Not Every Restaurant Needs A Podcast

Crumbl, Wingstop, and others have created their own podcasts to pump messaging to consumers.

Audio advertising isn't anything new, especially for major fast food and snack brands. For decades, funny radio spots and catchy jingles have been the name of the game—but now major companies are moving beyond the commercial breaks and cutting to the chase with their own branded podcasts. Nation's Restaurant News reports that more brands have been wielding podcasts to reach consumers, since it's a format that can grab our attention in an intimate way.

Food brands launching podcasts and YouTube content

Trader Joe's has a podcast called Inside Trader Joe's, going strong since 2018. Episodes can run from five to 30 minutes, and they serve to answer customer questions and showcase new products. Some examples include an explanation of why Trader Joe's doesn't have self-checkout (and never will) and why it won't launch a loyalty program.

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Wingstop recently launched a video podcast of its own, Say That, on LinkedIn. It's hosted by Wingstop employees (including its chief people officer), and the company says the goal of the show is to "showcase our unique culture, dive deep into team member stories, and learn more about the different flavors that make up the Wingstop team."

There's only one episode so far (you can stream it on podcast platforms or watch via YouTube), but from this first installment, released during Hispanic Heritage Month, it seems less like an advertisement for new products and more of a self-reflective insight into its own company culture, perhaps to spur interest among prospective employees. There's a lot of corporate speak about values and team members, but surprisingly no real discussion of chicken wings. We would've assumed a Wingstop podcast would be a little more like Hot Ones featuring Wingstop employees.

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And Crumbl Cookies, known for its mega-sweet cookies and explosive growth, has restarted its own podcast, Crumbl Unboxed. In each episode, host Kadee Jo Jones speaks to a guest while the two basically eat samples the entire time, describing what each cookie tastes like to drum up interest in the weekly flavor drops. (If the sound of people eating directly into a microphone appeals to you, you're gonna love this—me, not so much.)

Starbucks even has a podcast offered directly within its ordering app called The Starbucks Daily, hosted by Hark Audio. It's a little different, in that it's not about Starbucks offerings directly; instead, it's a curated collection of clips from other great podcasts out there, hosted by Radiolab creator Jad Abumrad. Listeners are encouraged to "grab your coffee [and] take a listen."

Of course, these are all basically just long-form commercials that don't cost as much as a TV spot to produce, so it makes sense that they're proliferating. Whether the average customer will actually listen to Wingstop's inner reflections or Crumbl Cookie representatives munching on mic is debatable. But the whole point is to get your individual attention any way they can, perhaps by showing up as the next video after you finish watching something on YouTube—and this avenue just happens to be cheap, longer than an ad, and piped directly into your ear canals. We fully expect other fast food chains to follow suit, if they haven't already. 

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