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Steal this Idea: Marketing on the offense

There’s almost always some consumer pushback when a restaurant pulls an item off the menu. But by leveraging data from its mobile app, Plano, Texas-based Zoës Kitchen was able to get ahead of the story when it decided to pull its tuna-salad and egg-salad sandwiches off the menu. While the two weren’t performing that well, there were customers who ordered them, says Rachel Phillips-Luther, vice president of marketing at Zoës. So right before yanking them, Zoës used transactional data to see who’d ordered those dishes a fair amount.

Then, the chain reached out ahead of time to tell those diners that it had made a business decision to discontinue the items, but said that Zoës didn’t want to lose them as customers. They gave the users a freebie to entice them back in the store and try another entree. The chain also sent those guests recipes for the removed salads. “We’ve been proactive about tough decisions,” says Phillips-Luther. 

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