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How To Increase Restaurant Sales With Online Ordering?

Competition in the restaurant industry can be cut-throat and with the rapidly changing trends, it can be difficult to acquire new customers or retain existing. As more customers seek out the ease of take-out–and especially delivery, third-party for delivery services provide an easy way to increase restaurant sales with online ordering.

Although these delivery services offer an opportunity to reach new customers  and increase sales, the benefits  come at a cost: giving up access to valuable customer data and loosing loyal customer base to the delivery partners. 

It, therefore, becomes pertinent for restaurants to explore strategies to engage with their customers to keep the regulars coming back, attract new customers, and, build their native platforms to increase online orders on their website. In this article we will discuss some strategies to increase restaurant sales with online ordering.

How to increase restaurant sales with online ordering?

  1. Opt for A Robust online Ordering Solution
  2. Streamline your online ordering menu
  3. Optimize your online ordering platform
  4. Make it easy to order from your website
  5. Leverage Digital channels to Promote Online Ordering
  6. Optimize Your Website For Local Search
  7. Promote your Online Ordering Platform
increase restaurant sales with online ordering

1. Opt For A Robust Online Ordering Solution

Many restaurant owners/managers opt for third party delivery services to provide the convenience of online ordering to their customers. the general belief is that it is easier to get started on such platforms and they can easily start getting more orders without any investment in terms of time and resources. However, what they fail to factor in is that the additional revenues generated by orders received via these platforms is usually diluted by the hefty commissions charged by them. At this point, it is advisable to consider the long-term benefits of building your own online ordering platform. Initially, you may have to put in some efforts to promote your online ordering platform but these are resources invested in building your brand that have the potential to deliver huge dividends in the future.

There are several robust online ordering solutions in the market, which are commission-free and are available to restaurants totally free of cost. There are a few things you should keep in mind while selecting an online ordering solution:

What are the key features of an online ordering solution?

  • Simple configuration: Most modern solutions are easy to setup and configure and allow to start taking online orders within 24 hours.
  • POS integrations: An integrated online ordering solution does away with the need for manually updating orders. Your online orders appear on your POS along with other orders and all menu updates on the POS are automatically reflected on your online ordering platform.
  • Customer data: if your online ordering solution is integrtaed with your pos, the customer data from online orders appears with all other data on your POS.
  • Customizable: You should be able to customize the platform, upload pictures and add descriptions to align with your brand identity.
  • Customers should be able save their preferences and customize their orders easily
  • Accept Multiple Payment Options
  • Inegrated feedback and loyalty program help you to build a loyal customer base

2. Streamline your online ordering menu

increase restaurant sales with online ordering
Chipotle Online Ordering

A lot of thought should go into creating your online ordering menu. Some items that may be very popular in-store might not lot lend them selves to pick-up or delivery. Evaluate each menu item on the following three criteria to come up with the idea menu.

  • Whether they do or do not travel well
  • Whether the margin on the food item is enough to cover packaging/delivery costs.
  • Packaging considerations

Your online order menu should include only those items that travel well and at the same time have a high popularity and profitability score.

3. Optimize Your Online Ordering Platform

The online ordering platform is an extension of your brand and you should take utmost care to build the same customer experience on your online ordering page that customers have come to expect from your brand.

  • Customize every aspect of the solution to align with your brand identity.
  • Upload good quality food images and detailed descriptions of food items.
  • Arrange menu items like they would appear on your in-store menu.
  • Create up-sell or cross-sell opportunities by creating pop-ups for popular items or items that are usually ordered together.
  • Streamline and smoothen the customer journey on your online ordering platform by setting up automations such as helpful tips and suggestions or allowing customers to save orders or delivery address etc.

4. Make It Easy To Order Right From Your Website

In most case, customers land on your online ordering platform from your website. The order online button should appear prominently on the top of your home page and menu page to grab the customers attention. Highlight your specials and consider adding add to cart buttons to menu items.

5. Leverage Digital Channels to Promote Online Ordering

You should build a strong online identity by adding the order online button to all your social media handles including Facebook, Instagram and GMB page. Platforms like Yelp and Tripadvisor also allow you to build your restaurant page and add an order online button to lead customers to your order online platform

6. Optimize Your Restaurant Website for Local Search

Each day thousands of customers are searching on Google for restaurant like yours using keywords or terms related to your business/menu. You should optimize your website for these key search terms. Research keywords for your restaurant and include them in your page’s body, header, title tags, and Meta description and your sit’s SEO.

Build your website’s credibility and trust with the search engines by adding your restaurant to relevant local listings including Google maps, Apple maps, Yellow book, Map quest and Nextdoor.

increase restaurant sales with online ordering

7. Promote Your Online Ordering Platform

You would want your customers to know that you are accepting online orders. Promoting your online ordering platform through organic and paid channels can help your reach more.

In-Store Promotions
  1. Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the check out counter.
  2. Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
  3. Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
  4. Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
  5. Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
Online Promotions

Social Media platforms can be a great tool to reach your customers. Besides regular posts promoting your online ordering link, you should also consider advertising to reach your target audience on these networks.

  • You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
  • Run contests to promote online Orders.
  • Run Ads to promote online ordering

8. Leverage Data To Promote Build Loyalty

Use data from your online ordering solution to create targeted promotions to bring back customers. Segment customers based on their purchase history, preferences and visit frequency and come up with customized offers to bring back customers. For instance;

  1. Offers to bring back dormant customers
  2. offer on kids meal to bring back customers with kids
  3. Deals to increase average order value of regulars
  4. Flash offers to increase online orders on slow days
  5. Offer available only on online orders to incentivize customers to place pickup orders during rush hours.

Streamlining the customer experience on your online ordering platform and targeted promotions can help you build your brand and increase restaurant sales with online ordering.

Increase Your Restaurant Revenues with FoodKonnekt Online Ordering

4 Tips to Create a Powerful Brand Online

Outstanding customer experience is the basis of any successful restaurant. It’s what sets you apart from the plethora of competitors and drives loyalty with your customers. In the digital age, knowing how to create a powerful brand online is as important as the in-store experience. Online presence not only strengthens your brand identity but also helps you reach a larger audience.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to create a powerful brand online by delivering seamless customer experience.

How do you attract customers to your restaurant?

1. Use Social Media to share pictures of your food and restaurant
2. Mobile Optimized and SEO Friendly website
3. Use Email Marketing to Reach More Customers
4. Run a restaurant Birthday Club
5. Partner with the local community for fundraisers 
6. Host Local Events
7. Give Coupons for Local events
8. Run a loyalty Program

How do you create a restaurant brand?

a. Define Your Identity
b. Identify your Target Audience
c. Give Your Brand a Voice
d. Work on your Look and Ambiance
e. Ensure that your Online Platforms reflect your brand identify
f. Customers service should be a reflection of your brand identify
g. Reward Loyalty

Tip 1: Respond To Every Comment and Complaint

For online reviews, the way you answer can affect other users’ experiences because they can read the reviews. So, as you respond, don’t forget that your comments are for more than just one customer. Best practices recommend you respond to every review, both positive and negative, in a timely manner. Online Reputation Management is therefore very important for a restaurant business.

Respond to every comments and complaints on Social Media to create a powerful brand online

Tip 2: Incorporation of  Chat-bots

At the core, restaurants are service businesses — they primarily care about providing the best possible experience for guests who visit their physical stores. Everything else, from their website to their marketing campaigns to their online customer service, is just a method to accomplishing that goal. For this reason, we think that chatbots are perfect for service-based businesses that are so focused on in-person experiences.

By answering questions automatically to real humans only when necessary, chatbots can help restaurants concurrently improve customer service and also save up time for their staff to spend promoting their actual in-restaurant experience. Dive in into these 8 examples How Restaurants Can Effectively Use Chatbots

Incorporation of Chat-bots as a strategy of create a powerful brand online

Tip 3: Emphasize On Customer Reviews

Capitalize on your positive customer reviews.

If a restaurant has great reviews on Google, make sure they show up on the website and all social media handles. Do the same with Google my business reviews.

By highlighting your reviews on your website, you’ll improve the customer experience. Your potential customers want to see social or material proof. They want to know others think highly of your restaurant. Learn more about our product KritiQ to take care of the reputation management requirements for your restaurant business.

Emphasize on customer reviews in order to enhance customer experience as a tip to create a powerful brand online

Tip 4: Make It Easier To Place An Order 

One more thing you can do to enhance the customer experience is making your online menu and shopping cart as easy as possible. A bad online ordering experience does zero for your website’s overall usability. Don’t dissipate your customers’ time by asking for too much information or by asking for too many item confirmations before the ultimate purchase. Discard the pop-ups and don’t incorporate too many additional offers. Have a look at our product Foodkonnekt-our integrated solution that can help you to add an additional revenue source while expanding your customer base.

