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TGI Fridays ignites social burger promotion with sense of urgency

TGI Fridays is encouraging customers to share the casual dining chain’s burgers with friends by making a purchase in-store, entering the receipt code onto a mobile-optimized site and sharing an offer for a free burger across social media networks that can only be redeemed by the first recipient to claim it.

The “Buy A Burger, Give A Burger” campaign mandates that only the first person who snags a friend’s free burger code can redeem the promotion at any TGI Fridays location nationwide. As the brand ramps up to draw attention to its new line of hand-crafted burgers, this strategy serves as an optimal way of ensuring that guests are able to test them out free of charge and use word-of-mouth to organically promote the items.

“Last summer, Fridays announced Endless Apps, which brought droves of millennial diners into the restaurant – many for the first time,” said Cindy Syracuse, vice president of marketing activation at TGI Fridays, Carrollton, TX. “We are building on social experiences with the introduction of ‘Buy a Burger, Give a Burger,’ creating a social currency by providing guests a code to give our a free burger to their friends.

“This initiative allows guests to connect with others by purchasing a burger and then receiving a burger to give to a friend. The Jump Burger campaign leverages social networks to revolutionize the traditional BOGO offer, and provides the ability to create a literal feeding frenzy among guests and their friends.”

Spreading awareness
TGI Fridays is bound to see customer traffic increase following this promotion, as social media users who snatch one of the codes may bring at least one other person into the restaurant with them for redemption.

“The campaign that TGI Fridays is promoting through July 22nd of this year is a unique opportunity allowing friends on social media to grab a free burger through a ‘jump burger’ sharing process,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta. “This is a unique and clever strategy that could result in a big ‘jump’ in TGI Fridays’ social media efforts, along with the gain of new consumers.

“This a form of high value coupons that could improve the chains’ foot traffic.”

Consumers who order any burger at a TGI Fridays location may use their smartphones to enter the share code found on their receipts onto They will then see three possible ways of dispersing the promotion to their friends and family: via Twitter, Facebook or email.

The first person to click on that user’s distributed post will receive the free burger voucher for their next trip to TGI Fridays.

The Jump Burger campaign is available for a limited time, and cautions consumers that once burgers go up, they go quickly, ensuring that social media users keep an eye out to act fast.

The chain believes customers will enjoy the friendly competition, and that the race to grab a digital burger will enable friends to socialize in a new way.

“‘Buy a Burger, Give a Burger’ was born out of the theory that every burger deserves the right to be enjoyed and shared with friends over great apps and great beer and cocktails and promotions like this are helping to drive millennial audiences to our restaurants and use their sense of generosity to engage with their friends,” TGI Fridays’ Ms. Syracuse said.

Consumers are encouraged to share their favorite moments on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by tagging @TGIFridays and #JumpBurger in their posts.

Unique advertising
This promotion is a unique way of leveraging mobile advertising, and is a tactic that many consumers will feel is organic rather than a paid media strategy. Jump Burger is meant to foreshadow the new burger additions joining TGI Fridays’ menu, such as the Smoke Stacked Burger, Spicy Chorizo Burger and Jack Sliders.

Other casual dining brands may follow in TGI Fridays’ footsteps by offering friends of customers a free item to promote a new line of food products.

The mobile focus of the campaign will also likely be an attractive factor for the millennial demographic. The brand has been raising its mobile-concentrated efforts in the past year, likely to grab the attention of younger consumers.

An executive from the chain at the 2015 Integrated Marketing Week detailed how focusing on customer relationships is at the forefront of its business plan and that the key to the success of this strategy is unique and innovative marketing techniques (see story).

This past January, TGI Fridays announced that it is equipping servers with Microsoft tablets to help make the customer experience more streamlined by allowing them to carry tablets from table to table to take orders and respond promptly to guest requests (see story).

“Having unique and interesting social media campaigns is highly recommended for all casual dining chains to ramp up and gain new consumers in the highly-trafficked social media sites,” Siteminis’ Ms. Troutman said. “Gaining additional foot traffic or new customers is one of the more costly ways to market, but critical to improving top line revenue.

“By using this type of marketing effort and testing responses, casual dining chains may find this to be one of the most inexpensive costs for customer acquisition, especially because it uses one of the strongest forms of advertising, which is word-of-mouth recommendations.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York