Dining Out Magazine

Qdoba Buries the Lead on This Coupon.

By Keewood @sellingeating

The front of the Missed Opportunity by QdobaThe back of Qdoba's Missed Opportunity

These coupons were laying around the agency. I’m certain the franchisee pulled this out of a marketing binder or website and gave our receptionist a stack to stick on the kitchen counter.

I don’t have any issue with “We Live Food.” I think that’s true of a lot of restaurants and am not convinced it’s more true of Qdoba. But I’m willing to let them convince me.

What strikes me is how turned-around the messaging is, here: the front has a headline that strains to make me care, but ultimately cannot. You worked hard and I eat fast—you knew that going in, right? I’m not sure what the benefit is yet. I glance at the food photos, which are neither bad nor remarkable, and turn the coupon over.

And that’s where I become, oh, kind of indignant.

Because you underestimate us all, Qdoba. All your customers are pretty smart.

I believe all of your customers would be glad to know those three bullet-pointed facts.

What I am irritated by is all the glib, forgettable blah-blah surrounding them, almost like two slices of hype-bread. Qdoba has taken a valuable resource—three interesting, factual bits of information—and sandwiched them in meaningless happy-talk.

This is how a restaurant’s marketing materials fail: they fail to recognize two things—that everyone is smart and “gets” what you’re trying to do with your advertising; and that we operate, as humans, out of self-interest.

My self-interest here was to save slightly on food I might like from a restaurant I enjoy. Providing me with those three interesting bullet-points allows me to see how my self-interest is served by the way you conduct business, Qdoba. All three of those bullet-points would result, I can infer, in great food. Everyone who might eat your restaurant will figure that out.

But potential customers may never know those nuggets that would appeal to their self-interest, because of the all-caps COPYWRITING that obscures the only information that might move me.

I don’t mean to attack a defenseless little coupon. It’s doing its best. But it could be doing so much more.

Somebody wanna rewrite that thing for next year’s franchisee marketing-material binder/website, maybe?

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