Monday, February 25, 2008

Crunch time?

The business week is only a few hours old, but it’s already yielded indications that restaurant chains are trying two new tacks in their product introductions: Tout texture, and crow about being better if you can’t brag about being first.

Both trends are evident in KFC’s new product, a knock-off of McDonald’s Snack Wrap called the Toasted Wrap. Like McDonald’s chicken snack, a home run by anyone’s standards, the new Toasted Wrap snack is priced at $1.29. It, too, consists of all-white chicken, lettuce and a flavored sauce, all wrapped in a flour tortilla. But the little bundle is then grilled, giving it a bit of a chewy texture. The chain is touting that difference in feel with consumer “touch” tests, presumably pitting the Toasted Wrap against the Snack Wrap in head-to-head comparisons where consumers indicate which feels preferable.

KFC makes no bones about following McD’s lead; the latter’s product is cited in the announcement of the Toasted Wrap’s introduction.

Meanwhile, Papa John’s, an arch-rival of KFC sibling Pizza Hut, is pursuing a similar strategy with its latest product promotion. The chain is touting the texture of its re-formulated pan pizza, the Papa’s Perfect Pan. “The product features a crust that’s irresistibly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside,” explains the promotional materials. The literature also describes the pizza as tasting better than ever, without a word about the flavor.

The chain is offering a free perfect pan to anyone whose birthday falls on Feb. 29.

Interestingly, arch-rival Domino’s Pizza also launched a promo today tied to the current Leap Year, though you have to do more to cash in than merely have a Feb. 29 birthday. The delivery chain is offering to throw a pizza party for every family that has a child on Feb. 29 and names it “Brooklyn,” a tie-in with Domino’s Brooklyn-style pizza. The first to use the name gets a sweetener of $1,000. Which, no doubt, will go toward later therapy for a kid who was named after a pizza so his or her family could get a free party.

No comments:

Post a Comment