The Bait And Switch Of Fast-Food Coupons

LOS ANGELES , February 22, 2019 () – It’s time for a blog about one of my pet peeves:

Fast-food coupons that don’t work.

This may sound like a random thing, but it’s an occurrence I’ve seen happening with more regularity lately, whether it be the traditional paper coupons or the digital kind. There’s nothing more annoying than going up to the drive thru window at your favorite quick service establishment, hand them the coupon and then be told that the machine isn’t recognizing the coupon for some unexplained reason.

In fact, let’s backtrack and lay out the entire scenario.

You’re at home, hungry and figuring out what to eat. You don’t feel like cooking and you’re in the mood for something quick and easy. So you decide: “Hey, fast food sounds good.”

You’re not sure which fast-food chain you want to go to, so you start looking up some coupons to help you decide. You find a coupon you like and that’s the place you choose.

You then drive over to the fast-food restaurant, give your order at the drive thru window, tell them that you have a coupon and then drive up to the front.

Once you get to the front, the fast-food worker either takes your paper coupon or scans your digital coupon, and about 30-60 seconds later says: “Sorry, but for some reason the machine isn’t taking this coupon.”

And that’s when one of the most infuriating experiences in the universe begins.

First off: You never get an accurate explanation as to why the coupon doesn’t work. The coupon is valid. The date hasn’t expired, you’re asking for the food mentioned in the coupon and there’s nothing in the fine print that explains why this coupon isn’t working. The fast-food worker simply shrugs his or her shoulders.

Second: There’s nothing they can do, or at least anything they’re willing to do. They can’t override the system and they won’t give you cash back out of the register.

Third: You’ve already placed the order. And you placed the order figuring (rightfully so) that the coupon would factor in. In other words, more food for less money. But now that the coupon doesn’t work, you’re faced with a terrible choice: Go through with the original order and pay full price, or make a completely separate order right there and then, and wait the extra time that it will take to make it.

If you’re like me, I go through with the original order and pay full price. But it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So fast-food chains, take note: Fix your coupon system! Great deals are the only reason I’m coming to you in the first place.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. We invite you to come take a look at our service. Call us today at 310-553-0008 and we’ll schedule you for a 15-minute demo.

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