As 2013 emerges into its 3rd week there are lots of trends emerging. Even in the world of fast food. Barney Wolf touches on 10 trends for fast food in 2013
. Going local, healthy kids’ meals, economic struggles, snacks as a meal, more fruits and veggies, gluten-free options, trickle-up trends (fast-casual), ethnic foods, innovative beverages and evolving around healthcare. Ok, so nothing that we haven’t heard of before with restaurants or food trends in general. However, there’s one trend he forgot to mention, and that’s celebrities running fast food chains. In my opinion, celebrities have no business running fast food chains because they don’t know what they’re doing.
At first it was Patrick Dempsey and his bid for Tully’s
. I thought it was a joke or a publicity stunt. What does Patrick Dempsey know about the fast food industry? Even his comments sounded as though he were just touching on general knowledge, especially when he mentioned his “vision for quality customer service and building the brand”. Everyone knows it takes quality customer service, that’s not new, and building the brand is a given. What I’m concerned about is that celebrities like Patrick Dempsey don’t realize that it takes more than a general knowledge of these to advance a brand. Now I’m sure you’re saying Dempsey will just oversee it and hire other people to do the work. If he’s going to hire other people to do the work, then he has no business being involved in the first place. That just confirms my claim that celebrities don’t know what they’re doing and shouldn’t be involved. While I’m all for celebrities branching into other entrepreneurial avenues, something like fashion makes much more sense than fast food. Dempsey’s an actor, not a brand strategist or PR professional. In his case, sticking to acting makes much more sense to me.
If anyone should be taking over, it’s Starbucks. Starbucks and Tully’s franchisee AgriNurture are arguing that the Seattle U.S. bankruptcy court should reconsider
. Yet, what I don’t get about their proposal is that they’d still leave Dempsey’s group in charge of Tully’s branding. Starbucks wants to buy 25 of the 47 Tully’s locations and rebrand them as Starbucks. AgriNurture would buy the rest. In a case like this, why wouldn’t Starbucks be in charge of branding? Surely they are more qualified than Dempsey. It also makes more sense for them to be in charge of it since they know coffee. It’s also much more believable for them to incorporate Tully’s into their brand than it is for Dempsey to take control of something he knows nothing about. I suppose higher-ups are probably banking on the name alone to serve as more publicity and lift brand and franchise efforts. It may do that, but is it really worth leaving your brand in the hands of a celebrity when there are plenty of other qualified, experienced people out there who can actually afford to devote more time and needed attention to these endeavors? Celebrities are no substitute for people who make it their living to know what brands need to have to have any kind of edge or success in this business. Use celebrities in a commercial if you must tie them to a brand, but leave the branding to the professionals. The success of brands depends upon this.