Eating Up Ad Buys


While restaurant chains like Red Robin are pulling back on television advertising -- the chain announced in January it was pulling all of its cable advertising -- other restaurants are actually increasing their TV ad buys, according to Dow Jones News Service, which could give local ad sales executives an opportunity to increase market share of the segment as well as pump overall sales.
Panera Bread Co. soon plans to launch its first TV ads in three test markets to increase traffic. The bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings is doubling its broadcast presence during the coming college basketball tournament as it continues to court sports fans.
Darden Restaurants' Olive Garden brand has started running ads on Spanish language networks to attract that demographic to its Italian chain.
Among fast-food chains, the 10 largest advertisers increased spending 6.1% in 2008 from the prior year, while the top 10 sit-down restaurant chains put 13% more toward advertising, according to data compiled by the research group TNS Media Intelligence.
And even though they may be curtailing their TV ad buys, Red Robin isn't cutting back on its advertising altogether. Instead, the company is resorting to online advertising, direct-mail campaigns and in-store marketing, though such strategies are seen more as retaining existing customers than as adding new ones.