Make it easier to place an order on your website

Wrap Up:

The grounds of any strong and successful restaurant begins with providing exceptional customer service. Whether you are a large chain restaurant or a small business, going above and beyond with your customers is a tactic that will drive repeat customers and thrust your revenue today, as well as in the future.

Images by: Rod Long, Jonas Leupe on Unsplash, Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels

Proven Strategies For Increasing Your Restaurant’s Online Orders

Providing the ease of online ordering to your customers can help you generate incremental sales for your restaurant and boost profitability. Besides, it can also help you to expand your reach, improve order accuracy, and help you get over the hassles of taking orders over the phone.

However, in a crowded restaurant space, just adopting an online ordering platform for your restaurant may not cut the mark. You have to work constantly to increase your restaurant’s online orders by making the platform more visible and making the online ordering experience smooth for your customers. Here are a few strategies for increasing your restaurant’s online orders. We can categorize these strategies into three groups.

What are the advantages of online ordering for your restaurant?

1. Online Ordering drives revenue: You can reach more customers online. The average order value of online orders is higher than in-store orders
2. Free up your Employees to provide a superior customer experience. Taking orders over the phone interferes with in-store services especially during rush hours and over the weekends. With an online ordering solution, employees do not waste time taking orders over the phone. 
3. Improves Order Accuracy: Disturbances while taking orders over the phone, can result in incorrect orders. On an online ordering solution, customers can easily enter the orders to the last detail improving order accuracy.
4. Losing customers: You will no longer lose orders during rush hours/ weekends due to busy phone lines.
5. Provide accurate estimates of pick-up and delivery times.

What features should you be looking for in an Online ordering Solution?

1. Ability to work across different browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Bing.
2. Availability on Mobile Platform
3. Multiple Payment Options including wallets like Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
4. PoS integrations

What are benefits of having a native online ordering solution for your restaurant?

1. Full Control Over Customer Experience
2. An extension of your brand identity: You can customize your online ordering platform to align with your brand identity; upload food pictures, add specials and offers, make instant and real-time changes to your menu.
3. Collect Crucial Customer Data to create customized experiences, and personalize your marketing messages and encourage repeat visits. Further by integrating your loyalty program to your online ordering solution, you can ensure that your loyalty customers can redeem their offers and coupons on online orders.
4. Keep Your Profits: By opting for an in-house solution, you can do away with commission charged by third party services on each order. All profits from online orders are your own.

How to increase your revenues with online ordering?

1. Native Online Ordering Platform
2. Optimize User Experience On Your Website and Online Ordering Platform:
3. Optimise your menu 
4. Provide Multiple Ways To Order
5. Make it easy to reorder Ensure that your online ordering system has the ability to save previous orders based on the timings, delivery address, and card information.
6. Offer Delivery
7. Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the checkout counter.
8. Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
9. Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
10. Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
11. Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
12. You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
13. Online promotions: If you are running any offer exclusively for promoting Online Orders, you must ensure that you are posting about these offers on your networks or running ads to reach a larger audience
14. Run contests to promote online Orders.

Technology Parameters for increasing your Restaurant’s Online Orders

1. Native Online Ordering Platform

Until a few years ago, only large restaurant chains could afford sophisticated software and global data infrastructure for the benefit of their business. However, the breakthroughs in cloud computing have now made these services accessible even to small family-owned restaurants.

There are several different solutions out there from third-party online ordering solution that can be integrated with your POS to the restaurant point of sale systems that have their own integrated restaurant online ordering software.

You can select a platform that meets your requirements. Here are a few things you should consider while building your native online ordering platform.

  1. Ability to work across different browsers: Your online ordering platform should work seamlessly across different browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Bing.
  2. Availability on Mobile Platform: The millennial customers prefer to order food-on-the-go using their mobile phones. So, it becomes important to ensure that your online ordering platform is optimized for mobile screens.
  3. Multiple Payment Options: Your online ordering system must have the ability to accept multiple payment options including wallets like Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
  4. PoS integrations With the advent of AI, smart online ordering options would become the norm of the day. POS integrations make it easier to automatically process orders accepted from the Online Ordering platform.

FoodKonnekt Online Ordering is one such solution that is available absolutely free of cost to restaurants. It is integrated with several PoS platforms including Clover, Focus PoS, FoodTronix and can be fully customized to align with your brand identity.

Foodkonnekt Online Ordering Platform: Increasing your restaurant's Online Orders

2. Consider a Mobile App for your Restaurant:

With the rapid advances in technology, developing an app for your restaurant is no longer going to burn a hole in your pocket. There are several benefits to having an independent app for your restaurant. An app makes it easier for you to promote offers and deals, or to roll out personalized offers based on customer’s purchase history to boost online-orders. It is also much easier to administer a loyalty program through a dedicated app.

However, regular maintenance and updates of a mobile app require additional resources in terms of time and money. Add to that the concerns associated with acquiring and retaining customers on your app, which may require consistent marketing efforts. So, you should consider the return on investment in the long-run before investing in an app.

Subway Online Ordering:Increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Subway App Promotes Online Ordering

Optimize User Experience

Competition in a crowded market space provides customers with a wide array of choices. This has led to increased emphasis on user interface/user experience. A customer would not spend more than 2 minutes on your website/ online ordering platform if he/she does not find it appealing, intuitive and easy to use.

1. Optimize User Experience On Your Website

Optimize User Experience on website for increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Wendy’s website is optimized for different devices
  1. The user experience on your website should be seamless across multiple devices. However, you would want to prioritize the mobile part of the user experience as the majority of the traffic comes from there.
  2. Your “Menu” should be easily accessible from the homepage of your website.
  3. The Order Online Button should appear prominently on the header of each page.
  4. Your Menu should feature good quality pictures of menu items with a description and price.
  5. Add to Cart options on the menu can make it easier for customers to save their preferences.
  6. Having a consistent menu across all platforms is another feature that you want to focus on to enhance the customer experience. Integration with POS should ensure that once an item is added on PoS the same should be automatically reflected on the online ordering platform.
Domino's Website
The Order Online Button appears prominently on the header of Domino’s Homepage
Domino's Menu Page: Optimize your website for increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Domino’s provides the Order Now Button below each menu item
to make it easier to place an order

2. Optimize User Experience On Your Online Ordering Platform:

  1. Ensure that your online ordering system has the ability to save previous orders based on the timings, delivery address, and card information.
  2. Pop-up or menu-suggestions are a good way to draw attention to new menu items.
  3. The ability to keep track of the order status enhances user experience. Domino’s, for instance, enables customers to see where their order is in the delivery lifecycle.

3. Provide Multiple Ways To Order

In the digital age, where every other brand is vying for customers’ attention, you would need a broader strategy to stay on the top of your customer’s mind. One way to do this is by offering them the convenience of online ordering via multiple platforms – website, mobile, social media, voice assistants (Alexa, Google home, etc). The use of the latest cloud-based technologies will enable this kind of transition. 

Popular Brands like Dominos and Pizza Hut are already using technology to push online orders on various platforms. Take a look at all the ways you can now order a pizza from Domino’s

  • Text: If you have “Easy Order” set up in your Domino’s app account, you can order a pizza by texting a pizza emoji to DPIZZA (374992)
  • SmartWatch: If you own an Android Wear or Apple Watch, you can “Easy Order” your pizza from Domino’s. You can also schedule a pizza delivery.
  • Smart Car: If your Ford vehicle is equipped with the technology, you can order pizza on your way home via the Domino’s app Ford SYNC AppLink.
  • Twitter: You can also order your Pizza from Domino’s by tweeting #EasyOrder or sending pizza emoji to @Dominos via direct message.
  • Amazon Prime Now: If you’re using Amazon Prime Now services—you can order pizza from not just major brands but also from participating vendors in your local area.
  • Amazon Echo: With the Domino’s Skill for the Echo, you can reorder your last order, place an Easy Order, or track your order.

4. Offer Delivery

There is no denying the convenience of having food delivered to your doorstep. Most customers say they prefer to order online from restaurants that offer delivery. Offering delivery services can help you increase your restaurant’s online orders.

However, providing delivery services may not be the easiest thing to do. It involves a significant amount of logistics and can be a drain on resources. A good way to check if the benefits of providing delivery outweigh the costs is to run test cases in your local area for a stipulated time and work out the logistics before going for full-scale delivery service.

Tying up with third-party delivery services can also help you to take care of the delivery aspects. There is a lot of data to support that third-party delivery services can bring incremental sales for restaurants, however, there are costs associated with such services that you must factor in to adjudge the real value they bring to your business.

Once you have made the decision to go ahead with delivery, you should ensure that provide a great experience to keep your customers coming back.

