Will Friendly's Stay Friendly?

After the chicken fiasco at KFC, I'm cautiously optimistic about the free ice cream to be given away this Saturday, June 6th at Friendly's.

In very small font on the bottom of the page of their website, there is the disclaimer "At participating restaurants only." Hmmmm.

But how do you tell which restaurants are participating before making the trip over? I couldn't figure it out. Hopefully people will not literally end up screaming for ice cream, if they find that their local Friendly's isn't "participating."

I just read an interesting Nation's Restaurant News article about how when free promotions go awry, they can end up costing chains more than money. I agree. When people do not get food that they're promised, they're very unhappy customers and tell everyone that they know.

In my opinion, there's an added element to the unhappiness when you don't get food that you expect, as opposed to say a free T-shirt. Sure I'd be disappointed about both. But when I expected free food, I probably would have planned my eating accordingly. So then, not only am I disappointed about the promised free item, but now I'm hungry as well. I think the actual physical discomfort would intensify the negative association. Not a good combination.

Below is an excerpt from the article discussing what happened with KFC.
“Going to the Oprah show was a very smart marketing move, but the devil is in the details,” said Dr. Chekitan S. Dev, a professor at Cornell University’s School of Hospitality. “Now, however, 6 million people are mad at them. Research tells us that if you take a multiple of 10—if those 6 million who are mad at KFC tell 10 people each—my question is, would you rather have 4 million people who will be [brand] users or 60 million who will say, ‘Hey, these guys don’t have their acts together.’”

I do hope to get some free ice cream on Saturday. Since I was a kid, I've always enjoyed Friendly's ice cream. Hopefully they will live up to their name.

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Michael said…
Every promotion for practically every chain says "at participating restaurants/locations/etc only" because of the franchise model. In reality, pretty much everyone participates, I'd assume -- but corporate probably can't force such promotions down franchisees' throats.
Hopefully, they won't have the numbers of people that the KFCs had showing up. The Oprah Factor is huge, of course. Anyway, hope you go and it works out!

K. said…
I'm marking my calendar! Thank you, Lisa...
Nance said…
My son told me about the Oprah/KFC disaster. And my other son finally got his Dr. Pepper voucher in the mail from some other promotion that went terribly wrong via the internet. Something about a CD or something? Whatever. When will these companies learn?
Lisa Johnson said…
michael - Welcome! You're right. I think it's pretty standard language, but that means they can back out. And for the customer, it can mean a wasted trip.

shirley - I plan to go and report back!

kirti - You're welcome and good luck!

nance - Some companies handle them really well. Chipotle has it down. They were extremely organized. Ben & Jerry's handles them well too.

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