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Restaurant Technology Trends in 2022

Talking about the restaurant technology trends in 2022, Greg Golkin, managing partner at the Kitchen Fund, a company that invests in restaurant brands like Sweetgreen and Cava said, “Food is the biggest industry on the entire planet,” After all, food is something all humans need to survive.

Restaurateurs, especially owners of SMB’s initially never dared to invest in technology because they never saw a need to. They just saw no need to disrupt the natural flow of things.

However, times change, and the industry did along with it. During the pandemic, many restaurants shut down for extended periods of time, leading to a shift in their systems. Due to consumers’ desire to eat out not slowing down, the utilization of technology in the industry was focalized. Read on to get a scope of how this ever-changing field of restaurant technology will look like in the upcoming year, and what we predict will be the most prominent restaurant technology trends in 2022.

QR Codes-

QR Codes

QR codes have become extremely vital in many restaurant operations and are on the top of our list of restaurant technology trends in 2022. They’re popular not just because they provide a touch-free experience, but also because they’re simple to use and offer a variety of advantages. There is no need to install a specific app because today’s smartphones feature built-in QR Code readers with the camera.

Customers are able to follow extremely simple actions as a result of this. Restaurants can send diners to digital menus using QR codes, reducing the spread of germs between parties. Additionally, firms such as Coca-Cola are investing in touchless beverage dispensers, which reduce staff exposure. Your staff and customers should expect a safer eating experience as contactless technology becomes more widespread, with QR codes, in particular, having the potential to go a long way as far as future restaurant technology is concerned. 

Online Ordering-

Online ordering

Not only as a result of the pandemic, which drove many restaurants to close their dine-in options, but also because of the convenience, online ordering sales have witnessed a considerable increase in recent months. A good website and restaurant app provide a solid foundation for online ordering, and allowing customers to pay for their online purchases through the website would make the process even easier.

Customers appreciate the ease with which they may order and pay for food from their computer or mobile device and have their favorite delicacies delivered right to their door. Expect online ordering systems to continue to be developed, and take a huge leap this upcoming year.

Cloud Kitchens-

Cloud kitchens

Meal delivery orders climbed by more than 150 percent from 2019 to 2020, according to recent data, and UBS expects the food delivery business to grow more than 10 times in ten years, from $35 billion to $365 billion. As the need for food delivery grows, more restaurant owners and food entrepreneurs are looking to cloud kitchens as a viable business solution.

Cloud kitchens are centralized licensed commercial food production facilities where restaurants rent space to prepare delivery-optimized menu items. One restaurant may operate many brands or virtual restaurants under one roof, or the kitchen may function as an incubator, with different vendors sharing the space. Imagine a vast warehouse with multiple stations (mini-restaurants) of stainless steel prep tables, hood vents, burners, ovens, and sinks, each with its own set of orders flowing in from customers.

By 2023, the market for cloud kitchens is predicted to be worth $1.05 billion, and people have begun to favor online platforms as a result of the digital transformation of all services. We expect them to grow as one of the most prominent restaurant technology trends in 2022.

Delivery Robots and Drones-

Delivery drones

Customers and restaurant businesses are finding their groove with AI, from burger-flipping and salad-making robots to machines that power order-taking.

McDonald’s bought AI business Dynamic Yield in 2019 with the intention of utilizing the company’s automated personalization product to improve the customer experience at drive-thrus. Menu options are displayed based on the time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic, and what’s popular on the site. It also proposes menu add-ons based on the choices made by each consumer.

When the COVID-19 pandemic required people to stay at home, demand for third-party delivery services skyrocketed. While firms like UberEats and DoorDash have risen to the occasion, restaurants have an opportunity to improve delivery even further.

Automated Inventory Software Management-

Automated inventory software management

The marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive, and those that recognize current demands and adapt accordingly are the ones who prosper in the long run. The world is growing to be extremely technologically dependent due to lifestyles becoming extremely fast-paced, with customers wanting increased efficiency, quick service, and high-quality items. An automated inventory system is a modern answer to the manual inventory methods numerous problems.

These inventory systems are more efficient and simple to handle since they are automated, allowing management to manage these activities with ease. Restaurant inventory management software aids in the administration of ingredient stock levels, purchase orders, recipes, and menu expenses in restaurants. The best restaurant inventory management software systems integrate with or are built into point-of-sale (POS) systems, reducing administrative time. These services range in price from $99 to $129 per month.

Some tools, however, are free despite having restricted functions. These systems will continue to be extremely beneficial to restaurants since they will allow them to save money on unused food and minimize the under-stocking of ingredients and other merchandise throughout the day. In addition, according to Dirk Izzo, president and GM of NCR Hospitality, these systems allow for the analysis of data for more precise forecasting and an improvement in restaurant operations.