Chipotle offering delivery: Offer delivery for increasing Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Chipotle Promotes Delivery Services on its Website

Here are a few tips that could help you to optimize the delivery experience:

  • Your delivery menus should ideally have only those food items that deliver well.
  • Food Packaging: You would want to ensure that food is packaged in proper containers so that it does not spill and get messed in the containers.
  • Invest in insulated food bags that keep hot items warm and cool items cool.
  • Ensure that you include add-ons such as sauces, dips, seasoning, paper napkins, and bio-degradable cutlery.
  • You could consider apps that help you to assign the delivery orders to your riders based on their availability and location. These apps can also help you track the location of the delivery person and the average time is taken to deliver an order.

Right Marketing to Increase Your Restaurant’s Online Orders

Promoting your online ordering platform consistently can help you reach more customers to increase your restaurant’s online orders.

In-Store Messaging:

In-store promotions should be a major part of your strategy to reach your regular customers and make them aware that they can order from your restaurant from the convenience of their homes.

In-store promotions to increase Your Restaurant's Online Orders
Pizza Hut Promotes Online Ordering through Offers
  1. Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the check out counter.
  2. Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
  3. Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
  4. Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
  5. Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
  6. You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
  7. If you don’t already have one, you should consider launching a loyalty program to promote your online ordering platform. Regular customers are your restaurant brand ambassadors and account for a major part of your sales.  Loyalty programs are an easy way to keep these customers returning to your restaurant and build a loyal customer base. They are also an ideal target to promote your online ordering platform.
In-store promotions
Pizza Hut Runs Offers Exclusive to Online Orders

Online Promotions

Social Media

Social Media platforms can be a great tool to reach your customers. Besides regular posts promoting your online ordering link, you should also consider advertising to reach your target audience on these networks.

Online Promotions to increase online orders
Papa John’s Promotes Online Ordering Through Social Media Posts

Here are a few other tips:

  • Replace the Call Now Button On Your Facebook Page with a Shop Now Button which leads customers directly to your Online Ordering Platform.
  • Remember to include the link to your Online Ordering Platform On Your Instagram Bio.
  • Instead of leading people to your Website from your twitter profile, send them directly to your online ordering page.
  • If you are running any offer exclusively for promoting Online Orders, you must ensure that you are posting about these offers on your networks or running ads to reach a larger audience
  • Run contests to promote online Orders.
Chipotle promotes delivery on it's Facebook Page to increase online orders
Chipotle promotes delivery on it’s Facebook Page

Online Presence

  • GMB Listing: Promote your online order link on your GMB page
  • Reputation Management: Before ordering food from any restaurant, customers usually check the website and review sites like TripAdvisor to get an idea of the quality of food and services. Ensure that your website is updated regularly and you have a well-organized system of monitoring and replying to reviews.

You may have to invest some time to promote your online ordering service in its initial days, but once it has taken off you can sit back and reap its benefits over the long run.

Increase Your Restaurant Revenues with FoodKonnekt Online Ordering

How to Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant?

Are you looking for a place to eat or a plumber maybe? In the good old days, you may have asked your neighbors or friends for recommendations! Now, you have a personal assistant – “Google” at your fingertips. Each day millions of people are searching on Google for places to eat, nearby salons, plumbers and every other imaginable thing. Google provides businesses a great opportunity to meet their target audience right where they are looking for them- A Google My Business Listing.

Google My Business is completely free to you. It can help boost the local SEO of your website by showing it in local searches. If you have not claimed and optimized your Google My Business listing yet, you are missing out on substantial traffic.

In this article, we will show you how to create and Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant to reach more customers.

Creating  a Google My Business Listing

First off, search for your Business on Google to ensure that it is not already listed on GMB. If your business has been around for a while, chances are that it is already listed on GMB and you just need to claim it. On the other hand, if you’ve used Google tools such as Google Places or Google+ Pages in the past, you would have automatically upgraded to Google My Business.

To claim your business, head over to https://business.google.com/create and enter your Business Name. If the listing has already been created, GMB will show you the following message, you can use any of the options listed here to claim your Business.

Once successfully claimed, you can start optimizing and managing your GMB page.

If you do not already have a GMB listing you would need to Create one

Step 1: Head over to google.com/business, it will prompt you to log in to your google account. Login with your Business account. Once you have logged in, select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner

Step 2: Enter your business name.

Creating your Google My Business Listing

Step 3: Business address

Selecting the location- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Step 4: Select Delivery Area

If you deliver your goods and services to your customers’ locations, check the box “Yes, I also serve them outside my location.” You can also add the delivery area.

Selecting Service Area- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Step 6: Choose your business category. 

Step 7: Add your business phone number or website.

Ways to Verify your Business- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Step 8: Choose a verification option.

Verifying your Business- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

How to Verify Your Business on Google

There are several ways to verify your GMB listing:

  • By postcard
  • By phone
  • By email
  • Instant verification
  • Bulk verification

Postcard Verification

If you are opting for this method make sure your business address is correct. Do not make any changes in the business name or address before you receive your code as that could impede the verification process. The postcard should normally reach you in five days, however, if your postcard does not reach you, you can request a new code by signing in to Google My Business and clicking on “Request another code” Once you receive the code, login to GMB and select the listing you want to verify and enter the code to verify your account.

Phone verification

Google allows certain businesses to verify their location by phone. This option will appear for you only if you are eligible. Ensure that you have entered the correct phone number before you select this option. Enter the verification code received via text message to verify your account. 

Email verification

You can also choose to “Verify by email.” In this case, google sends a verification email to your registered email id. All you need to do is click the verification button in the email.

Instant verification

If your business has already been verified with Google Search Console, Google will instantly verify your GMB listing.

Bulk verification

If you own more than 10 locations for the same business you might be eligible for bulk verification. Learn more about Bulk Verification.

Once your GMB page has been verified you can start optimizing your profile. Navigate to the left-hand menu and click on Info. Here you can edit the information under each heading/subheading by clicking on the pencil icon

Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

1. Ensure your Business information is accurate and up-to-date

  •  Name
  • Address including Pincode
  • Service Areas: Let your customers know whether you provide delivery or other services. In this section, you can also provide information regarding the distance or area in which you provide these services. 
  • Provide Accurate Business Operating Hours: Ensure that you update this info on a regular basis- to keep your customers up-to-date on holidays any other changes in operating hours.
Updating NAP Info - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant
  • Phone Number: (Preferably a Local Number)
  • Website: In addition to your website, restaurants can also provide the links to their Menu, Order ahead or reservation pages.
  • Menu/Services: GMB provides the option of adding your menu/services to your GMB listing. It allows you to list out your menu/services so that your customers can see what your business has to offer directly on Google without having to navigate to your website. This feature is only available for food and drink, health, beauty, and other services businesses that don’t have a third-party “menu” link. 
NAP Info - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant
  • Attributes:  In this section, you can provide detailed information about the services available at your business. If you are a restaurant, you can provide information about the various amenities that your restaurant provides including dining options, acceptable modes of payment, other things which customers can expect at your restaurants such as kids menu, salad bar, Hallal food, and the like. 
Business Info - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant
  • Description – add a short description of your business.

The information that you provide on your GMB page should be consistent with that on your website. You can edit and update this information at any time by logging into your GMB account and navigating to the Info tab.

2. Add Photos and Videos

According to Google, Businesses with photos receive 35 percent more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos. Photos help you to showcase the best of your business- it gives potential customers a vivid idea of what to expect from your business. Remember the instances, when you are searching for a new place to eat on Google, don’t you like take a look at the interiors of the restaurant to get a better idea of what to expect in terms ambiance or the photos of food to make a fair estimate of the kind of food to expect. Your customers looking for the same.

Good pictures can make or break your business. GMB allows you to upload different kinds of photos of your business to help increase the reach and visibility of your business and is one of the essential steps to optimize Google My Business Listing for your restaurant.

Logo image: Your logo is an important part of your brand identity. Google recommends that you upload your brand’s logo on your GMB listing.

Cover photo: Your cover photo could be anything that fosters your brand image, from a picture of your products to the interiors of your establishment, you could even update your cover image from time to time to showcase the latest offers and deals.

Additional photos: Google allows you to upload additional Pictures of your Business. This could include pictures of your products or interiors and exteriors of your shop or business place.

Videos: You can also add short videos up to 30 seconds. 

All information that you have updated on your page is verified by Google and may take up to 3 days to be published. Your GMB listing is now complete and ready for the world.

Monitor Regularly

However, your task is not complete, you must realize that anyone can suggest a change or edit to your business listing. Anyone who searches for your business/or business like yours online can see the “suggest an edit” option marked in the picture below.

