McAlister’s Deli® “Free Tea Day” is a Unique Way the Brand Connects with its Guests and Communities where its Restaurants are Located

Annual event serves as “thank you” to its loyal guests.

Free Tea Day has a lot of meaning for McAlister’s Deli® franchisees. Started as a promotional concept around June’s National Iced Tea Month a decade ago, the brand began Free Tea Day as a way to say thank you to loyal guests and to give new guests an opportunity to experience the brand’s genuine hospitality. Now, with more than 400 McAlister’s Deli® locations in 28 states, the event has become the biggest sales day of the year across the system.

“Free Tea Day is a way to appreciate our loyal guests, but it also gives new guests an incentive to experience our genuine hospitality in each of our restaurants. Breaking dining habits takes work and strategy, and our Free Tea Day programming is planned to give franchisees tested tools to disrupt their markets, create community around this day and earn new customers,” said President, Paul Macaluso.

As a brand, McAlister’s Deli® sells more than 54,000, 32 ounce glasses of tea a day. The tea offered by the franchisees are held to the highest standards, using Rainforest Alliance™ Certified leaves, steaming-hot filtered water, crystal-clear ice, fresh lemon wedges, and pure cane sugar in the brand’s famous sweet tea. By cultivating an ideology and process around the McAlister’s Famous Sweet Tea™, the brand and its franchisees become, in essence, brewmasters of sorts. However, the brand has always taken its tea making seriously, so the title, while trendy, is authentic and well-earned.

“Free Tea Day is our favorite day of the year,” said Chris Smith, multi-unit franchisee and owner of Peak Restaurants. “It’s a chance for us to thank our loyal guests and celebrate our famous tea. It’s something our teams look forward to every year.”
In preparation for Free Tea Day, McAlister’s Deli® provides franchisees with its full support as the system prepares to serve over 400,000 glasses of tea. Programming on staff needs and operational requirements, as well as marketing preparation and execution, are provided as part of the brand’s promise to its franchisees. The franchisor focuses its ad fund to promote Free Tea Day in national and regional markets. Training videos and webinars are only a small part of offerings that help local store owners prepare, and the McAlister’s Deli® National Conference places emphasis on showcasing Free Tea Day photos, feedback and continuing education.

According to Macaluso, “It’s a long day for all of our franchisees, their teams and in our company stores as well, but to see the lines of customers eagerly awaiting their glass of tea makes it all worthwhile.”

McAlister’s Deli® Recognizes Franchisee and System Achievements at Recent Owner’s Conference

Annual franchisee awards showcased many ownership groups in most successful year ever.

McAlister’s Deli® had a successful 2016, largely due to the passion and commitment of its franchisees. At the recent McAlister’s Owners’ Conference, the brand payed homage to the men and women behind the franchise ownership groups.

Starting with its highest performing restaurants, three franchisees groups were recognized for operating restaurants that each surpassed $3 Million Dollars in sales in 2016. These groups include: Southwest Deli Group (1 location), Southern Rock Restaurants (4 locations) and The Saxton Group (3 locations).

Other awards include as follows:
2016 Highest AUV for a single location; Highest Opening week sales; Developer of the year: Saxton Group
2016 Rookie of the Year: Dave’s Deli.
2016 Highest Average AUV for Franchise Group (11+ Restaurants): Southwest Deli Group
2016 Highest Average AUV for Franchise Group (1-10 Restaurants): LLD Investments
2016 Highest Comp Percentage for Franchise Group (11+ Restaurants): DMAC81
2016 Highest Comp Percentage for Franchise Group (1-10 Restaurants): McKnotts Enterprise
2016 Highest Catering Percentage of Sales: AliMax Enterprises
2016 Food Safety Award (11+ Restaurants) (Tie): DMAC81 and Southwest Deli Group
2016 Food Safety Award (1-10 Restaurants) (Tie): MCA Geneva and McFoods ML
2016 Genuine Hospitality Award: Columbus MC Deli
2016 Overall Satisfaction Award (11+ Restaurants): DMAC81
2016 Overall Satisfaction Award (1-10 Restaurants): Columbus MC Deli

“I couldn’t be more proud of our franchisees. They have worked hard to represent our brand, and they are the reason for our success. Without them, McAlister’s wouldn’t be where it is today,” McAlister’s Deli® President Paul Macaluso said.

McAlister’s Deli® has over 400 restaurants in 28 states.

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