St-Hubert’s chicken is getting ‘gamey’

Casual dining chain introduces free mobile game promoting its delivery service

It’s a real chicken and app situation for Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert. 

The Quebec-based family dining chain introduced a free iOS and Android app called “Chicken Run” (“Poule Position” in Quebec) this week. The app challenges users to drive a St-Hubert delivery vehicle through five obstacle-filled cities in Quebec and Ontario.

The app also rewards users with high-value digital coupons, such as a quarter-chicken for five cents. Users can store these coupons in their online account for up to seven days.

St-Hubert’s bright yellow delivery vehicles are a key part of the 62-year-old brand’s visual identity, and lend themselves well to a mobile game, said the company’s senior interactive marketing advisor, Jonathan Gendreau.

“We wanted to modernize the way we address families,” said Gendreau, noting that videogame culture has become firmly entrenched in Canada. “I’m not sure I’d recommend it for a bank or law firm, but for us it works quite well. When people come to our restaurants they want to have a good time, so it feels natural for us to extend that [atmosphere] on every channel.”

In order to comply with Quebec’s strict rules about advertising to children, St-Hubert also developed a brand-free version of the game intended for children 14 and under.

While St-Hubert is a Quebec institution, Gendreau said the app is a way for the private company to connect with younger consumers, particularly families with young children.

While the chain continues to use traditional media—most notably TV—Gendreau described its business approach as “very progressive.” It first began offering online ordering in the early 2000s, with about 35% of its delivery business now conducted online; that number increases to nearly 50% in urban markets such as Montreal and Quebec.

Gendreau called the game “only the beginning” for this type of marketing, which he said is a reflection of continued consumer migration to digital. “Everything is switching to digital media, so it’s the next step for us,” he said.

St-Hubert has cut “a little bit” from its traditional marketing budget to accommodate its new media endeavours, said Gendreau, with the bulk of the cuts coming from its newspaper investment.

“It’s more than obvious in Quebec that the newspaper market is going down,” he said. “We see the population is going digital, so we are following the population as they’re switching.”

St-Hubert is promoting the app to its 245,000 Facebook followers as well as on its website and in-restaurant environment via posters and collectible playing cards that enable users to upgrade their in-game vehicle. The chain is also promoting the app on the more than one million delivery boxes it uses each month.

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