Wrap up-

Restaurant Technology Trends in 2022

Here, we discussed the most noteworthy restaurant technology trends in 2022. The clear winners in any industry are those who are readily adapting to the shifting times. The technological impact on the restaurant industry will continue, so ensure that this year, you are ready to use this technology to your benefit, and succeed.

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.

5 Restaurant Marketing Strategies For The Holiday Season

The holiday season starts in Nov & Dec but for some, it starts much before –  40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween each year. It is the busiest season with some retailers accounting for 30% of their annual sales. The projected retail sales during the holiday season are around $700B. Most restaurants witness a major jump in sales during this time. If you want to promote your small business this holiday season, you need to prepare in advance. We have detailed five Restaurant marketing strategies for the holiday season.

Start Early & Have a Plan

a. Hire & train staff:

Given the seasonal nature and high competition, start looking at hiring and training staff early on. You want to put the best foot forward and highly trained and motivated staff is what you want during the holiday season rush.

b. Plan out the specials & events you want to organize –

Halloween contest, Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals and Christmas specials.

c. Inventory Check:

Make sure you have planned the required inventory for your events and specials.

d. Back-Up Plan:

Based on your prior experience come up with “what if” scenarios and have backup plans for these scenarios.

Focus on Customer Engagement

Now that you have lined up your ducks in terms of events and specials it is time to let your existing and potential customers know about these specials. The earlier you let your customers know about these specials/events the better off you are

a. Create events/specials on your website and social media sites.

If you plan to host any kind of event, it is better to have a landing page where your customers might sign up (on Facebook or on your website).

b. Email marketing:

Build your customer email list and start informing them along with links to events and specials so that your customers can plan accordingly.

c. Social Media:

Use social media to the hilt – have an advertising budget that you would like to spend on promoting these specials and events.

d. In-store decoration:

Decorate your store early on based on your planned activities. Have posters, lights and another kind of decor that would give the festive look.

Plan Co-Marketing Activities

The more the merrier and this applies to the holiday season. Have a plan as to what other local merchants/partners you can work with

  • Identify strategic partners with whom you can work with to execute co-marketing activities
  • Come up with a value proposition for your partners, their customers, and your customers. For example, if you are a retail toy store, reach out to local Montessori schools with specials for kids, or if you are a restaurant- work with a local mall and see if you can give customers with black Friday bill a freebie
  • Come up with an execution and promotion plan (see customer engagement) that includes the customer base of yours and your strategic partner.

Emphasize on Gift Cards

If you are thinking of restaurant marketing strategies for the Holiday season, you cannot ignore gift cards. Over the past ten years, there has been an increase in the amount that customers are spending on gift cards. As a small business you can ride this wave:

  • Identify whether you want to have physical or e-gift cards or both.
  • Identify with whom you would like to partner with (for example you can join OpenTable Gift program – https://go.opentable.com/rd-gifts.html).
  • If possible have an offer on gift cards and promote the availability of the cards (sell them online, social media and in the store).
  • Run a special for your gift cards.

Partner with a local charity

Even though this falls within the ambit of co-marketing activities we want to emphasize the fact that the holiday season is also considered the season of giving.

  • Identify a local charity that your customers associate themselves with
  • Approach them to organize a fundraiser or some sort of an event. For example work with local Salvation Army or Toys For Tots to raise funds for kids/toys.
  • If possible involve your customers – for example, if you are a restaurant explore the option of involving your customers in organizing a Thanksgiving feast at a local soup kitchen.
  • Promote the partnership and announce the results so that your customers can understand what kind of impact you/they had on this non-profit.

To have a great holiday season, it is imperative that you start early with a plan and set of activities that are in line with the plan. Define a set of metrics that you want to measure so that you can understand whether your plan was successful for this year and how it can be improved for future holiday seasons. With the above restaurant marketing strategies for the Holiday season,  you can ensure a higher footfall at your restaurant. Happy Holidays!!!

Restaurant Email Marketing: Best Practices and Tips

Restaurant email marketing is a great way to reach out to your customers on a regular basis and build long term bonds.  In the highly competitive restaurant space where almost every other restaurant is using emails to reach out to their customers, it becomes difficult to make oneself stand out from the crowd. However, if done correctly, restaurant email marketing campaigns help you to fill your restaurant’s tables and nurture long-term loyalty.

Can-Spam Act

Can spam act-Restaurant Email Marketing:

The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that lays down the rules for all commercial email. It is advisable to go through the guidelines of the Can-Spam Act before you begin your restaurant email marketing campaign. Here we are listing down the broad directives of the Act:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Every email communication must have a valid physical postal address.
  5. Every communication must include a clear and conspicuous way in which the recipient can opt out of getting an email from you.
  6. You must Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any unsubscribe button or opt-out mechanism you offer must be available for at least 30 days from the day you send your message. An opt-out request must be honored within 10 business days.
  7. If you have hired an agency or a person to market on your behalf, it falls on you to ensure what they are doing on your behalf is in agreement with the guidelines of the act.

