Q&A With Terri Snyder
Q&A With Terri Snyder

Terri Snyder is an innovator at heart.

As an outlet for her creativity and innovation, Snyder chose a career in marketing because she always has had a heightened curiosity for learning why people make decisions.

Before joining Checkers and Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (Checkers/Rally’s) .....

Terri Snyder is an innovator at heart.

As an outlet for her creativity and innovation, Snyder chose a career in marketing because she always has had a heightened curiosity for learning why people make decisions.

Before joining Checkers and Rally's Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (Checkers/Rally's) as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2007, she led a 20-year career in restaurant marketing. Snyder worked in every facet of the industry – from pizza and casual dining to buffet and mid-scale. Her experience includes executive roles at Domino's Pizza, TGI Fridays, Honduras San Bonanza and Pizza Hut, to name a few.

Terri offered 1851 an opportunity to learn more about how she has been able to channel her creativity and craft an award-winning strategy for Checkers/Rally's.

KA: When you first started with Checkers/Rally's, what were some of the challenges the brand faced and how did you address them through marketing?

TS: At that time, we really hadn't defined a strong position in the marketplace. When I joined, we completed a comprehensive segmentation study that allowed us to define our target audience: Frequent fast-food user.

Through the study, we were able to understand how big of an opportunity we had by honing in on areas where our guests were not satisfied – then realizing our ability to adapt and meet their needs. We discovered that our core customers love late-night options, over-index on snack use, and place a primary emphasis on value.

As a result, we changed our hours of operation to stay open later, completed a lot of work around snacking and developed a permanent value proposition for the brand. These shifts have largely contributed to our growth and success over the past five years.

KA: How do you think the brand has been able to evolve and be successful in such a crowded market?

TS: The key is having a unique position. Right now, everyone in the category is concerned about being healthy and appealing to a broad range of targets. We are not going after kids or high-income female consumers, segments that other restaurant concepts are placing strong emphasis.

At Checkers/Rally's, we have really narrowed in on targeting the frequent fast food user, and in turn have differentiated ourselves from other brands. In fact, our target consumer accounts for 56 percent of all sales in the category.

KA: What kind of new marketing strategies do you foresee hitting franchising in 2014? What does Checkers/Rally's have in store?


TS: Technology will play a central role in moving forward in fast food. If you look at Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts and what they are doing with loyalty programs and the customer's ability to order ahead — these brands' use of technology will be seen across the board.

We foresee a major transition in how people receive and share information, and what impacts their buying decisions. Not only will Checkers/Rally's become more aggressive in social-digital marketing but we are also looking forward to the major launch of a customer loyalty program in 2014.

KA: In your extensive experience as a marketer, what is one thing that a brand should never do in order to achieve awareness and one thing a brand must do?

TS: Brands need to be careful about staying true to the heart and soul of their brand. Many times, brands begin introducing products that do not fit with their core. In essence, make sure you are true to the DNA of your brand.

On the other hand, in order to thrive, a brand must clearly define its position in the marketplace. The hardest thing about really focusing on one strategy is that you must be concise and limit the number of things you do to generate growth. Although difficult, this transition will make you the best at the things you do, while also offering consumers an experience they can't find elsewhere.

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