Food And Hashtags: How The Fastfood Industry Markets On Twitter

January 16, 2014
Many restaurants and fast food giants have resorted to social media platforms like Twitter to launch campaigns and successfully bring in new loyal customers. Hashtags are made to create buzz and increase interest in their new line of products. A number of companies have successfully launched hashtags, although others have also experienced big blunders.

1. McDonald?s

McDonald?s is the largest fast food chain in the world, commanding over 33,000 branches in 119 countries. Through the years, the famous name has also used a variety of campaigns, including social media advertisements and hashtags. Although some campaigns were successful, McDonald?s had a terrible social media experience in 2012 when it came up with #McDStories. The hashtag was intended to invite positive feedback by presenting the different suppliers of the restaurant. However, the it immediately got hijacked by individuals who shared their worst stories in different outlets. People instead talked about the unhealthy food and unsanitary conditions for food preparation in their branches. However, this promoted #DollarMenu hashtag seems to be working out fine. The hashtag is for its new one-dollar menu packages. food1

2. Burger King

BK has close to 5,000 outlets in 73 countries. It has successfully launched hashtags and online advertisements in previous months, but recently encountered a big hurdle when it came out with #WTFF. The hashtag was supposed to mean ?What The French Fry? to showcase its new lower calorie fried potatoes. However, social media fans were quick to react that the same hashtag was also commonly used for individuals who wanted to use profane language and air out their frustrations over anything on the web. Lesson: Watch out for hashtags that might turn out to be ambiguous. Here's Burker King's latest foray into hashtagging, which appears to be on the safe side. food2

3. Pizza Hut

The famous pizza chain has over 5,100 branches in 94 countries around the globe. The company also uses a variety of advertising techniques. On social media, Pizza Hut has come up with a fair amount of hashtags to feature new pizza recipes and introduce new outlets. The latest effort #PizzaYourself brings customers' faces into the pizza. The campaign continues to gain both praise and ire, but, hey, it seemed to have worked. food3

4. Domino?s

Domino?s is the largest pizza chain on a worldwide scale with over 10,000 outlets in 70 countries. In 2012, Domino?s Pizza in the United Kingdom was very successfully when it launched the hashtag #letsdolunch. The promo ran only for two hours and involved reducing the price of the restaurant?s pepperoni pizza by one pence whenever any Twitter user tweeted the hashtag. There were 85,000 tweets generated in all which cut the total price by half. This shows the creative genius that marketers can come up with to increase hype and boost sales even in just a few hours. Here's the latest on Domino's global account, featuring the hashtag #PizzaPics, which encourages customers to take photos of their pizza and sending it to the company's Instagram account. food4

5. Papa John?s

The pizza restaurant has 755 locations all over the world. Although it did not make the hashtag mistake on its own, one of its employees recklessly typed in a receipt ?lady chinky eyes? to describe an Asian customer in January 2012. The customer immediately shared the photo of the receipt and tagged @PapaJohns to spread the word out.


The post went viral and thousands of others chimed in to bash the fast food chain on its racist practices. The company quickly apologized to social media users afterwards. The food chain has been trying to erase this blunder from memory. As it celebrates its 30th year, the company launched a 30cent promotion online. food6 These examples show that even big companies should be cautious in using hashtags and social media. Having thousands or millions of followers on Twitter and other platforms should make them more vigilant in posting good quality content while keeping customers satisfied.

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