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SO NOW we all know. South Africans are a lot more keen to get their hands on a R10 pork rib patty burger than a R15.90 chicken burger. Both normally sell at Steers for R25.90.
Duh, says a twentysomething colleague of mine, one of the many who had to settle for a R10 Rave beef burger – normal price R19.90 – last Wednesday because the local Steers had sold out of rib burgers way before lunch.
The juicier discount, and perhaps the burger variant itself as well, had unprecedented numbers of people flocking to Steers outlets across the land for its Wacky Wednesday promo last week.
Most had sold out long before lunch, thanks mostly to the fact that Steers hadn’t put a limit on the number of burgers each person could buy. Why not, given that the burgers were selling at less than half-price?
“In all our years of providing a Wacky Wednesday offer this has not been necessary, but it would have assisted greatly,” Famous Brands chief operating officer Darren Hele conceded that night, as Steers was trending in the number one spot on Twitter, mostly for the wrong reasons.
“We should have brought in restrictions on bulk orders and possibly limited the time of availability, and started later at lunch or dinner,” Hele said.
As it was, 617 000 R10 rib and Rave burgers were sold that day – 13 times more than the number of discounted chicken burgers sold in Steers’s Wacky Wednesday promotion last month. How did they get the sales predictions so wrong?
“We are still doing some work on this, but the key dynamic that changed is the demand started so early on in the day versus any other previous trend we have had on a Wacky Wednesday, which has a traditional peak over lunch and dinner,” Hele said.
Predictably, some questioned whether Steers contravened the Consumer Protection Act by being unable to supply so many people with the advertised product.
The act covers this scenario in its section on bait marketing – essentially a company can’t mislead consumers by advertising a special offer and then not have sufficient stock to meet the demand it should have expected to create as a result of its chosen advertising.
Given that the demand was unprecedented, it’s an unlikely case of intentional baiting. So Steers has said sorry and the company will no doubt steer clear of no-limit promos in future. And maybe R10 burgers, too.