When Singapore’s coronavirus circuit breaker measures kicked in, media consumption habits in the country shifted rapidly. Fast-food monarch Burger King has used the opportunity to raise its profile and drive sales.
Singapore's circuit breaker caused a sudden rise in the consumption of digital media, and for marketers, a glut of audiences. To make use of the moment, Burger King needed to serve its fans, and fast.
Irene Tay, marketing director for Burger King in Singapore, tells The Drum that the fast food giant saw an opportunity to drive trial and conversions. So instead of maintaining the status quo, Burger King shifted its media strategy and invested heavily in digital media, while driving more promotions across the board to boost its take-out services.
As a result, Tay claims Burger King was able to eventually grow its market share despite the various restrictions in place. It‘s also taken inspiration from marketing work created in its other locations.
“Another lesson we learned was how to quickly adapt to ever-changing situations, in a way that is uniquely Burger King,” says Tay, referring to the paper crowns designed to aid social distancing created by Burger King Germany.
“After weeks of lockdown, we welcomed fans back into the kingdom at the end of June by embracing the ‘new normal‘. We wanted to remind people to be socially responsible when coming back to Burger King by keeping their distance from one another. But of course, we had to do it in true Burger King fashion. So we designed a social distancing crown to keep wearers a safe distance from each other without hindering their enjoyment of their favourite Burger King meals.”
She continues: “Customers were encouraged to wear their new giant social distancing crowns while dining in and were able to get their hands on the crowns in stores. We also uploaded a do-it-yourself version available on our website, for fans to download and create using recycled materials. Those who came into BK with the crowns on were rewarded with a 1-for-1 Whopper deal.”
According to Tay, Burger King‘s partnerships with food delivery companies such as Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood helped keep its app-based delivery service running smoothly. Meanwhile, a surge in demand for its core menu from fans missing Whoppers and Mushroom Swiss Burgers boosted sales.
Now, the chain has re-opened its doors to peckish pedestrians. “When dine-in operations resumed, we quickly put in place best-in-class cleaning procedures in all our restaurants in Singapore and enhanced our handwashing, sanitization and cleaning rules and contactless procedures,” Tay says. While safety is a priority, the chain has still managed to open three new locations in Singapore.
“We are ready to move forward and to adapt to the new normal,“ she says.
Tay recognises that Burger King, and the fast food industry, will have to change its business practices for the forseeable future. The only thing the industry knows for sure, she says, is that things will not be back to ‘normal’.
“It’s an ongoing learning journey for us, as well as our guests, to ensure that we deliver the same quality experience regardless of the current circumstance. We have been diligently learning and are constantly looking at new ways to increase our digital capabilities and engage with our guests – be it on social media or in-stores, to keep them coming back for more” she says.
“We also have our Burger King app, where we are constantly refreshing our attractive promotions to keep fans of the kingdom coming back for more. The Social Distancing Crowns and Taste of Singapore campaigns are a testament to that demand.”