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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Advertising to Kids with Secret Menus

Photo from #HacktheMenu

Have you heard about the secret menus restaurants have online? Well, the secret’s out and kids are loving it.
Recently at a networking meeting, the president of our group told us about the secret menus that several restaurant chains have on the internet. I had never heard of it before, so I had to check it out for myself. Yes, there are indeed secret menus online. What I found was it is actually quite popular with kids and teens.
Cotton Candy Frappuccino from Starbucks
Photo from #HacktheMenu
I was talking to my two girls and my nieces to see if they knew about it and my nieces told me they knew about the Starbucks secret menu for a cotton candy Frappuccino (“Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. 1 pump Raspberry syrup for a tall, 2 pumps for a grande or 3 pumps for a venti”). Once my kids heard about it, they were begging me to take them to get a cotton candy Frappuccino. Of course I did take them, but bribed them to do some extra chores around the house beforehand. I actually wanted to see for myself what this secret menu was all about.
Of course the cotton candy Frappuccino isn’t on the menu, but the barista knew what we were talking about when we ordered it and made it for us. Some barista’s don’t know so it’s good to know what the ingredients are so you can tell them, just in case they don’t know. We ordered the cake batter Frappuccino and they didn’t know that one. It’s a vanilla bean crème Frappuccino with almond flavoring on top.
After pondering the secret menu concept, I realized how companies are now marketing to our kids. It’s not just newspaper and television ads and flyers in the mail anymore. Companies are marketing to kids in a whole new way especially to kids with electronics and access to the internet. The idea is that a secret menu is fun for kids to look up online and find things that aren’t on the everyday menu at the restaurant and order it.
I think of Starbucks typically as catering more to adults, but now they have kids wanting to go there. What a genius marketing idea, because kids can’t go by themselves, their parents have to take them.
Howard Schultz, the company’s CEO, spoke about the secret menu stating that it was his customers who drove its creation – “I’m stunned and amazed at the concoctions that people order with our Frappuccino. I never imagined it and the secret menu that has developed as a result.” Through its secret menu, Starbucks is empowering its regular customers with a feeling of inclusion, and is creating a buzz that makes others want to join too. By simply responding to customer requests for variations on basic menu items, brands have found a way to offer their customers a fun and exclusive experience that many share about on social media. These hidden menus are helping to create fans out of the brand.
Other restaurants offer these secret menus like Burger King, Chick-fil-a, Olive Garden and Dairy Queen to name a few. Click here for the list of Secret Menus. 

Now that the secrets out, at least you know what’s behind the secret menu and how it’s advertising to our kids. 

1 comment:

  1. Yeah!! I have heard about online secret menus restaurants. My family loves starbuck secret menu items. My kids just love Cake Batter Frappuccino. Once I tried making it at home but the taste was very much different. Well, my favorite is cotton candy Frappuccino. What are your favorite friends?

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