Monitoring Regularly - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

By clicking on this option they can edit any business information they want to. And if you do not monitor your page regularly, these changes can go live without your approval. When these changes are made, Google sends out emails to the people managing your Google My Business account, but most account managers claim that they never receive notifications about changes to their listing. So, how do you monitor these– Log in to your  GMB page. On the left-hand menu, navigate to manage locations listed towards the bottom. When you click on it- you will be lead to the page below.

Managing Locations - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Click on review updates to see the updates or edits made to your page.

Business information - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

The changes are highlighted in red- You can confirm these or edit them from here.

Also, it’s important to note that Google crowdsources information about your business by allowing people to answer questions. They can simply click on the “Know this place – answer quick questions” To answer these.

GMB listing - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Now, it is all good if a genuine customer answers these questions, but there have been instances when people with malicious intent or your competitor may choose to provide incorrect information that may harm your business.  Google, nevertheless, encourages this type of user-generated content as they feel this helps them in providing them a more complete business profile. The only way to regulate these unauthorized changes is to log in to your GMB page regularly and keep an eye on these changes.

Some Additional Features You Should be Using

a. Messaging

Your GMB page provides a great way to connect directly with people interested in your business via Messaging.  Your customers can send direct messages to your business via this platform, you can respond to their queries and send them updates on offers and deals. Currently, this service is only available in select countries to only certain types of businesses. 

To activate this download the GMB app  and open it

If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage.

  1. Tap Customers.
  2. Tap Message- Tap Turn on to activate.

Once activated – you can see all messages under Customers > Messages 

For more information on this click here.

b. Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers is another great feature on your GMB listing. Q&A allows people to ask questions about your business and you can answer those questions, but so can any other person. Chances are that when the answers are provided by a customer or any other person, the information may be incorrect or incomplete. But ironically, most of these questions are being answered by customers rather than business owners. The simple reason for this is that business owners are unaware that these questions being asked about their establishment. There are no notifications on your Google My Business dashboard or the GMB app letting you know that there are new questions to be answered. However, there are a few ways to find these questions:

  • Search for your business on a desktop/ laptop and see if there are new questions. 
  • Install Google Maps on your phone, log in and check for questions/notifications.
  • Search for your business on a mobile browser and check if you have new questions that need to be answered.
QnA - Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant
Qn A

A great way to use this feature is to prepare a list of FAQs about your business and add them to your GMB listing- this would help in providing all essential and correct information about your business to your customers.

P.S. Google has recently started sending out email notifications letting you know that a new question has been asked. 

c. Booking Button Feature

Google’s Booking button feature can help your customers book an appointment with your business directly from your Google My Business listing. To enable the booking button, choose and sign up with one of their scheduling providers. You can receive bookings through Google once your scheduling account is linked to your Google My Business account. (This might take a week after you sign-up).

If you already use a scheduling provider, the booking button is automatically updated on your GMB listing. You can see your booking history with that provider under the bookings tab in your Google My Business account.

Another area of concern for businesses is that sometimes a booking or ordering ling appear automatically on their GMB listing in Google search and Google Maps. For instance, if you are a restaurant owner- you would suddenly see a Doordash – link on your profile which you have not added- Here’s what Google has to say about these links:

Why some links appear automatically

Booking Button- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

d. Manage & Respond to Customer Reviews

Your customers can leave reviews for your business on Google. These appear on your GMB page under the reviews tab. These reviews also appear on the knowledge panel when a customer searches for your business on google or google maps. Most people searching for your business online would go through these reviews before making a decision to purchase from you. So it becomes important to respond to both positive and negative reviews to engage your customers and show them that you value their feedback.

Google Reviews- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews for your business.

Answering Reviews- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

e. GMB posts

Google provides you a great opportunity to update your customers with the latest and the greatest at your establishment via GMB posts. Your customers can view your latest posts on the knowledge panel when they search for your business on google. You can create offers, events or general posts showcasing your products.

GMB posts- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant
Example GMB posts- Optimize Google My Business Listing for your Restaurant

Wrap Up

Here we have rounded up some of the interesting features available to you on your GMB page and strategies to optimize Google My Business Listing for your restaurant you make the most of them.

Are Third-Party Delivery Services Good for your Restaurant?

In an era where convenience takes precedence overall, more and more customers are choosing to order food from restaurants that offer delivery. To keep up with customer expectations, restaurants are under pressure to provide a seamless delivery experience.

However, the cost associated with setting up in-house delivery is significant. On the other hand, third-party delivery services, which seem like the smart choice in this scenario, are extracting hefty commissions. Most restaurant owners are in a  dilemma over the in-house versus third-party delivery debate. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of both these options to help you choose better.

In-House Delivery

In-house delivery requires restaurants to hire a dedicated delivery staff and preferably their own fleet of vehicles to deliver food to customers.

Pros

a. Control over the Customer Experience

Setting up your own delivery services allows you to control the entire delivery experience, including the timeline or any additional benefits you may want to offer to your customers.

b. Customer Engagement:

By offering in-house delivery, you have a greater opportunity to engage directly with your customers and immediately resolve any issues that may crop up in the delivery process.

c. Customer Data:

If your customers are placing their orders directly through your website or app, you have access to all relevant data for these customers, which helps you to strategize and build on your future marketing plans.

d. Builds Brand loyalty:

When a customer uses your website or app to order, the customers are engaging directly with your brand. This helps you to build brand loyalty in the long run.

Cons

a. High Costs:

The costs required to set up and maintain your own delivery fleet can be quite high.

b. Logistical Concerns:

Offering a smooth in-house delivery experience requires a lot of effort in terms of people, time, and resources, and management of the delivery drivers.

c. Responsibility:

If anything goes wrong with the delivery experience, such as a delay in delivery orders or food not reaching the customers in the right state- your brand is directly affected, there can be no blame-shifting in this case.

Third-Party Delivery

As an alternative, you could outsource the entire delivery service to another company. You can tie up with companies like GrubHub, Doordash, and Ubereats to take care of processing orders and delivering food to customers on behalf of your restaurant.

With 60 percent of U.S. consumers ordering delivery or takeout once a week, the third-party delivery market is expected to grow to a value of $24.5 billion by 2022.

Pros

a. Convenience:

Opting for third-party delivery services is definitely the more convenient way of delivering food to your customers as it outsources the entire gamut of logistical concerns related to processing orders and delivering food on time to another company.

b. New Customers

57 percent of millennials claim that they prefer food to be delivered by restaurants so they can stay home to watch movies and TV shows. If you are not offering delivery, you are missing out on these customers.

By tying up with the third-party delivery services you gain access to a much wider audience native to these apps. Many customers who may have previously shied away from ordering from your restaurant due to the nonavailability of delivery services would now be ready to order from you. In many cases, customers who get a taste of your food through these online orders may choose to visit your location at a later stage.

c. Cut Down on Costs

By opting for a third-party delivery service, you can save a significant amount of costs required for setting up and maintenance of the delivery fleet.

d. Increase in Sales

60 percent of restaurant owners claim that offering delivery services has generated incremental sales. Offering your menu on these platforms introduces your brand to a wider set of audience, thereby increasing the average number of online orders your restaurant receives.

e. Better Allocation of Resources

Once you have outsourced delivery, you have more time and resources on your hands to focus on the quality of food and services that you bring to the table. 

f. Marketing and Advertising

Most third-party delivery companies provide advertising and marketing for restaurants on their app for an additional cost. You no longer have to worry about devising strategies to reach new customers, as these services take care of the same.

Cons

a. Loss of Control Over Customer Experience

By opting to outsource deliveries to a third-party, you lose control over several aspects of the customer experience. Factors such as traffic, an excessive number of orders, the state in which the food is delivered can affect your brand reputation.

Several restaurants have complained of untrained delivery staff hired by third-party delivery services. There have been several reported incidents of delivery drivers disrupting the normal functioning of the restaurants during pick-ups, or sour behavior with the customers. 

b. Declining Revenues

In the long run, many restaurants claim that in spite of the increase in the number of online orders received per month, they are witnessing a decline in their profits due to the high margin charged by these services on every order placed through their app.

Your restaurant may not be equipped to handle the increased number of orders that you are likely to receive via these apps. To meet the demand and to ensure the smooth operation of your in-store services, you may have to handle additional staff. There are several such administrative costs that may arise in the long run, which impinge on your margins.

c. A Decline in Brand loyalty

When a customer orders from your restaurant via these apps, there is no direct engagement between these customers and your restaurant.  So, effectively customers who are ordering from your restaurant via the app become customers of the app or the service. They owe their loyalty to the app instead of your restaurant. According to a survey, 43 percent of restaurant professionals said they believe third-party apps hamper the direct relationship between a restaurant and its customers. 

d. Loss of Customer Data

Most third-party delivery services in the restaurant industry are not sharing customer data with the restaurants. Restaurants no longer have any means to reach these customers directly or build on their marketing strategies to retain these customers in the future.

e. Vulnerable to Competition

Once you make your restaurant available on these apps, your brand is competing with all the restaurants in the vicinity that offer similar food. So a customer will choose to order from you only if you are at the top of your game.

