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33-year-old underdog stages PR coup

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

What do you do if you run a small company and you’re looking to grab market share from a dominant rival? Try staging a PR stunt.

Matthew Corrin, 33, founded a fast-food chain in 2005 called Freshii that’s devoted to healthy meals. Today, Freshii has more than 160 locations in 13 countries.

Despite his com­pany’s growth, Corrin knows Freshii is still a David when compared to the Goliath that is McDonald’s. With its 36,000 locations worldwide, the Golden Arches wields far more power and marketing muscle.

In May 2015, Corrin sent an open letter to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook with a bold proposal. He dared McDonald’s to open a Freshii store inside one of its 14,000 U.S. locations.

To publicize the letter, Corrin posted it on Freshii’s website after emailing it to Easterbrook. McDonald’s customers and franchisees responded with enthusiasm, urging Easterbrook to accept Corrin’s offer.

In the letter, Corrin promised that same-store sales at that McDonald’s would jump 30% and the restaurant’s profits would increase $250,000 over a year. If not, Corrin would issue a $250,000 check to McDonald’s, making it a risk-free experiment for Easterbrook.

Corrin’s wager garnered much media attention. Within days, he made national news and spread the word about Freshii’s kale salads, quinoa burritos and spicy lemongrass soup. The Canada-based company is opening two stores a week, so Corrin found an ingenious way to raise its profile during a time of heady growth.

— Adapted from “Freshii CEO challenges McDonald’s,” www.foxbusiness.com.

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