Jack in the Box: A Marketing Success Story

CEO Darin Harris is quick to credit marketing for its double-digit same-store sales in Q3.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Jack in the Box Inc. is bullish about its future.

“New store prototypes, strong marketing, our digital and loyalty innovation have our franchisees operators and management team as ready as ever to execute on our growth potential,” said Darin Harris, Chief Executive Officer, during Jack in the Box Inc.’s Q3 fiscal 2021 earnings call with analysts.

Q3 was a very strong quarter for the QSR. System-wide sales grew 10.6 percent vs. Q3 2020.

“Our same-store sales performance in Q3 was outstanding, growing 10.2 percent while lapping a prior year increase of 6.6 percent,” explained Tim Mullany, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Franchise business increased 10.3 percent in Q3 while company-operated stores were up 9 percent.

Revenues for the third quarter neared $270 million, up more than $27 million or 11.2 percent, Q3 2020. Net earnings increased to $40 million for Q3 compared with $32.6 million a year ago.

“This was our second consecutive quarter of traffic gains held by our strong value platforms and LTO offerings,” Mullany added.

[Jack in the Box Moves On-Premises Data Center to the Cloud

On the Menu

Harris credits Jack’s impressive same-store sales performance to CMO Ryan Ostrom and his marketing team. Listening and responding to guest feedback has resulted in menu innovation and a succession of LTOs (popcorn chicken, cheddar biscuit) that were well marketed and part of the brand’s upsell strategy. Plus, the Jack Pack Rewards program launched during Q3 '21.

“… Part of what's working is our menu strategy, our overall strategy of listening to our guests and giving them the offers they want,” said Harris, adding that the brand’s  growth is across all day parts and specifically at late night.

Social Media Marketing

The brand has also upped its participation on social media and digital media as it aims to become more culturally relevant. The brand’s collaboration with singer Jason DeRulo and TikTok videos have resonated with guests, said Mullany.

“A lot of it is the way that we're thinking about the business and engaging our consumers and communicating to our consumers and then giving them offers that are compelling,” said Mullany.  “Digital is definitely reaching our guests.”

(McDonalds too has seen its celeb meals resonate with diners with he success of McDonalds’ Famous Orders program. ( The Travis Scott meal – and revealing what the musician’s go-to McDonald’s order and enabling customers to order the same with ease has been a whirlwind success ) And on its mobile app, Chipotle revealed the favorite menu items for athletes participating on Team USA in the summer games in Tokyo.]

Jack as set its sights on growing its digital sales, which are currently 8 percent of sales, said Harris. “We have grown our digital database 30 percent thus far in 2021 alone and are excited to soon hit the mark of 10 percent sales coming from digital channels,” Harris said.

“We've got a strong team that's behind it that are working on the right digital initiatives to continue to grow our unique user base that we can communicate and do one to one marketing with, so we're doing all the right things that give me confidence that we'll continue to find ways and levers to build this business over time, and I can tell you there's just a lot of exciting things happening here with the way we're building the tools to prepare us for your ongoing growth.

Investing in Data & Analytics

Jack is investing in its tech stack so that it can leverage data and guest feedback.“… We're committed to investing aggressively in store improvements and new store build, innovating via digital operations and menu, and we're building out a much stronger, more robust data and analytics team to ensure we never take our eye off the ball and putting the feedback and insights from our guests before our own,” said Harris.