Buying a customer list is never a good idea. It is recommended that you must have the implicit or explicit permission of your customers before mailing them.

Email Segmentation

Email segmentation basically refers to dividing your customer list into categories enabling you to customize your message according to the target audience in each category. Emails sent out to segmented lists have a 90.79% higher click-through rate than those sent to the non-segmented list.

Email Segmentation- Restaurant Email Marketing:
Effect Of List Segmentation on Email Marketing

Emails sent out to segmented lists have a 90.79% higher click-through rate than those sent to the non-segmented list. You can segment your lists based on

  • Geographic
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Customer behavior
Customer Segments- Restaurant Email Marketing:

As you gather more data you have on your customers, you can create better and more targeted segments. Here are a few examples of customer segments based on customer behavior.

  • Purchase history
  • Coupons Redemption Rate
  • Visit frequency
  • Average spends
  • Food Preferences
  • Cart Abandonments
  • Loyalty Members
  • Last purchase

Tailoring focussed campaigns for each of these customer segments helps you to deliver more value to your customers and obtain higher conversions for your business.

Email Automation

Automated Emails covert 2.4 times more than bulk emails. This requires you to define rules that trigger an email, which is sent out without any additional effort on your part. Automation ensures that you deliver content at the right time to your audience. It helps you to foster better customer relations by establishing an uninterrupted communication cycle and providing constant support to your customers.

Email Automation- Restaurant Email Marketing:

Let’s say you have a pop-up on your website inviting customers to join your birthday club. Once a customer signs up, he expects a confirmation email. Now manually sending out these emails is a tedious job! The better way to do it is simply automating such processes. Here are a few examples of nature of Restaurant email marketing campaigns that you could automate

  • Welcome email
  • Feedback forms
  • Confirmation Email
  • Birthday/ Anniversary mail
  • Cart abandonment
  • Subscription renewal emails
  • Emailers to non-active/dormant members

Split Testing

Split Testing- Restaurant Email Marketing:

Split testing helps you to optimize your campaigns for better conversions. Also referred to as A/B testing, it helps you to conduct controlled experiments with the goal of checking out which of two campaign options is the most effective in terms of encouraging customers to open, click, covert or subscribe.

Two variations of the email copy are sent to two small randomly generated sets of the customer. Half of the test group is sent Version A, while the other half gets Version B without any of the recipient’s knowing that they are part of an experiment. The results from each version are measured by the numbers opens or clicks and compared to determine which version performed better.

These are some of the parameters on which you can perform an A/B test to see which one does better.

  • Email Subject Line
  • Email Body
  • Email Design
  • CTAs

Responsive Design

Responsive Design- Restaurant Email Marketing:

While you may be designing your email on a desktop or laptop, you cannot be sure that all your target audience will access the same on a device. In fact with the proliferation of technology most customers check their emails, visit social media sites or browse the internet on their mobiles devices. Using a responsive email template helps you to optimize your email for different devices your customers may use.

Focus on CTAs

To encourage customers to take action, your email must have a clear and precise CTA. You should refrain from including too many call-to-action buttons in a single mail as this may confuse your customers and deliver sub-optimal results.

CTAs- Restaurant Email Marketing:

We recommend that you

  • Include CTA in the Email subject line.
  • Use contrasting colors to help the CTA stand out.
  • Link your CTA to a dedicated website landing page.

Integrate your Social Media Strategy

Every email is an opportunity to further connect with your customers on your social media handles. The good thing about connecting on social media is that you have the opportunity to update your handle more regularly than you can send an email. This means that your customers can have daily updates and reminders on offers.

Social Media Integration- Restaurant Email Marketing:

It is even better to add social share buttons to your email. Besides increasing the reach and visibility of your email, it helps you to grow your email list. This can also help you to identify key influencers- in terms of customers who are sharing your emails on a regular basis. The data can be used to create campaigns to harness the power of these influencers by providing them referral incentives.

Social Media Integrations- Restaurant Email Marketing:

Tips

  • Add social media buttons
  • Invite subscribers to share your Emails

Update Preference Center

While most marketers spend a considerable amount of time tweaking and optimizing their campaign, relatively less attention is given to overall customer experience. A preference center is an integral part of your brand identity. How much effort you put into crafting your preference center shows how much you care about the convenience of your customers.

