Grace Schofield

PR and Advertising Student

Fast Food Finds

The Truth Behind Fast Food



Throughout the semester we have been following five popular fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Taco Bell and Burger King. While these restaurants offer a variety of different menu options, costs, and attract different customers, there are still quite a few things they have in common when it comes to the way they portray themselves in the media, including what they are sharing with the public via social media. Since they all are different companies, there are noticeable differences as well.

One major thing that we found that most of these restaurants did was participate in community outreach. McDonald’s is currently involved in a program that donates money to specific charities based on a buyer’s purchase. Subway, on the other hand, is helping military veterans open franchises and celebrates National Sandwich Day by donating a meal to Feeding America for each sub purchased. Chick-Fil-A participates in various means of community outreach, such as helping clean the streets of Atlanta and giving $7.5 million dollars to the City of Refuge for job training. While Taco Bell hasn’t announced anything in recent media about them helping the community, we did find that they have a Taco Bell Foundation which fosters education by encouraging students to get their high school diploma, by giving them the resources that they need. This is something that would benefit them in the media since it would get a lot of good publicity. Burger King partnered with an organization to eradicate illiteracy among children across Africa and Southeast Asia. The program is said to have provided educational opportunities to more than 85,000 children in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.

All offer scholarship programs but in various ways. For example, McDonald’s offers scholarships based on your standardized test scores and financial means, whereas Chick-Fil-A and Subway offer scholarships to their employees who wish to further their education. Taco Bell and Burger King also provide scholarships to students, and they have similar goals of helping students, such as giving $1,000 per every Burger King franchise, and Taco Bells pledges to give one million dollars in scholarships to 220 students.

As far as food offerings go, the restaurants all offer very different things, but they do all serve breakfast. Most of them are currently trying to get more people interested in their breakfast choices. For example, Chick-Fil-A has been doing polls on Twitter that allows their followers to pick their favorite breakfast item. Also, Burger King currently is advertising three pancakes for eighty-nine cents. While technically not a breakfast food item, McDonald’s has been promoting their McCafe items, such as iced coffee for ninety-nine cents and lattes for $1.99. While Subway and Taco Bell do serve breakfast, they have decided to focus their efforts on different things. Since Taco Bell and Subway serving breakfast isn’t typical, this is something that they may want to consider putting on their social media to allow new people to be able to hear about it.

Another thing that many of these restaurants have been promoting are lower priced items. Subway is currently offering a $3.50 sub of the day, which gives their customers a cheaper option, as well as allowing them to have variety. Taco Bell has been promoting their $5 box, which provides quite a few items while staying on a relatively cheap budget.  As stated above Burger King, and McDonald’s currently have deals going on right now. Chick-Fil-A now does not offer very many deals, but they could be attracting new customers if they had lower cost items.

Social media has become critical in the eyes of consumers. There are a lot of good things that can come out of being on social media, but with that, there come faults. One major flaw that we found was that Subway and Burger King, when given customer complaints, such as poor hygiene, or customers getting food poisoning, their employees in charge of handling their Twitter account always respond with a generic message just stating that they will address the incident and to contact them on different means of communications. Another flaw that we found is that Taco Bell isn’t focusing on anything, and it makes their social media hard to follow. They also don’t respond to customer complaints on their main handle, but rather another Twitter handle. We have found that the most successful companies, such as McDonald’s, and Chick-Fil-A make sure to address the customer’s needs on social media by responding promptly and ensuring that the complaint or compliment gets handled in an appropriate manner.

We suggest being successful at a fast-food restaurant on social media that is to have an absolute goal of their social media and make sure that the purpose is evident to their follower. Whenever you visit a restaurant’s page, you should know without having to search too much exactly what they are trying to convey you. Another thing that we suggest restaurants have to be successful is good customer service. Unfortunately, being in this industry, there are going to be a lot of complaints, and the way that employees are trained to handle those complaints, says a lot about what the company stands for.

At last, we could see that all five fast food restaurant has done a lot of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in the past to give back to the community and at the same time to portray a positive image to their market. All five fast food restaurants that we followed for the past few months are always searching and trying to follow new trends in the markets including low-priced menu, breakfast meal, and social media presence. Overall, the rate of success for each restaurant varies depending on how they advertise their campaign.