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#Steers special goes wrong, causes social media storm

People clearly love a bargain. When South African fast food chain Steers announced that it would be offering R10 Rib Burgers today, it caused a rush on stores around the country and unleashed a social media storm.

Thing is, when long queues didn’t get any shorter and outlets around the country started running out of stock, people got angry. And the first port-of-call for rage that needs to be vented is social media.

A lot of the Twitter traffic revolved around the long queues:

One parody account suggested that the rush might go right to the top of the country’s power echelons:

Another user compared the waiting masses to the zombies from AMC’s popular show The Walking Dead:

Others reported outlets across some cities completely selling out of burgers. This provoked some serious anger towards the brand:

Steers has since apologised for its failure to plan for the rush on its outlets and is offering Beef Rave Burgers as a replacement:

The fast food outlet also issued a full apology on its Facebook page:

“We never intended to mislead anyone – and have had to face some serious lessons this morning! We’re very sorry we can’t feed everyone, but hopefully we can make it up to you in the near future.”

The demand today has been nothing short of stratospheric. Companies have literally been ordering 100’s at a time, customers 50 at a time, and some stores have had to bypass the ‘no limit per person’ and some stores have cancelled phone orders — it’s just been kinda crazy.”

One Twitter user suggested that Steers’ competitors should take advantage of the situation:

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • Pauline9

    From the original ad:  “We’ve got plenty to go round so let’s spread the love.” Now I ask you!
    Anyway, we are all waiting for Nandos’ predictable jumping on the bandwagon…

    got plenty to go around so let’s spread the love.

  • Terrible terrible news for Steers… oh wait no. It’s marketing gold.

  • Aren’t the beef Rave burgers R10 anyway?

  • Lindeque A

    has anyone told the Steers outlets about the rave burgers? The level of communication is shocking….this is a lesson on how a great marketing idea went bad!

  • Michelle Solomon

    This is actually illegal under the Consumer Protection Act – it qualifies as bait marketing. All these angry folks can lay a complaint against Steers with the National Consumer Commission, and Steers could get into quite serious trouble.

    Consumer Right No. 5
    Right to Fair and Responsible Marketing
    What does this mean for the ordinary consumer?
    Your right to protection against bait marketing
    Suppliers are not permitted to mislead consumers in respect of pricing, the nature, properties, advantages or uses of goods or services advertised, if such goods or services are not actually available for purchase or procurement in accordance with these standards.Suppliers are obliged to include limitations in respect of the availability of goods or services when advertising such items, and honour such agreements.http://www.labourguide.co.za/consumer-protection-act/the-consumer-protection-act-your-guide-to-consumer-rights-a-how-to-protect-them

  • I have seen stories of people on Facebook who said the burgers were “sold out” by 9:30am. Sounds like the brand managers for steers didn’t tell any of the stores they we going to do this special. I would like to know if anyone has actually managed to purchase a rib burger for R10, pictures or it didn’t happen!

  • Noelene

    Good idea, bad execution

  • Stephan

    It is a lot easier moaning about what went wrong from our comfortable screens. Consider how many burgers might actually have been sold. It could be millions.

    If you are getting a crazy special, do not moan about how the que looks. There is probably a McDonalds next door, go there. 

    If it sells out, you might be too late. Bad luck. They never said they will feed the entire population.

  • Andrrewgtester10

     It says “While stocks last” on all the adverts.

  • Warren

     ” #Steers,
    if you run a campaign promoting burgers, you should probably have some
    in stock. Went to three branches in Cape Town, all sold out.” , seriously Andrew? You spent R30’s fuel trying to pick up a R15 discount on a burger? If you’re actually that cheap and went through all that effort don’t make it public.

  • Michael Liebenberg

     Uhm, I suppose the disclaimer * “While stocks last” – would nullify your whole boring conversation above?

  • Andrew

    Thanks for the advice Warren.

  • Quote form the mailer for the promo:
    “Once Off – One Day Only: Steers Rib Burgers for only R10 each! We’ve got plenty to go around so let’s spread the love.”

    They thought they could meet the demand.

  • Juztick

    I love how bloggers think they’re investigative journalists when they write about the Social Media storm caused by #Steers. Oh please.

