Steers’ one-off Wacky Wednesday special on R10 Rib Burgers campaign was a lesson in how not to conduct a promotion. After effectively marketing the campaign on social media and television the day before, the outlet quickly ran out of its promised burgers, falling victim to poor planning on Wednesday. It had failed to adequately stock outlets or put limits on the number of orders per person.
By 11h30, it posted the following message on its Facebook page, “OK – the demand today has been nothing short of stratospheric. Companies have literally been ordering 100’s [sic] at a time, customers 50 at a time, and some stores have had to bypass the ‘no limit per person’ and some stores have cancelled phone orders – it’s just been kinda crazy.
“Our stocks have been whipped from our feet by this unpredictable response and some stores have already sold out – because of selling 500 burgers before 9am.”
In an attempt to rescue the situation, by mid-day it had notified customers that if they were at a branch that had sold out of rib burgers, they could buy a beef Rave burger for the same price. This had to be communicated to 500 franchises.
By 14:30 it posted on its Facebook page: “We’re going bananas trying to find more rib burgers to stock at our stores – we will spread them out across the country as soon as we possibly can….It is carnage out there today – we’re trying madly to bring some semblance of calm to it all.”
Customers were less than amused and online customer service site Hello Peter were flooded with defamatory comments and complaints.
Steers Facebook page elicited the following comments:
- Mike Crawford: “I am still hungry, We just got conned by Steers, dumb as consumers. Steers-1; Steers Consumers-0. Good marketing tactic boys, pity it was at your customers [sic] expense. (Marketing 101 for dummies)”
- Romey Michelle Zimmerman: This was a really ill prepared promotion! How can you ring up more burgers than you have in stock! We waited for two hours!!! And then got told they were Rave burgers! Thats [sic] not an equal substitution. This was advertised like CRAZY but you were sold out by 11am? Not cool, Steers.”
- Trudie Coetzer Roets: “Sorry Steers lots of unhappy clients is not good for business! Your promotion turned into a demotion!”
“We never intended to mislead anyone – and have had to face some serious lessons this morning!” posted Steers on its Facebook page.
Although the fast food outlet has promised to make up to clients for the debacle with another ‘Once [sic] Off Wacky’ special, it remains to be seen how must damage has been done to its reputation and brand. And how competitors will capitalise on it.
However, as one commentator noted, “we’re all talking about Steers, so I think their mission is accomplished.”
Steers is part of Famous Brands’ portfolio.