Squishy success for Frankie & Benny’s!

‘Designing, project managing and delivering a collectible toy programme for The Restaurant Group’

Family friendly restaurant brand Frankie & Benny’s, part of The Restaurant Group (TRG), are always looking for new ideas and new ways to help connect with target audience, further improve the dining experience and generate even greater footfall across their estate of over 250 UK locations.

In 2018, they asked mda to help provide recommendations on ways to achieve these objectives, with particular interest in delivering a toy giveaway programme to help create an experience for family enjoyment in their restaurants and encourage repeat visits.

mda set about conducting primary and secondary research for TRG on the benefits and impacts of various toy options in food retail, including that by Magalhaes and Goldstein et al who in their research found that ‘children up to 7 years old value quantity of toys and prefer to accumulate as they are unable to precisely compare, whilst older children prefer quality and detail’. This research looked into various options, included licensed toys, standalone giveaways, collectible toy programmes and more. On the back of our research mda began preparing our recommended options of collectible toy offerings that could span an approximate 3 to 14 age range and provide a reason to return to the restaurant.

The solution

Having investigated a range of licensed and non-licensed options, the final solution chosen with TRG was a range of playful squishies, capitalising on the incredible craze for these childrens toys. For each childs meal purchased a free squishie was provided, packaged in a ‘blind box’ to create an added element of surprise when delivered to the table.

What did we do

mda managed this exciting project alongside TRG from initial concept and research to in-store activation over its 12 month duration.

Having provided initial ideas, pricing, project timelines and logistics, mda set about working extremely closely with our manufacturer in China to plan this project, map out the requirements and begin early prototyping.

Initial designs produced went through focus group sessions, feedback provided and updated designs and prototypes produced.

Legislation compliance and testing couldn’t have been of a higher priority, particularly due to the nature of these products being aimed at children and used in a food setting. mda managed the full testing of all toys for EN71 – 2 (Flammability), EN71 – 3 (Migration of toxic elements) and Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC), with all products receiving CE mark before entering trade. Every single shipment also passed rigorous trading standards testing during customs clearance before being released.

The success

TRG provided 500,000 squishies to children across the UK during this campaign, with massive traction including over half a million impressions across YouTube and social media, and highly positive customer feedback from the target audience groups.

Hayley Simon for mda added, ‘To support TRG on this massive campaign for their F&B brand was a privilege, and working on this project was an absolute joy for the whole team. We love helping play a part in bringing ideas to life, and as brand ambassadors we’ve taken our children to the restaurants many times to get our hands on our own squishies too! Managing bespoke, complex briefs with multiple components is where we excel most, and we’re proud that this experience helped make a difference for TRG.’

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