Thank you for the tremendous feedback on my recent “The Value in Value” blog. I feel that this subject is of critical importance to brands right now, so I wanted to follow-up with some additional thoughts: 

It wasn’t all that long ago that Value was defined as quality, service and atmosphere relative to the price paid.  Value was essentially formulaic. 

Value Equation

Under this scenario, QSR’s benefited from their strength on ease and convenience, and consumers were willing to trade-off food quality; conversely, Full Service offered higher perceived food quality and ambiance, giving it the advantage for less time-pressured occasions.

Then, three big changes happened:  1) the economic recession of 2008, 2) the emergence of Fast Casual, and 3) the coming-of-age of Millennials. 

Value is much more complicated today.

So, is Value a strategy or a tactic like McDonald’s $1 $2 $3 menu?  The short answer is both.  I view QSR value menus as tactical in nature, but still very important.  As my good friend Bill Spae points out, “…value in fast food is still about price for most QSR guests.”  I agree with him.  But I think that McDonalds enhances its overall value proposition (i.e. strategy) by offering Fresh Beef Quarter Pounders, All Day Breakfast, and 3rd Party Delivery with Uber Eats.  

McDonald's All Day Breakfast
McDonald’s All Day Breakfast

A brand’s overall Value Proposition is very strategic and important to overall brand health. Information is much more accessible today to new generations of consumers who seek to learn about brands they are considering.  Tim Pulido , another friend and fellow strategic operating partner at Corlex Capital suggests today’s value includes: menu authenticity, brand purpose, overall relevance, and community involvement, in addition to the overall brand experience.

One of my favorite brands, Jersey Mike’s, a ~1400 fast casual “sub shop”, really understands VALUE and has enjoyed huge success against many competitors including the mega-Subway brand.  Here are just a few things that I feel contribute to Jersey Mike’s overall value proposition:

  • Very easy, descriptive menu that promotes transparency
  • Yet, customization is strongly encouraged
  • Abundant fresh ingredients and fresh bread
  • Every meat and cheese is sliced fresh before your eyes
  • Warm, personable team members who welcome you and want to make your personal sub
  • Authentic  “east coast” heritage – a.k.a. the sub authority
  • Real American success story in Founder/CEO Peter Cancro (Read more hereon what has to say!
  • Deep connection to the community – they are all about local, and just ran their annual national giving day where 100% of SALES is contributed to a local cause, chosen by the franchisee — WOW!
Jersey Mike's #DayofGiving
Jersey Mike’s Day of Giving

There are plenty of lower priced subs out there, but Jersey Mikes has chosen to offer a number of differentiators that consumers value and have shown they will pay a premium for.

Jersey Mike's Subs

So, to be a winning brand today, you need a strong, unique value proposition.  Value can be and should be delivered in many ways…as highlighted above. The more robust your offering is, the better. So, I encourage you and every brand to take a fresh look at the specific ways your brand delivers value.  I am always happy to help…just contact me. 

Best, Neil 

For 15 years, Growth Partners has provided outsourced Chief Marketing Officer consulting to restaurant companies. I am a fresh set of eyes for current CEO’s/ CMOs, as well as a Part-Time or Interim CMO for concepts looking to grow their businesses and brands. Follow me at or @growthpartnersllc.