Marketing Failure Case: Burger King’s Satisfries

Burger King is getting rid of its lower-calorie french fries at most restaurants after less than a year. Burger King allowed its franchisees to stop selling Satisfries, and only about 2,500 of the 7,400 locations in the U.S. and Canada decided to keep them on the menu.

Burger King's much-hyped low-calorie French fries have failed to resonate with customers, which shouldn't come as a surprise given why diners go to places like BK in the first place. Time

Reasons for failure

The product’s key differentiators and advantages are not easily articulated: There were no signs or other special actions in the restaurants to show the customers the difference between ordinary fries and Satisfries. Some customers were not even aware of the existence of Satisfries, others were but did not understand its advantages.

The sales force doesn’t believe in the product and isn’t committed to selling it: A while after the launch, Burger King took Satisfries off the menu in two-thirds of their franchises. They did give these franchises the opportunity to continue selling it, but less than half of them did. This does not show belief or commitment to the product. There were not many sellers who really believed and supported the product.

The product design is unique but confuses customers, who don’t understand how the product works. There was not much information available for customers who were interested in Satisfries (no signs in restaurants, no tests showing results, etc.) causing them to either drop all interest in Satisfries, or start comparing calories of Satisfries and ordinary fries and draw wrong conclusions.

The product is launched without influencers to promote its efficacy: There were not many special marketing initiatives to promote the product, which contributed to Satisfries never being caught on

The 'Satisfrying' takeaway (Motley Fool)

Burger King's heart was in the right place, but it doomed Satisfries with bad marketing decisions. Returning customers didn't want them, and they failed to win over health-conscious consumers.

To truly compete against newcomers like Chipotle and Panera Bread, fast-food restaurants need to offer better dining experiences, as well as better food. That's why Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's are all remodeling their stores to look more like bistros. They must also resist the temptation to launch headline-grabbing, gut-busting items like bacon sundaes if they truly want to win over health-conscious customers who intentionally avoid their restaurants.

How to avoid failure: most important elements

  1. More marketing initiatives to inform and influence customers
  2. Strongly motivate the sellers to sell Satisfries and explain + convince them of the reasons why


About the Author


CMO, Lecture Strategy and Marketing at SolvayBusinessSchool Passionate by education, entrepreneurship and marketing. Proud father and husband. Join me on Google+

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