Lenny's News and Interviews
Love is in the air: Lenny's launches huge Facebook promoFebruary 11, 2011
2/11/11 - Alicia Kelso
Lenny's Sub Shop collects customer comment forms at many of its 150 locations nationwide. While pouring over the feedback, company president Brent Alvord has noticed frequent use of the word "love" to describe customers' experiences at the restaurant.
What better time, then, to launch its latest promotion than Valentine's Day?
This is no ordinary promotion, either. From Feb. 14 through Feb. 20, fans who "like" the official Lenny's Sub Shop Facebook page will receive a printable coupon for a free half-pound sub.
The average size of the giveaway sandwich is 7½ inches and the average cost is $6.35.
It took some convincing to Lenny's Franchise Advisory Council to launch such a sizeable giveaway, but come Monday, all but four of the 150 operators will honor the Facebook coupon.
"Our franchisees get what we're trying to do and that is to generate press and get new people into the door, preferably people who will return," said Alvord.
Because of this "new people" goal, Alvord justifies the sizeable promotion with an anticipated long-term ROI.
"If you look at (the promotion) from a cost perspective, most of our guests buy chips and a drink with their subs, and that margin helps offset some of the food costs of the sub itself," he said. "In addition, they may bring in someone else who may or may not have a Facebook coupon. Also, there is a chance of turning them into a repeat guest. So, the costs associated with this giveaway are pretty nominal given the lifetime benefits of winning over guest loyalty."
Lenny's opted to launch its latest promotion on Facebook because of its extensive reach and its potential to tap new customers. Alvord calls it the modern-day word of mouth.
"Before Facebook, we were out doing old-fashioned street marketing and asking people to try our brand," he said. "Now, by doing it through Facebook, we can get a person to like our brand and then, instantly and easily, 50 of their friends could follow suit. Plus, we're able to communicate with guests directly, answering questions or addressing complaints or whatever else is needed."
The current marketing message entails outlining what Alvord calls the brand's subtleties, which include subs with liberal portions of freshly-sliced meats and cheeses, combination meals for about $6, made-to-order grilled Philly Cheesesteaks and Lenny's no-trash-can policy.
"There are no trash cans in our restaurants. You get up and you walk out and you leave the trash on the table for us to clean up. This is our way of making sure you know you're a guest in our restaurant," Alvord said. "Also, by leaving trash on the table, it's a reminder for us to bus and wipe down the area. We want to make sure every guest who comes in gets a good impression and a clean eating area is a start."
Besides getting new guests through the door, Lenny's also hopes to generate a broader, more active social media following which will translate into a positive growth strategy moving forward.
Lenny's is currently heavily concentrated in the southeast region, including Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. For 2011, deals have been signed to expand in California, Louisiana, Atlanta and more.
"We are hoping to be a strong national brand and believe this type of promotion is a big step toward that," Alvord said. "However, we will continue striving for an atmosphere of camaraderie, where it will always feel like a local place. We encourage our franchisees to get to know their customers by name and know what they're ordering."
Coincidentally, on Lenny's Facebook page, one fan commented: "A day without Lenny's is a day without seeing my friends and enjoying my lunch. I go inside the door and it’s like 'Cheers;' everybody knows my name and what type of sub I'll be ordering."
Since launching its Facebook page in March, the brand has accumulated more than 11,000 fans.
The Valentine's promotion Facebook coupon is available for download through Feb. 20 and will be accepted through March 15. Each coupon is coded to ensure a one-time use only.
"We always hear 'I love Lenny's,' and with this promotion, we really want to reward customers who may be falling in love with the brand for the first time," said Alvord. "But also, we want to reward the fans we already have and continue to build strong connections with them. People fall in love with us not only because of our food, but also because of the relationship we have with our guests and this is a way to support that relationship."
Contact Lenny's Public Relations:Jenna Duett
Marketing and PR Manager