Further, your restaurant may not appear at the top of search results on third-party apps, in spite of having higher ratings, as ranking on these apps is also determined by the amount you are paying to these services.

Most of the third-party delivery services are big companies with huge marketing budgets. In order to promote their app, they are offering huge offers and discounts on orders placed through their app. Individual restaurants may not be able to compete with these offers, further discouraging customers to order directly from them. Many restaurant owners feel it’s similar to losing your customers to the app.

Wrap-up

When faced with the question of whether to opt for a third-party delivery company or set up your own,  you must consider all the above-mentioned factors before deciding what would work best for you. A detailed cost-benefit analysis with a long term perspective- will help you make a better decision.

Email Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant

Email marketing refers to sending out emails to promote your business. Restaurant Email marketing has been around for quite some time and is being successfully used by businesses to send updates about the brand, dole out promotions, offer coupons, and remain in touch with new and existing customers.

Some marketers erroneously believe that restaurant email marketing has lost its relevance with the introduction of new mediums to reach out to the customers. However, the fact remains that email marketing has evolved and remains an incredibly important marketing tool, and having clearly email marketing strategies for your restaurant can help you get better returns from your campaigns.

Here are some interesting stats to turn you into an email marketing enthusiast:

  • At least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis.
  • Data from Marketing Sherpa says that 72 percent of consumers prefer email as their source of business communication.
  • The average spend of customers buying products marketed through email is  138% more than those who do not receive email offers.
  • According to Optinmonster, only  15% of the marketing budget spent on email marketing, yields an ROI that is 28% higher than digital marketing.

Email Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant

Emails are a great medium to reach out and stay in constant contact with your customers. In fact, there are numerous creative ways in which you can use emails to send out the right marketing message to your restaurant’s customers. Here we have listed a few of those.

1. Get the Word Out

You are pretty excited about the new dish that you have just introduced to your menu. Now, you are dying to know how your customers receive this new introduction. Sending them an introductory offer to try the new dish through an email can help you get the word out.  Sending exclusive invites to longtime patrons makes them feel like privileged insiders and helps in building long-term bonds.

Pizza hut Emailer- Email Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant

2. Promote Offers/Special Days

Most restaurants have offers or deals marking special days or holidays. Perhaps, you have a planned a special for Fathers on the occasion of Father’s day or you are running deals on each day of the Pizza Month in October. You could send updates on these offers and promotions to your customers.

A monthly newsletter is a great way of letting your customers know about all the offers they can avail of in any given month. A follow-up email just a few days prior to the event or promotion can be sent out as a reminder to help them make the most of the offer.

BackYard Burgers Emailer- Email Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant

3. Fundraisers

Many restaurants regularly host fundraisers on behalf of local organizations as a part of their community-building initiative. Sharing the details of such events with your regular customers can help you to increase participation in these events while sending out the message that you as a brand care for the community.
Chipotle Emailer- Email Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant

4. Behind the Scene Stories

Every communication that you send out to your customers does not necessarily need to sell a product. You can add value by sending out curated content- every once in a while. It could be a story from your restaurant- a gesture by a customer that touched your heart, or an account of how and where you source your raw materials, you can even share strategies that you follow at your restaurant to manage waste. In fact, you can share anything that you feel may be of interest to your customers.

5. Share a Recipe

Every once in a while, you can share the recipe of a popular dish on your menu. This is a great way to open a line of communication with your customers. You can invite your customers to pour suggestions on how they would modify the recipe if they were to prepare the same at home. You can even go ahead and share some of these interesting ideas on social media.

6. Promote Restaurant Services

There are so many services that your restaurant may be offering which your customers may or may not be aware of. You can create a series of emails to help them use these facilities better.

For instance, reservations- where and how they can reserve a table at your restaurant.

Online ordering- You maybe be taking orders on-call or orders placed on your website or you may have tied up with third-party online ordering services. Are your customers aware of all the ways in which they can place an order? Do they know how easy it is to pay for these orders? These are questions that you can deal with in these emails.

Delivery- In many cases, the customers are not aware that there favorite eating joint offers delivery, or how far do they offer delivery, what are the charges. An email listing out all the possible FAQs could be very helpful.

7. Promote your Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a great way to retain existing customers. The ground staff in your restaurant has very little opportunity to explain the nuances and benefits of the program to store visitors. Email provides you a great medium to send out details of the program to your customers from sign-up to reward redemption.

8. Send out Personalized Offers

Emails offer your endless opportunities to send out personalized offers to your customers. Personalized emails have a much higher conversion rate. You can segment customers based on 

  • Previous purchase history
  • Location
  • Kind of coupons they usually redeem
  • Offers that interest them most
  • Open Rate
  • Dormant/ Active Customers
  • Abandoned Carts

These are just a few examples. Depending on the nature of your restaurant and the kind of offer you have in mind you can segregate customers who you feel would be interested in the particular offer you are sending out.

Chipotle Personalized Emailer- Email Marketing Strategies for your Restaurant

9. Collect Feedback

You bring great food to the table, offer exceptional services and believe that are you are doing your best. But no successful business can do without customer feedback. Emails are a great way to collect feedback. You can ask for customers feedback on specific services like online orders, delivery or more general feedback about the food and services at your store.

10. Bday emails

Retaining your current customers is up to 7x cheaper than acquiring new ones. Did you know that Birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails and on an average, they generate a 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails?

Running a birthday campaign can help you bolster engagement with your customers. You can plan and set up a campaign to collect birthdays by asking your customers to sign up on your website, or you can even embed a form on social media sites like Facebook to collect such data. Once you have collected this data, use it to set up an automated campaign through MailChimp or any other application to send out specials to your customers on their birthdays.

11. Retarget Website Visitors

You have invested a lot of effort and money in building a great website and prompting customers to visit your website or app. But are you following up with these visitors?

You may have data on what pages your customers are visiting where they are dropping off, but are you putting this data to use?

Adding a pop-up form to your website nudging customers to subscribe to your newsletter helps you keeping a track of these visitors and once you have the list, you can use it to market to these customers.

Wrap Up

Email Marketing is the fastest, easiest, and most inexpensive way to reach customers. We would love to know what strategies are you using to get more out of your Email Campaigns.

Everything You Need To Know About Chatbots For Your Restaurants

What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are programs built to automatically engage with the customers visiting your website or social media pages. These bots are programmed to send out automated replies in response to customer queries.

Types of Chatbots:

1. Driven by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence:

This type of chatbot understands natural language and commands and uses machine learning to adapt responses in accordance with the context.

2. Keyword based chatbots

These are driven by a set of predetermined answers that are triggered in response to certain keywords. They rely on a large database of frequently asked questions to produce the best response and therefore may not be correct 100% of the times.

Your customers don’t have to download another app to use these chatbots. They can be accessed via existing chat apps such as Facebook Messenger , Whatsapp or website chat windows  to receive and respond to messages.

Shake Shack- Chatbots For Your Restaurants

Chatbots have been around for quite some time. However with the recent advances in natural language processing and AI, Chatbot technology has grown robust enough to meet the challenges of modern marketing.

According to a drift survey customers use chatbots for a number of purposes such as

  • To get a quick answer to questions
  • To resolve a complaint or problem
  • To get a more detailed answer to a query
  • Finding a human customer service representative

However, Chatbots aren’t just a handy tool for your customers, they’re also great for your business.

Benefits of Chatbots

1. Save Time & Money

Research from Sprout Social shows that the number of social messages requiring a response from a brand increased by 18% from 2015 to 2016.

The millennial customers expects brands to be available 24×7 to answer questions, clear doubts and guide them through the purchase journey. Providing around the clock customer support requires huge investment in terms of time and resources, which may not always be feasible. By automating conversations you could save time and money that can then be allocated to other areas that require your attention.

2. Nurture Customers

Every customer visiting your restaurant’s website or social media pages may not have an intention to buy. He may be just checking on offers or perusing through the menu.

You can program your chatbot to engage with these customers, ask questions to guide them in the right direction, share menus, pricing , or collect their email ids.  Providing quick responses and resolving queries helps you to create a better user experience.

3. Generate Sales

You can use chatbots to connect directly to all your customers sending them personalized offers and recommendation in accordance with their purchase history.

Many popular restaurant chains  are successfully using chatbots to promote offers and discounts, limited time deals or loyalty privileges. They can also be used to allow your customers to make reservations or order ahead.

