friendly, developer-friendly and works across all platforms, across all web browsers and across all oceans?

To begin with, your restaurant marketing team needs to seek a website solution designed around a globally embraced CMS. FridaysTM chose WordPress. WordPress instantly simplifies the problem of finding a qualified developer in Pakistan, Slovenia or South Korea. WordPress development talent is ubiquitous.

Next, this international website will need to be responsively designed. Rather than giving the international franchisees multiple websites to customize, responsive design allows them to work with one site that performs seamlessly on both desktop and mobile devices alike.

And finally, restaurant marketing for the broad international market needs to utilize imagery and language that speaks powerfully, no matter the culture. So, some other common sense things to keep in mind: avoid puns, idioms, alliteration and juicy rare steaks (that means undercooked in most cultures).

Is developing restaurant marketing content that works in more than 60 countries and in as many languages an easy task? Clearly not. But it’s the kind of marketing challenge that keeps the international marketing group at TGI FridaysTM constantly on their toes.

See more of the FridaysTM case study now. [link to TGIF case study] Is your restaurant or hospitality brand looking for an advertising agency that can sell ice cubes to Eskimos? Give us a toll-free call at 866.642.7559.

We are a Dallas Advertising Agency with expertise in restaurant marketing.