Freshii has a lot on its Plates

The QSR is putting a major push, marked by meal giveaways and its first direct promo outreach, behind developing its dinner business.

One of Freshii’s key strategic pillars is to develop the dinner side of its business, and it is putting major marketing heft behind its announcement that it’s entering “dinner mode” with the launch of “Plates.”

“Plates” is Freshii’s new dinner format, tested in Vancouver earlier this year, which includes four new flavours inspired by global cuisine, such as Moroccan tahini and teriyaki, all in bigger portions and available in a family meal combo, a response to more Canadians enjoying dinner at home.

“It’s a big opportunity to grow the dinner daypart,” according to Veronica Castillo, VP of marketing at Freshii, typically seen as a mid-day lunch option for individuals. She adds that the company sees long-term potential in the dinner occasion as evening meal purchases spiked in the early days of COVID, validating the fact it needed to get into this side of the business.

The test run in Vancouver revealed that customers overwhelmingly wanted to choose their own proteins and preferred these international flavour profiles, which also include a chimichurri and Mediterranean pesto option.

The campaign promoting Plates’ launch highlights the dinner-sized meals against bright and colourful backdrops, swiped like a slider from an app or website to enter “dinner mode.” The messaging also maintains “easy” and “healthy” messaging highlighting convenience, part of its brand mission, Castillo says.

She adds that it is a “robust” integrated campaign, with promo in-store, paid social, search and displays, as well as its first direct mail push, targeting households with promo offers.

Promo is a major part of the push for the bigger – and slightly more expensive – options. This Monday, Freshii is offering the first 10,000 people to order from SkipTheDishes a free plate for delivery.

The audience, she says, is broad and there are family meal deals, but also meals for two and includes people looking for healthy convenience.

Freshii has explored other convenience options as well: last spring, it announced it is moving beyond QSR to include retail, offering boxes, wraps and bottled juices in select Ontario Walmart locations.

“We are also very committed to growing our CPG business,” Castillo says, and that its restaurant and CPG division are working together to work on providing healthy options, but that it’s too early to share anything further.

In October, the brand announced the launch of its revamped mobile app, a response to CEO Matthew Corrin admitting that the initial incarnation needed to be “more frictionless, more efficient and more intuitive.” The latest interface, which has also been the subject of marketing support, allows customers to personalize their orders, specify and save dietary preferences, pay in store with the in-app wallet, or skip the line with transactionless pick-up.

To drive trial, new users will receive a $5 reward after their first in-app purchase, and existing users will have a $5 reward waiting for them upon download.

Freshii says its same-store sales trends have continued to improve after taking a big hit in its Q1 filing: approximately 70% of last year’s sales recovered across its network as of the two-week period ended August 9, 2020.

The agency partners on the campaign include Grip on creative, Wavemaker on media and recently-onboarded PR agency Edelman.