4. Provide ‘After Hours’ Support

According to data from Drift, most people use chatbots get quick answers to questions. Your customers can get the information they are looking for via these chatbots chatbot even when your business is closed.

5. Generate Leads

You can use Chatbots to nurture prospects and gathers email addresses of prospective customers, which can be used for your future marketing campaigns.

GETTING STARTED WITH CHATBOTS

Taco bell- Chatbots For Your Restaurants
Taco Bot By Taco bell Made Online Ordering a Breeze

There are a few ways in which you can get a Chatbot for your restaurant

1. Building your own bot:

Coding  your own chatbot, be it from scratch or using NLP Platforms involves a huge investment in terms of time and a steep learning curve. You would also need  prior knowledge of coding and natural language processing.

Use DIY platforms for building a bot –

There are some platforms which provide you with Drag ‘n’ Drop features to build chatbots without any coding.

Hire An agency:

You can hire an agency to create a fully functional chatbot for you.

Whichever method you choose, there are several other aspects which require your attention before roll out your restaurant’s chatbot.

2. Preparing to Launch

a. Define Your Goal

Spend time at the onset to define the goals you are looking to achieve from the chatbot. It could range from

  • Engaging your customers
  • Resolving customer service issues
  • Promoting menu items, offers and deals
  • Acquiring new customers

Having clear goals in mind helps you to develop a strategy and build out a unique experience.

Subway- Chatbots For Your Restaurants
Subway’s order ahead bot on Facebook Messenger

b. Choose Platforms to Leverage

Consider the channels you would like to take your programs live on. The answer to this would depend on your goals and also which channel in your opinion could provide you with the maximum leverage

Social Media Channels

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter Direct Message
  • Whatsapp messenger

You can check your Facebook and Twitter insights to get an idea of how many of your audiences visit these platforms regularly. Also, consider how many of your followers are on Facebook Messenger and how they are using the channel. You should also check on the audience demographics on each of these channels. 

Your Website

Check your website analytics to see where you get maximum visitors. What are these visitors doing on your site. What kind of assistance or experience could you offer to these visitors.

All these metrics will help you to decide which platform to leverage and what kind of communication(Via Your Chatbot) would be appropriate on that channel.

c. Build Your Content Strategy

Once you have finalized your goals and the platform you plan to employ, you can start working on the experience you want to offer to your customers.

Think about what questions customers are likely to ask your chatbot.  Think of multiple responses to every question. Build flows for each turn a  conversation could take- think about the kind of information you would like to disseminate through these conversations, such as information about offers or deals, your loyalty program, specials, and the like. Figure out how you can take a prospective conversation in the intended direction while fully satisfying customer needs. 

Pizza Hut- Chatbots For Your Restaurants
Pizza Hut”s Bot On FB Messenger allows you to order just by sending an emoji

d. Craft Your Bot’s Voice 

Your chatbot is ultimately another extension of your brand. Ensure that its voice and personality is aligned to your brand image. Many restaurant give a name to their bot to humanize the whole experience.

Laying down these basics at the onset facilitates the bot building process and helps you provide a better customer experience.
Wingstop- Chatbots For Your Restaurants
Wingstop launched its Bot both on Facebook and Twitter

BEST PRACTICES

a. Maintain Transparency: Let your customers know they’re chatting with a bot so they do not feel misled at a later stage.

b. Call-To-Action Buttons:Use CTAs to drive users to a specific goal such as leading them to your online ordering page or sharing their experience with friends on social networks.

c. Always Offer a Way to Exit : Give your customers the option to switch over to a human assistant at any time they wish to.

d. Gather Customer Feedback: Don’t forget to ask your customers whether they enjoyed the interaction with your chatbot and the improvements they would like to see.

e. Promote your bot: The success of your chatbot would depend on how well you promote it. Go all out on letting your customers know that you are offering them a exciting new way to interact with your brand.

Wrap Up

Like all other marketing initiatives, you would need to monitor and analyze the performance of your chatbot in the long-run and look for ways in which you could improve customer experience on your Bot.

How to Use Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant?

Why send a birthday email?

Birthday email could be an interesting way to engage with your customers. The great thing about setting up a birthday email campaign that it requires very little effort and investment on your part while yielding great dividends. Once you’ve set up the process, the system requires only occasional intervention from your side.

According to Experian data, as compared to promotional emails, birthday emails have:

  • a 481% higher conversion rate
  • Yield 342% higher revenue per message
Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant

Note: If your restaurant is running a full-fledged loyalty program– it may preclude the need for a separate birthday campaign as you may have birthday offers already included as a part of your Loyalty program. However, if you are not up for a full-blown loyalty program- a birthday club is a great idea.

Advantages of Setting up Birthday Emails

Maxim Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant

Building better customer relations

Most customers appreciate a personalized gesture by brands on their special days. So, connecting with your customer on their special day helps you to strengthen brand affinity.

Generate Revenue 

Customers who may not have planned to visit your restaurant may plan a visit after considering the offer.

Engage Inactive Users

Birthday emails are a great way to restart interaction with dormant customers.

Getting Started

1. Collect data to set up your campaign

You need to have birthday data of your customers to send out wishes or an offer on the occasion. So, the first question that comes to mind is how do you go about collecting this information. There can be several ways to do this.

  • Add a subscription form to your restaurant’s monthly newsletter: You can insert a form to subscribe to your birthday club in your monthly newsletter.
  • Embed a registration form or landing page on your website:
  • Embed a form through third-party apps like MailChimp on your Facebook page.
Mkonnekt's Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant

2. Set up an automated email campaign

Once you have the data, you can set up an automated email campaign by using an email service provider of your choice such as MailChimp.

3. What to say in the birthday email?

Tailor your message in accordance with your brand image. Let’s say you run fast-casual restaurant chain – the tone and imagery of your email should be fun and casual.

Prezzo's Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant
  • Keep your message short and crisp
  • Have clear CTAs
  • Personalize the offers that you send out to your customers
  • Include interactive content like videos or gifs
  • Wish your customer: Each year I am excited to receive the personalized birthday wishes from the Facebook team- Isn’t is a great way to build a bond with your customers and make them feel special.
  • A discount coupon encourages your customers to visit your store. Roll our a discount coupon or limited time special offer.
  •  You could also offer other exclusive benefits, such as free delivery on online ordering.

     Best Practices:

  • If you send out a single mail on the day of your customer’s birthday there is a greater chance that your customers might miss the email. The better way to do it is to set up a drip campaign- sending out trigger mails at least a month or 15 days before the actual occasion and build up slowly until the D-day.
 Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant
  • Ideally, you should also set up reminders for customers who fail to open the birthday mail, click on the offer or use the coupon within the stipulated time frame.
  • You could take the conversation to the next level by sending out a feedback email to customers who availed of the coupon. Use this opportunity to promote other offers or services such as online ordering or delivery. You could make it more interesting by adding an exclusive coupon to any offer or event that you are planning to run in the future.
  • Employ multiple channels to your advantage – Follow up your email campaign with SMS reminders at regular intervals.

4. Promote your campaign:

You have set up a campaign to collect customer Birthdays, but how would your customers know about it unless you promote it extensively.

Promote Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant
  • Set up promotional posters in-store
  • Restaurant table tents are perfect for the promotion of such services.
  • Train your staff to encourage customers to register on your website or Facebook page. You could even go the old fashioned way collecting emails and birthdays manually on feedback forms presented to guests at the time of check out.
  • Promote the campaign through your monthly emails or newsletters.
  • You can request customers who leave a positive review to sign up by including a link to the subscription page in your responses.
  • Push the birthday campaign through posts on social media channels.
  • Run ads on relevant networks
  • Induce customers to sign-up by offering a special coupon on registration.

5. Analyze and Optimize

After you have successfully set up your campaign and run it for a few months, it is time to step back and analyze each aspect of your campaign. You should consider metrics such as:

Yo's Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant
  • No of people who have signed up
  • Email open rate
  • Click through rate
  • No. of people who have redeemed the offer
  • How well are the promotions working
  • Do you need to optimize offers or any other aspects to increase conversion rate

Tweak your campaign according to your observations.

Automate this entire process with tools like the Birthday module.

  • Automate the process- You can use tools like Birthday Module to automate the process. Once The setup is installed on your website a tab appears on the home page(or any other page you choose). Customers can click on the tab to enter their details. A similar tab is integrated on your Facebook business page. Your customers can subscribe both on your website and on Facebook.
  • The cycle of automated emails is setup
  • You can choose how many emails you want to send out
  • The time at which these emails would be triggered let’s say-
    • first email 15 days before a customer’s birthday,
    • 2nd email a week before the birthday and so on
    • You can also choose to send out reminders for customers who have not opened the email or clicked o the offer.
  • Automatic SMSs are also sent to the customers at the frequency you choose.
  • Customize offers that you want to send out- including an offer for birthday or sign-up offers
  • All customer data is centrally collected and available for future campaigns.

