Restaurants rely on loyal customers to generate revenue and reduce overhead. However, the restaurant industry is one of the most competitive sectors. With more restaurants in the US, how do you stand out to attract and retain customers?
Answer: It’s all in the marketing.
The right marketing strategy that incorporates customer and industry trends such as mobile, social media, and loyalty programs can help differentiate a restaurant from the competition. By embracing customer trends in their marketing tactics, restaurants can enhance the dining experience while increasing loyalty and profits.
Let’s explore a few ways restaurants can create an effective marketing strategy with consumer trends.
Create a mobile presence
According to research by eConsultancy, 81% of smartphone users have searched for a restaurant through a mobile app in the previous six months, and 92% have searched through a mobile browser. On top of that, 75% of users chose a restaurant destination based on the mobile results they found.
It’s a sign that restaurants should consider adding mobile to their marketing strategy.
One way for restaurants to follow this trend is to create a mobile app that allows customers to view menus, make reservations, order takeout, or even track their place on the restaurant’s waiting list.
Another way is to optimize the restaurant’s website for mobile searches. Some optimizations to consider include creating a responsive website design that adapts to users’ screen sizes, mobile bookings, and adding an accessible menu.
Take advantage of social media
Social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can also be effective in bolstering your restaurant’s marketing strategy. Studies have shown that 92% of frequent social media users eat at a sit-down restaurant at least once a month. For this reason, social media is a great way to update customers on the latest news, including promotions, menu changes, and discounts.
Instagram and other visual platforms allow restaurants to leverage photos customers share on social media while dining, also known as user-generated content. Typically, restaurants can find this content by searching for their name, location, or relevant hashtags on these platforms. User-generated content relieves pressure from social media managers to create unique content, engages target audiences and encourages future sharing.
Restaurants can also use social media to recognize and respond to customer feedback, whether positive or negative. By maintaining an active social presence, restaurants can easily respond to complaints and resolve them before the customer spreads negative word-of-mouth.
Create personalized loyalty programs
Customer loyalty is critical to a restaurant’s bottom line because frequent visitors are also frequent spenders. A Personalized Loyalty Program Can Boost New Customer Loyalty and show existing loyal customers that they are valued. To ensure that customers will take advantage of their loyalty program, restaurants could create an email list to send out promotions and coupons, or create a loyalty feature in a mobile app for easy redemption.
So how can restaurants actually create a personalized loyalty program? With an intuitive point-of-sale system, restaurants can collect customer data that they can use to target relevant customers with promotions, discounts, and coupons based on their order history.
With a strategic marketing plan, your restaurant can generate more business and customer loyalty. Even a 5% increase in the number of happy and loyal customers can boost your restaurant’s profitability by up to 75%, so investing in these marketing tactics could have a significant impact on restaurant revenue.