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Chili’s drives foot traffic to locations with targeted mobile ordering effort

February 20, 2013

Restaurant chain Chili’s Grill & Bar is enticing consumers to visit any one of its locations via a targeted mobile advertising campaign that lets them purchase gift cards, browse the company’s menu and, ultimately, order their favorite meals on the go.

The company is running the campaign within The Hollywood Life’s mobile site. This initiative also drives awareness for the Chili’s iPhone application.

“The Chili’s mobile ad campaign is well executed,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism.

“The tagline on the main banner ad ‘Tasty Chili’s to go’ is not a very clear message as it doesn’t have a clear incentive or call-to-action,” he said. “We recommend that product images are included on the banner ad to capture the consumer’s attention.

“However, those consumers who click on the banner see a solid location-aware campaign that drives foot traffic to the Chili’s restaurants.”

Mr. Buckingham is not affiliated with Chili’s. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Chili’s did not respond to press inquiries.

Highly targeted
The Chili’s mobile ad reads “Tasty Chili’s To Go.”

When users tap on the ad, they are first promoted to download the company’s iPhone app – if they would like – or go directly to the Chili’s mobile site.

From there, the company asks to use the consumer’s location to find the nearest Chili’s or users also have the option of entering their ZIP code.

From there, consumers can browse the Chili’s menu, look at featured items, order them, join the company’s email club and see its videos.

In addition, consumers can also “Like” the company on Facebook, as well as follow Chili’s on Twitter.

A campaign such as this is great way for Chili’s to ramp up its mobile ordering presence.

Mobile ordering is becoming a big thing for fast food franchises – especially since it gives consumers a convenient way to order their favorite meals.

Past efforts
Chili’s is no stranger to mobile.

In 2010, Chili’s offered a free item when consumers checked into one of its locations. The tactic was designed to drive foot traffic into its restaurants.

At participating locations nationwide for a limited time only, foursquare subscribers who checked in at Chili’s received a free order of chips and house-made salsa (see story).

In 2011, A Chili’s fundraising campaign for childhood cancer resulted in 291,000 QR code scans that appeared on coloring sheets and table tents created specifically for the effort (see story).

Most recently, Chili’s used mobile advertising to spread the word about its ordering service.

The Chili’s mobile ads aimed to educate consumers about the restaurant’s pick-up mobile ordering service by walking them through the steps of placing an order (see story).

“This Chili’s mobile ad campaign drives the awareness and sampling of the special Chili’s value menu items such as $20 dinner for 2,” Mr. Buckingham said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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