After the initial setup, the automated process requires minimal intervention on your part.

Additional Tip: Now that you are running a birthday club- it would be great if you could offer a special experience to customers who drop by on their birthdays to avail the coupons. Train your staff to create a special experience for these customers.  Your staff could present a birthday song! You can even Have simple cards printed to give out to any customers visiting your store on their birthday. As a restaurant owner, you may be well aware that it only takes a little effort from your staff to make customers feel special.

9 Ways to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

“Customer engagement is the degree and depth of  BRAND- FOCUSSED interactions a customer chooses to perform.”    The Smile Team

Customer engagement includes any interactions that a customer may have with a brand, and brand-focused interactions that a customer has with his friends, colleagues, or family- this could include seeking reviews, recommendations, brand mentions, feedback, etc. As a restaurant owner and marketer, it becomes equally important to focus on the degree and depth of these interactions as some interactions may be more valuable to your brand than others. For instance, when a customer shares a pic having dinner at your restaurant, it generates much more value for your brand than when he likes one of your posts on social media.

The value of engaging your customer at all touchpoints of the customer journey cannot be stressed enough. Research by Gallop shows that a fully-engaged customer represents 23% more revenue than average. An engaged customer is more likely to buy from your brand, offer feedback, and develop loyalty towards the brand. Companies can increase cross-sell by sending out personalized offers, drive- up revenues, and increase order sizes by having a comprehensive customer engagement strategy in place.  In fact, 44% of customers claim that they are more likely to return to businesses that offer them a personalized experience.

There are no uniform strategies to engage your Customer- what works for one restaurant may not work for another. However, by analyzing all touch points and looking at the ways in which your customers engage with your business at these touchpoints, you can optimize the communication you send out at each of these stages.

Here are a few online and offline strategies that you can use to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

1. Respond to Everyone

 It is important to show your customers that you as a brand are responsive to messages. Set up a process to reply to messages, feedback, or any other kind of communication you receive from your customers.  This could be via e-mail, contact forms on your website, or messages left on social media.

Responding to comments or messages you receive from fans on social media or other platforms makes them feel valued and more likely to engage with your business in future.

2. Contests To Boost Customer Engagement

Another great way to boost engagement with your fans and prospective customers is by holding contests. As a Restaurant owner or a marketer, you may feel reluctant to hold contests or feel that “Everyone is having a contest all the time”.  But, the truth is they work. Everyone enjoys winning, even if it is something small such as a coffee or an appetizer. To get the most out of a contest think of what you want to achieve from running the contest. Having clear goals will help you in coming up with strategies to achieve your targets.

Contests to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

Here are some goals that you could be looking at:

  • Website traffic
  • Brand Awareness
  • Boosting user engagement
  • Building your email list
  • Growing your social media presence
  • Promoting an upcoming product or service
  • Collecting user feedback to improve product quality
  • Converting followers into brand advocates

Consider the platforms on which you would be run the contest and lay down other details like clear terms and conditions, giveaways, duration of the contest etc.

Try to think of  fun, quirky ideas for a contest  

  • In-store Selfie Contest
  • Photo contest featuring your products
  • Hashtag Contest
  • Suggesting a slogan

 Take a look at this contest by Flying pig, which meets three goals

  • Raising Brand awareness
  • Generating UGC
  • Promoting a branded Hashtag
  • Generating opportunities for cross-sell

 

Social Media Contests to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

Promote your Contest

The success of your contest and how much engagement it generates would also depend on how well you promote it across various channels.

  • Post about it on your social media handles or homepage of your own website/blog!
  • Run promoted posts on Social Media Channels
  • Use a branded hashtag to promote your contest
  • Send an email to inform subscribers and encourage them to participate
  • Partner with other brands for cross promotion
  • Follow-up by commenting and thanking every participant.

Brands that run contests on a regular basis have a much higher engagement rate as compared to others. So it is time, you step up your social media game by adding a few fun contests to your strategy.

3. Respond to Reviews To Boost Customer Engagement

The success of a modern restaurant depends, to a large extent, on its ability to generate positive reviews. If you are still not convinced take a look at the data below:

  • According to recent surveys, 93% of consumers say product reviews influence their purchasing decisions
  • 85% trust online reviews of local businesses as much as they trust personal recommendations.
  • Almost half (49%) need to see four stars before they’ll even engage with your business.
  • (82%) have decided to buy a product or service after reading through the content of a review.
Respond to Reviews to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.
Most people check for reviews on Yelp before trying out a New Place

Responding to reviews both positive and negative gives you an opportunity to engage the customer and show them that you value their business while building up a positive perception of your business. Replying to your customers helps you open up a direct communication channel for future conversations. You can take the conversation to the next level by asking your customers to connect via email.

But first, how do you get your customers to leave positive reviews about your food and services?

Develop a strategy to generate reviews

  • Solicit reviews: Train your staff to ask for reviews after the customer has finished a meal. Research says that 60% will leave a review if they’re encouraged to do so.
  • Make reviewing easier
  • Provide an incentive to review
  • Automate the process using technology– use tools like Kritiq which send an automatic feedback form to the customer every time he makes a purchase from you.

While many of us respond to negative reviews, we often overlook positive comments.  Thanking a customer who left a positive review not only helps you build a close bond with customers but also gives you the opportunity to promote your brand and services- like here at mKonnekt, we have a policy of requesting customers who left a positive review to follow us on social media. You can even go ahead and share your online ordering link or request them to join your loyalty program.  Sharing such positive reviews on social media is a great way to boost positive SEO of your brand. 

4. Coupons and Discounts To Boost Customer Engagement

“Discounting the right way is the best and fastest way to grow a stalling bar or restaurant business.” -Nick Foster

Discounts can be a great way to get people in the door. It’s important to have a strategy around them and communicates your message correctly. If your customers start feeling that offering discounts is the only way your restaurant generates footfall, then discounting is definitely harming your brand image. Devote some time to articulate your message- make your customers feel that you are offering the discount because you value their business.

Coupons and discounts to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.
Holiday Discounts

Here are some strategies that you could use:

  • Offering deals to first-time customers or regulars can make them feel appreciated and connected to your restaurant.
  • Holiday discounts: Such as a discount for Fathers on Father’s Day or teachers a discount during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • Promote your discount and deals through posts on social media or by running ads.
  • Check on the most and least popular items on your menu and create offers to promote these dishes.
  • Restaurants can leverage discounts to get more people in the door during slow hours and slow days of the week.
  • Offer discount cards or coupons through platforms like Yelp or Groupon.
  • Collaborate with a local organization by offering coupons for their events.
 discounts to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.
A Great Way to Boost Sales on Slow Days of the Week

5. Gift Cards To Boost Customer Engagement

Gift cards top the list of most requested gift items. 58.8% of consumers say they would like to receive gift cards as a gift during the Holiday Season. The great thing about gift cards is that they do not cut into your restaurant’s profit and are a great way to build customer engagement with your brand. Apart from generating sales, gift cards serve as a great advertorial keeping your brand on top of your customer’s mind. Public holidays or special days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. are the perfect time to push out Gift Cards.

Gift Cards to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

According to statistics, approximately 2 out of 3 gift card holders spend almost 40 percent more than the value of the gift card. So, every time a customer walks in with a gift card, you get an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell.

6. E-mail Marketing To Boost Customer Engagement

“Every dollar spent on email marketing can help you get an average ROI of $38.” 

Emails are a great way to keep in touch with your customers.  You can use email campaigns both for customer acquisition as well as retention.  Most successful restaurants are using emails to keep their customers up-to-date with the latest offers and promotions. You could also push your online ordering or delivery services via email campaigns.

Email Marketing to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

Deploy these Tips to Boost Email Engagement

  • Dynamic content based on demographics and preferences
    • Segment emails based on basis of demographics, interests or preferences.
    • Ask your audience to choose the kind of content they would like to receive, such as- new additions, offers, events.
    • Offer a link that allows readers to change their preferences.
  • Have Clear, Brief  Call to Actions in your emails
    • Include your CTA in the email subject line
    • Use contrasting colors to help the CTA stand out
    • Link your CTA to a dedicated website landing page
    • Ensure that your CTA is a part of the text portion of the email body so that it is visible see even if a recipient has images turned off.
  • Personalize your content and offers
  • Optimize for mobile
  • Automate your emails 
  • Ask for feedback and improve.
  • Mix promotional emails with content which creates value for your users
    • Share recipes of house favorites
    • Food Facts
    • Healthy eating options on your menu

7. Birthday emails To Boost Customer Engagement

Retaining your current customers is up to 7x cheaper than acquiring new ones. Did you know that Birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails and on an average, they generate a 342% higher revenue per email than promotional emails?

