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Snack Wrap

A Niche for Niche Marketing

The Snack Wrap is a good example of niche marketing -- finding a profitable market segment and designing a custom-made product for it. McDonald's has done it successfully before with the Filet-O-Fish. Lou Groen, a Cincinnati-based franchisee, conceived of the Filet-O-Fish as a sandwich that would appeal to Catholics, who abstained from meat every Friday, as well as during Lent. McDonald's introduced the product in 1963 and usually sees at least a 24 percent rise in sales of the sandwich during a yearly marketing push in the days leading up to Lent [source: Parpis].

A Snack Wrap is modestly simple: warm crispy or grilled white-breast chicken meat, cheddar jack cheese, lettuce and ranch sauce, all wrapped in a flour tortilla. The innovation isn't so much in the wrap itself, but in the marketing acumen that spawned it.

Historically, McDonald's has focused on serving portions that are fit for a meal. In 2006, the company asked itself, "What about snacking?" To get at this untapped market, McDonald's introduced its chicken Snack Wrap, which carries a low price point ($1.29) and can easily be consumed with one hand. Other snack items include the Fruit & Walnut Salad, Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait and Apple Dippers, but those items may be too light for someone looking for a smaller meal.

Perhaps that's why the Snack Wrap has been a huge hit, especially with younger customers. According to CREST research data, young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are three times more likely to choose McDonald's for an in-between meal than any other quick-service restaurant. And if the numbers are any indication, they are clearly ordering Snack Wraps once they get there. In 2007 alone, the company sold 540 million of the tortilla-wrapped mini-meals [source: McDonald's 2007 annual report].

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