How we Helped a Restaurant Franchise Set the Table for a Stronger Brand

Founded in 1978 in Carman, Manitoba, Chicken Chef is one of Western Canada’s fastest-growing family restaurants. With franchises in more than 30 Manitoba communities, the chain serves local flavours and favourite family foods, including fried chicken and fresh, in-house specialties. In 2014, after unprecedented growth, Chicken Chef engaged Metric Marketing to help evolve the consistency, effectiveness and sophistication of their marketing, messaging and tactics.

After nearly 40 years of growth without any brand or messaging standards, the look and feel among the franchises had become inconsistent. Chicken Chef approached us to deliver foundational elements that would help establish brand consistency and increase awareness across Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan's increasingly urban markets. 

We started by developing a brand identity guide that would inform all subsequent brand implementations. While franchisees retained the same freedoms as before, consistent representation of the Chicken Chef brand would reinforce their service promise across Western Canada. In turn, each location would benefit from the added credibility, trust and loyalty that resulted from alignment with a consistent identity.

With brand standards firmly in place, we helped Chicken Chef modernize their website and enhance their digital platforms. Beginning with measurement and analytics reporting, we detailed how users were currently engaging with their website. While the number of site visits by new users was easily traceable, Chicken Chef had no way of gauging the nature of online engagements (phone calls, menu downloads, online orders, etc.), which are crucial metrics in today’s increasingly critical consumer food landscape. In developing the new website, our digital experts were able to equip Chicken Chef with the tools they needed to track and optimize the online experience of their users and customers.

Next, we worked with individual franchisees, helping them to improve the quality and consistency of their location’s social media presence. By developing a corporate social media strategy, we equipped Chicken Chef’s leadership team with the necessary tools to ensure all franchisees were managing their digital presence from the same source. Centralized social media training further empowered franchisees to grow an engaged community of followers.

In September 2018, we helped Chicken Chef kick off a campaign celebrating 40 years in business. The 40th-anniversary campaign focused on recognizing the various ways in which Chicken Chef franchises have enriched the lives of those in their communities. The campaign also spoke to the brand’s focus, which is to celebrate the in-house dining experience with families and friends.

The campaign was rolled out to the public through online display ads, remarketing ads and social media ads, as well as signage, in-store advertising and sales collateral.

In a short time, the campaign generated a 334 percent increase in coupon downloads and a 20.7 percent increase in online order exits. The insights we have gathered on behalf of Chicken Chef continue to help them develop a deeper understanding of who their target audience is, what their customers are looking for and what their key behaviours are—such as when, where and how they prefer to order food.

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