Running a birthday campaign can help you bolster engagement with your customers. Here are two ways to do it:

1. Set up an email campaign– Plan and set up a campaign to collect birthdays by asking your customers to sign up on your website, or you can even embed a form on social media sites like Facebook to collect such data. Once you have collected this data, use it to set up an automated campaign through MailChimp to send out specials to your customers on their birthdays.

2. Use Automation: You could also automate the entire process by integrating tools such as  Birthday Module on your website. Once you have set up this Module on your website, a tab will automatically appear on your facebook page and your website.

Birthday Emails to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.
  • Customers can sign up both on your website and Facebook.
  • Once a user registers- the system sends out coupons automatically on their birthdays and anniversaries.  
  • You can send out coupons for signing-up along with coupons for birthdays and anniversaries.
  • You can customize offers that you want to send out.

Best Practices

  • Personalize subject lines and messages
  • Send the offer on birthday or anniversaries
  • Send  reminders
  • Create a clear call to action“Redeem Your Birthday Gift”

8. Chatbots to Boost Customer Engagement

Facebook allows brands to connect with their potential customers through messenger bots. These chatbots can be accessed via existing chat apps such as Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp, so your customers won’t have to download another app.  You can connect directly to all your customers sending them personalized offers and recommendations in accordance with their purchase history through these messenger bots.

Chatbot Marketing to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.
Restobot Chatbot Marketing to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

Popular chains like Pizza Hut are successfully using this technology to boost customer engagement by being available to their customers at all times, answering their queries and sending out personalized deals. These Chatbots can also be used to allow your customers to make reservations or order ahead. 

9. Loyalty programs to Boost Customer Engagement

Restaurant loyalty programs are another great way to boost customer engagement. When a customer has a positive experience or derives value from your products or services, he is likely to return to your business. That is where customer loyalty programs can help you. A customer loyalty program offers special privileges by the way of discounts to customers who make frequent purchases.

Loyalty Programs to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

On average, loyal customers spend more and are more likely to recommend your restaurant to friends and family. In the U.S., 40% of online shopping revenue comes from repeat customers.

Restaurant Loyalty Programs to Boost Customer Engagement for your Restaurant.

Best Practices

  • The best time to invite guests to join your restaurant’s loyalty program is when they’ve just had a great experience.
  • Train your staff to encourage guests to join your loyalty program to avail of enticing offers and special deals.
  • Promote the program on your website and social media handles.
  • Offer an incentive to sign-up
  • Go for completely digitized cardless loyalty programs.
  • Integrate your loyalty program with your Pos System.
  • Simplify the signing -up process
  • Make it easy to checkpoints and redeem offers.
  • Optimize for mobile
  • Customize rewards based on customer preferences.

The key to boosting engagement is understanding your customers. You can provide a personalized experience and optimize engagement at each stage only if you understand your customers and their journeys.

Wrap Up:

These are some of the tricks we have been using to boost customer engagement. We would love to know how you engage with your customers.

How to Create Effective Customer Journey Maps?

What is Customer Journey?

A customer journey is a route your customer takes to complete the desired conversion action. It could be anything from purchasing a product to downloading an e-book.

The path a customer takes to conversion may vary depending on the nature of your business. Often decisions that involve a lot of money — such as purchasing a house, car, software, or a holiday may take a longer time to convert as compared to buying something cheaper say a book.

A typical Customer Journey spans  through  Five Stages:

A2A- Effective Customer Journey Maps

What is a Customer Journey Map?

  • A customer journey map is the detailed visual representation of the journey a customer takes to conversion.
  • Customer Journey maps may be different for different products, companies, and industries.
  • In fact, two people may follow an entirely different path to purchase even if they are buying the same product.

Benefits of Mapping the Customer Journey

By creating a Customer Journey Map you can

  • Understand your customers by segment
  • Chart each step of the customer experience
  • Get a clear picture of where and when customers are interacting with your business.
  • Understand why customers are making purchases or why are they leaving.
  • You can create focused messages for each buyer persona at different stages of the journey.
  • Build campaigns with a clear call to action and KPI for each stage of your journey.
  • Identify choke points where you are currently losing customers and develop procedures to address these.

How to Create Effective Customer Journey Maps?

To create a customer journey map, you need to understand what motivates your customers to buy your products. Once you are aware of the motivations, you can align the communication your customers will receive at each stage in the journey across platforms and throughout your marketing campaigns, providing a more consistent customer experience.

Creating Buyer Personas

The path two different customers follow to conversion may not be the same, as their motivation for buying a product may not be the same. For instance, customer “A” maybe be planning to purchase the software your company sells for personal use, his consideration and journey to the conversion will be different from the path Customer “B” takes, who needs to purchase the same software for his office.

Therefore the first step is to create buyer personas.

If you have already been in business for some time, you may have identified your target audience to identify the kind of people who would be interested in products and services. But the target audience is not the same customer personas.  While defining your target audience you may have considered demographics such as:

  • geographic location
  • age
  • sex
  • religion
  • marital status
  • income

Customer personas are more detailed and dig down further looking for differentiating factors within a certain demographic. Two people of the same age and gender living in the same city in the same income bracket may not have similar interests.  Creating detailed customer personas helps you to understand the motivation of each segment of your population.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to consider the following information about your customer personas.

Creating Customer Personas -Effective Customer Journey Maps

Here is an example of a customer persona for a furniture store.

Creating Buyer Personas -Effective Customer Journey Maps

You can start creating customer personas by

  • You can delve into the data available on your Website, CRM, Social Media, or Advertising.
  • You can interview and current and prospective customers, conduct online surveys.
  • You can also utilize tools such as Facebook Audience Insights to find out more about your current customers including demographic data and their interests.

Touchpoints

List every possible touchpoint at which you are communicating with your customers, and what messages they are receiving at these touchpoints. These could include your website, social media, word of mouth, brochures,  display ads,  review sites, Television ads, emails, chatbots, phone calls, events, in-store promotions, and customer service. The longer your customer journey takes, the more touchpoints it will involve.

Customer Touchpoints -Effective Customer Journey Maps

You can make this task easier by putting yourself in the shoes of the customer and walking through his customer’s journey step-by-step.

  • What is the problem (that a product or service your company is offering could solve)?
  • What do you do when you discover the product or business that solves your problem?
  • How do you make your purchase decision?
  • What do you do after the purchase?
Mapping Customer Touchpoints -Effective Customer Journey Maps

Build a Framework

  • Firstly, define the end goal of the customer journey. ( buy a product or service, sign up for a newsletter or blog, download an app.)
  • Consider who it is aimed at
  • Where they are in your customer journey?
  • Define the first point at which a particular buyer persona begins its journey?
  • What is the problem they are currently experiencing that sets them on the customer journey?
  • How can you help them progress to the next stage of the journey?
  • What are the channels through which you reach them?

Visualize Your Path

1. Define the stages that a buyer will progress through before making a purchase decision.

Visualizing Customer Touchpoints -Effective Customer Journey Maps

For instance, in the example of Susie above- suppose a friend recommended your furniture store to Susie.  What will be the decision stages Susie will pass through before purchasing from you.

  • She may check out your website
  • She will go through reviews
  • She may ask other friends about your store
  • She will compare prices and product specification with other brands that she has been considering
  • She may want to speak to your Customer Service representative to inquire about your products, services, and warranty.

2. List down the key decisions each buyer persona has to make throughout their customer journey.

For Susie here, this may involve

  • Do your products meet the requirements in terms of style and functionality?
  • Do you offer all the furniture that she is looking for
  • is your furniture durable
  • How easy it is to install 
  • What are your shipping charges
  • Will you be offering any kind of assistance during the installation?
  • what are your return policies
  • How much warranty do you offer?
  • Will it fit in her budget?

3. For each of these decision stages, define the key goal that you need to help the buyer achieve to progress to the next stage.

Define Key Goals -Effective Customer Journey Maps

Bring together all the data that you have gathered so far and identified the choke points in the customer journey. Mark all the areas where you feel you need to optimize your strategy to help the customer move to the next stage.

Define Your Strategy

Now that you have created an effective customer journey maps and you have identified the key roadblocks. The next step is to define your strategy going forward.  For each of the stages and touchpoints, define the channels by which you would be reaching out to the customer. Create key messages and communication that you need to send out at each of these touchpoints in the customer journey.

Doing this will enable you to align your communication throughout the customer journey. This customer journey map should guide all your sales and marketing campaigns.

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