  • Ryan

    I phoned at 10am to check if the special was on in EL… and it was already sold out. i asked if they’d be getting more stock, and the manager replied that all branches were out. Their bait marketing clearly worked because the queues of hungry masses were pissed off but mostly bought something else, but it does nothing for any long term loyalty their customers have

  • Paul JvR

    Mass hello peter of steers

  • Bonnie

    I agree 100%!!

  • Bonnie

    Aaahahaha! Wow there are some idiots out there!

  • Steers can’t help that some people decided it’s apt to order 20 or more burgers. Blame the people who bought burgers for their families, extended families, neighbors and close friends.

  • Warren, I was thinking the exact same thing. It’s hilarious. People will drive across the entire Cape Town to cash in on a R15 special.

  • I’ll leave you with the following said by someone on my Twitter feed, “If not getting a R10 burger is worth getting yourself worked up about, you need to reassess your life”.

  • The R10 burger should have its own que…

  • JOE

    How funny is this – I go to a drive through only to be told they are out of stock – the useless Steers couldnt cope with all the orders and I got stuck in the drive through cue for 35 mins…. Sorry Steers – never again….

  • or to resell them for a profit?

  • anon troll dude

     Actually, you aren’t allowed to advertise “while stocks last” – that’s clause 23 of the act IIRC.

  • Abc

    Maybe you should know the law before you state that other people are idiots… “While stocks last” is not valid under the CPA

  • Michelle Solomon

    As someone pointed out above, “while stocks last” does not negate bait marketing. It’s the same premise as “voetstoots” and “no return” policies – all are rendered invalid and unfair clauses according to the CPA. 

  • Michelle Solomon

    As someone pointed out below, “while stocks last” does not negate bait marketing. It’s the same premise as “voetstoots” and “no return” policies – all are rendered invalid and unfair clauses according to the CPA. So, no, it does not nullify my argument. Want to try again?

  • Sally

    The original ad did not carry the “Available while stocks last” disclaimer.  The ad was updated to include it at 09h00 when they realised their mistake, therefore Michelle is 100% correct.  To add to that, they completely removed the original ad that did not carry the disclaimer from their facebook page.  Not right…

  • Regs

    Ok who says Andrew was going for 1 lousy burger? Now assuming Andrew went for a mere 10 burgers. Would the R150 saving out weigh the cost of fuel spent then?…cmon people think a bit.

  • Gid

    dude I waited 2 hours for 2 rib burgers in gardens ct yesterday

  • Zagoma

    The idea was there but no strategic planning to deliver on the ad aired. I have one question: “How much of the R10 Rib Burgers did Steers sell by City, Total Countrywide and the store that sold the most”. It would be interesting to see the numbers as to maybe give some of us a “WOW” moment :)…

  • Bean

    Seriously people!? All that madness for a R10 burger? Sadest thing I’ve ever heard.

  • WayneDeVilliers

    Pure insanity.  Supposing that a regular price for a rib burger is R35 and people are admitting to queueing for two hours for two burgers – that means that they are happy to value their time at R25 per hour.  People need to be more critical and analytical in the face of such “bargains” :-)

  • Lieheiric

    I was part of the mayhem @ the Epping Viking Bussiness Park Total. 3h in waiting. The manager and staff worked very hard. If it were not for the Companies that Pre-ordered the day before or such a volume as 200 – 300 on one go, the speed would have been faster. as many orders were made, there were cancellations as well. we actually wanted them to cancel so that we could get ours more quicker. Hats off still to the manager, who made it possible to accomodate those that waited for a long time. yes, people got angry but not uproaringly. more irritated is a better suited word. when the rolls started to dwindle he made a plan to use other rolls – and even had other branches or shops deliver it. This Branch had more than enough stock. It became fun standing there closer to the end. we got to make new friends. Spreading the Love. PS: after 2pm the branch manager indicated that new orders were going to be taken. in order to accomodate the already standing orders. I’m impressed how they handled the situation. Hats off to the Staff who really got thrown in the deep end.

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  • Andrew

    650 000 specials (R10 Rib & Rave burgers) were sold Zagoma, which is around 50 000 an hour across 500 stores…

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  • Yep, ‘cashing-in’ on their mistake is a great idea. Pity no-one’s done that. There is one campaign like this that went smoothly, as far as I know, and that was the Wimpy streaky breakfast promotion. And they gave it away for free. But they were clever to limit it to an hour.

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