Restaurant Ad Spending Drops 10.4%

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Restaurant Ad Spending Drops 10.4%

Restaurant ad spending nosedived in Q2 despite several major marketing pushes from high-flying chains.

Over the April-May-June period, restaurants spent $1.546 billion on measured-media advertising, according to Kantar Media. That’s not insignificant, but it is a surprising 10.4% below the $1.724 billion that restaurants spent during 2014’s Q2. Overall U.S. ad spending also was down but nearly as much, declining 3.9% compared with year-earlier levels.

Wendy's Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken

Despite major menu launches by Wendy’s and others, Q2 restaurant ad spending declined.

Through the first half of 2015, total restaurant spending was 7.7% lower than a year ago (Q1 spending was down 4.9%).

The steep Q2 decline is especially unexpected given the advertising activity by top chains during the quarter. The period includes McDonald’s 25 commercial/31 day campaign for Sirloin Third Pound burgers, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s campaign for its Most American Thickburger; Wendy’s Jalapeňo Fresco Spicy Chicken & Ghost Fries launch, Burger King’s A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Whopper ads and more. Casual-dining leader Applebee’s launched its “Come On Back” repositioning campaign during Q2 as well.

It’s possible that a shift of marketing budgets more heavily to digital channels explains the restaurant ad spending drop. However, Kantar reports that while paid-search digital ad spending was up 7.7% in Q2, U.S. spending for online display ads (PC desktop only) declined by 4.7%.

“The prevailing view of the advertising market has become more tempered as the lethargic pace of spending has continued deeper into the year,” Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media North America, said of overall spending in releasing the Q2 data. “Measured ad growth is on track to lag nominal GDP for the fifth consecutive year since emerging from the Great Recession, a streak that might have once seemed unimaginable but now would seem to be par for the course.”


Slater’s 50/50, the West Coast chain that took its name from its ahead-of-the-trend 50/50 bacon/beef-blend patties, has a new menu and new blends. Of course, the Original is still available and the menu continues to be bacon-centric.

The new blends and burgers:
Breakfast Burrito Burger: A 50/50 Blend of Brandt beef & chorizo with American cheese, a sunny-side-up egg, hash browns, fresh salsa, guacamole and chipotle sour cream on a Spanish telera roll;

Sriracha Burger: A sriracha-spiced 50/50 Brandt beef & bacon blend patty wit, honey sriracha bacon, pepper Jack cheese, charred yellow onions, sriracha-sautéed mushrooms, sriracha coleslaw and sriracha mayo on a Spanish telera roll;

Turkey Cobb Burger

Slater’s 50/50’s Turkey Cobb Burger

Pizza Burger: A 50/50 blend of Brandt beef & Italian Sausage with seasoned fried mozzarella, red pepper marinara, on brioche (also available in Pepperoni-Hawaiian-Supreme).

A blend of Durham Ranch bison and bacon is now offered everyday. It’s available as a Bison & Bacon Burger (bison, thick-cut bacon, Swiss, jalapeño-bacon jam, tomato and iceberg, sage & garlic aïoli on a honey wheat bun) or a Bison Chipotle wrap (lettuce wrapped bison, pepper Jack cheese, roasted green chili, corn & black bean relish, fresh salsa and chipotle mustard).

Also new is a Turkey Cobb Burger that tops a ground turkey patty with thick-cut bacon; sliced blue cheese; avocado mash; iceberg lettuce; tomato, garlic & sage aïoli and a deviled-egg salad with sriracha bacon and sriracha bacon fat.

This is Slater’s 50/50 so of course there’s more: The new menu introduces 22 new cocktails, too, including four Bacon Cocktails. And Happy Hour? Gone. Replaced by a Day Drinking Menu, available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bar menu includes Deviled Egg Rolls, “Shanimal” Fries, and Maple Bourbon Wings.

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