Tapping into the bargain-hunting mentality that resulted in an epic spending frenzy over the holiday weekend, fast food outlets are hoping that consumers have built up an appetite—for their food, of course, as well as more enticing deals. Ultra-cheap offers from the likes of McDonald’s and Subway form the basis of the recipe restaurants are rolling out to attract business during the chaotic holiday shopping season.
Today’s never-before-seen McDonald’s deal from LivingSocial offers a booklet with coupons for five Big Macs and five large fries for $13. That’s roughly half the price you’d pay normally, and as far as I can recall, LivingSocial is justified in describing the offer as the “largest daily deal run with a fast-food chain.”
The coupons don’t need to be redeemed all at once, thank heavens. That’d be nauseating, unless you happened to be treating four friends to Big Macs. LivingSocial is actually suggesting the booklet as a stocking stuffer, though perhaps a daily deal on Happy Meals would make more sense in that case.
Unlike most daily deals, there’s no expiration date on the coupons for Big Macs and fries. By mid-day on Thursday, well over 100,000 of these McDonald’s booklets had been purchased.
Meanwhile, Subway led off December with a special: six-inch subs for just $2 throughout the month. The offer is good only for meatball and cold-cut subs.
Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow told USA Today that right now, when getting a rock-bottom price is top of mind among consumers, is an ideal time for fast food chains to introduce tempting inexpensive offers:
“The recent success of Black Friday is because retailers did an amazing job throwing out deals,” she says. “There’s just one question on the mind of every consumer today: How can I get a deal?”
Yet another way restaurants are trying to reach customers during a time when the marketing noise is louder than usual is through the use of gift cards—specifically gift card bonuses. During the holiday period, consumers tend to prioritize budgets around traditional gifts (of self-gifts) such as toys, clothes, and, lately especially, TVs and other electronics.
To get some of that consumer cash headed to their way, restaurants such as Outback Steakhouse, IHOP, and (again) Subway have gotten in the habit of offering bonus cash for holiday season gift card purchases. Outback, for instance, gives a $20 bonus card for each $100 worth of gift cards bought.