We all know there's no such thing as a free lunch. So how come dinner "on the house" is giving Chick-Fil-A a PR boost that money can't buy? Today, a new Chick-Fil-A restaurant opened here in State College, PA. And people actually camped out to be among the first diners. Is the food really THAT good?
Here's what's pulling them in. When Chick-Fil-A opens a new shop it gives the first 100 customers certificates for 52 free meals. That's one chicken dinner a week for a year. I'd be willing to camp out for 52 free meals, wouldn't you?
This PR strategy isn't cost free- but it is dirt cheap. If we assume each free meal costs Chick-Fil-A $2 the tab for 100 people will run a bit over $10,000. So what did that money buy?
The grand opening story, with photos, got a nice write-up in our local newspaper. It will probably make all the local TV news shows tonight. According to the Centre Daily Times, "passionate fans" traveled from as far away as Virginia and Florida for this grand opening give-away. John Yasenka claims this is the 40th time he's camped out at a Chick-Fil-A to get his mitts on those 52 certificates. Asked why he made the trip, Yansenka says, "I like the chicken". And there are 99 other people like John who will tell all their friends. That translates into a lot of low-cost PR.
When I Googled Chick-Fil-A I found a web site for the new local eatery. And there was also a post on Twitter encouraging people to line up for the free meal deal. The next entry I discovered was a Chick-Fil-A Facebook page. The local restaurant has 549 friends- already. Did I mention that this restaurant opened just today?
Somebody at Chick-Fil-A seems to understand the concept of good PR. As Chick-Fil-A's famous spokes-cows might say: Eat mor Chikin! Get Mor Busnez!
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