Restaurant marketing

Restaurant marketing and COVID: embracing the social conversation

Restaurant traders have faced the disruption of COVID-19 like everyone else. And maybe the biggest battle today is taking place in the social arena. A race to appropriate the virtual conversation.

The BrandTotal social analytics platform was recently discovered, Despite the growing popularity of food delivery in the wake of the pandemic, few players are turning to paid social media to drive conversions. Most of the effort is focused on mid-funnel communications.

Alon Leibovich, CEO and co-founder of BrandTotal, Converse with QSR on how the company sees restaurant brands shifting their strategies from the classic bottom of the funnel that was once their bread and butter, to more middle-of-the-funnel and top-of-the-funnel tactics during COVID. The key: Consumers are looking beyond options close to home these days.

Let’s talk about some of the big changes related to COVID. It looks like there has been a big change from the classic bottom-of-the-funnel approach to focus on middle and top-of-the-funnel tactics. Why do you think this is?

Many brands still don’t understand how drastically COVID-19 has changed consumers’ options. They tend to focus on messages at the bottom of the funnel that assume the customer is about to buy. Our email scans tell us that keywords like “pickup,” “curbside,” “delivery” and “drive-thru” appear in most ads in the Quick Services category, no surprises of course. given the pandemic. Appropriating these words on social media is becoming more and more difficult, and this competition makes it more crucial to spread differentiated messages on these topics, especially when engaging first-time customers, rather than pushing the envelope. marketing to consumers who know your brand. .

What are the long-term ramifications for restaurants and for customers?

Consumers no longer think about choices based on what’s near their home. There is a plethora of options for consumers to consider when ordering through a home app or website. Restaurants are no longer fighting for just a part of the voice, but a part of the stomach, even in a different way. Burger restaurants are not only competing against each other, but pizzerias, fried chicken, Mexican, Chinese, sushi, among others.

Do you think the strategies have changed for good, or will there be a return to the ways of the past, at least on some level?

Without a doubt, once vaccines become more regularly available and restrictions on indoor dining are relaxed or removed, there will be a return to restaurants. But, over the course of this year, consumers have become more comfortable eating at home, especially with the fast-casual brands. What will change is that these brands will have to expand into the home. I encourage these brands to deliver more quality experiences, even outside of the restaurant, by offering better quality napkins, more durable cutlery, and packaging to take out or deliver.