Hooters Increasing Activation Around NASCAR, Chase Elliott
Hooters is increasing its activation in NASCAR this season after seeing positive same-store sales growth last year that company CMO Carl Sweat attributes to its NASCAR sponsorship. Hooters returned last season to racing series after a prolonged absence by signing a two-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 9 Chevy driven by Chase Elliott that sees it serve as primary sponsor for two races annually. Hooters is debuting a new ad during Sunday's Daytona 500 that touts the “Chase Wins, You Win” promotion. That gave customers a free fried-pickles appetizer if Elliott earned a top-10 result last year. The new promo will add the option of 10 free wings with the purchase of 10 wings if Elliott wins a race. He is set to start fourth in Sunday's race. Hooters also is putting Elliott’s likeness on all kids’ menus and limited-edition kids’ cups nationwide. Sweat said, "We were using the program to put us on the map to tell fans on a local level, 'Hey, we're your home for racing.' ... We were able to show business impact, meaning positive same-store sales. In a category hurting the last few years (in restaurants), to show that to our franchisees, we were able to say, 'Let's get behind (NASCAR) in a bigger way in '18,' and everyone signed up." Sweat has increased the company’s media buy in NASCAR this year by 70% and gotten franchisees more involved after exceeding Hooters’ key performance indicators last year. Hooters funded the program last year through its national office as opposed to in tandem with franchisees, but Sweat said franchisees will get involved in the program this year. He noted same-store sales at non-franchisee locations were up on Saturdays and Sundays during NASCAR races, both with wings and beer.