Preference centers -Restaurant Email Marketing:

Allow customers full control over the

  • Number of Emails
  • Kinds of Communication
  • Ability to change Email Id
  • Any other preferences

Clean your lists on a Regular Basis

Cleaning your email list refers to removing inaccurate information from your list from time to time. It is a good practice to clean your customer list once every 90-120 days. You can do it manually, however, if you have a customer list exceeding a few thousand it is better to use an automated process.

Cleaning Your Email List -Restaurant Email Marketing:
Cleaning your email list
  • Get rid of wrong or spammy Email-ids
  • Remove customers who have not opened your emails for more than 3-4 months
  • Remove unsubscribes

Besides, reducing your email marketing costs, this exercise helps you to deliver better ROI as you are continuously progressing towards a set of audience who is interested in listening from your brand.

Figure the Best Days and Time to Mail

Tuesdays and Thursdays were adjudged to be the fest days to send out your emails by several studies in this domain. The best times  were

  • 6 a.m
  • 10 a.m.
  • 2 p.m
  • 8 p.m.
Best Day and Time -Restaurant Email Marketing:

Weekends, public holidays deliver lower open and click-through rates and the same goes for office hours. While there are several industries laid guidelines pertaining to the best time and days to send out an email. It is always best to figure out the days and times that work for you within the broader standard laid down by your business segment. You can do an experiment on this by varying the day and time that you send out your campaigns and comparing the results over a period of time.

Wrap Up

Finally, the success of your restaurant Email Marketing Campaigns depends on how well craft your messages and the effort you put in creating a unique experience for your customers. Keep these guidelines in mind while designing your next campaign!

How to Build an Email List for your Restaurant?

Email marketing is the fastest and the most efficient way to reach out to your customers and build long term bonds. The first step towards setting up your email marketing campaign is building a customer list for your restaurant.

Here are a few practical ways that will help you to Build an Email List for your Restaurant?

1. Collect Emails In Person

This old school strategy is still one of the most effective ways to collect emails. There are several ways in which you can do this. Place a small box at the check-out counter, prompting customers to drop their business cards.  You can take it a step further by adding a small incentive to the action; like a free treat in exchange of business cards. Another great idea is to promote it as a monthly raffle, where a single winner could be offered a free meal or dessert.  You would also want to train your wait staff to request customers to leave their emails at the time of check out.

2. Add an Email Optin to your Website

Email Optin- Build an Email List for your Restaurant

You have put in a lot of effort into building a great website and promoting it through ads and social media. Finally, you have managed to get a decent number of people visiting on your website and browsing through your menu. Now, it’s time to ensure that you are not losing any of these casual visitors or prospective customers. The way to do it is by adding an opt-in form to your website, nudging customers to sign up for your restaurant’s newsletter. Incentivize the deal by offering a free coupon- it can be something as simple as a sign -up and get free ice cream on your next visit.

3. Employ your Wifi as a Tool

Wi Fi- Build an Email List for your Restaurant

Are you offering free Wi-Fi to your restaurant’s customers? You can use the service as a tool to collect email ids. Configure the service in a way that the customers are required to submit emails to use the free wi-fi.

4. Use Technology To Build Email List for your Restaurant

There are several kinds of technology that you may be using at your restaurant which can be used to grow your customer list. For instance, your POS. Most modern PoS systems require customers to submit their Email Ids at the time of check out. You can download this data and use it for your email campaigns.

On similar lines, if your restaurant is running its loyalty program, which requires customers to sign in or subscribe using their email, you have the data at your disposal. The only thing you need to do is encourage customers to subscribe to the program or fill in their details. Your online ordering solution can also be a great source of customer data.

If you are using a guest management system to allow customers to make reservations or feedback software that send out automated messages to customers dining at the store, you can source email data from these systems for your campaigns.

5. Enlist Partners to Co-promote:

Tie up with local businesses to co-promote. Let’s say you own a pizza place, you can tie up with a local art school to display your sign-up info on their bulletin board. In exchange, you can have one of their posters at your restaurant.

6. Build Email List by Referrals

Request your current customers to forward or share your emailers with friends and colleagues. Don’t forget to add a sign-up form in the email body encouraging the people who receive these emails to sign-up.

7. Host a Contest

Contests are a great way to boost engagement on your social media handles. At the same time, they can be employed to collect email ids and build an email list for your restaurant can ask participants to submit their email ids to register for the contest.

8. Integrate Social Media into Your Strategy

Have links to sign-up on your restaurant’s Facebook Instagram or Twitter handle. Promote Your restaurant’s newsletter through social media and invite customers to sign-up for the same.

9. Join Our Club

Another great way to build an email list for your restaurant is to set up a Birthday or Anniversary campaign and invite your customers to join the club by registering their Emails.

Wrap Up

The success of your Email Marketing Campaign depends on how well you build an Email List for your Restaurant and customize your messages. With little effort, these tips can help you grow your customer list to kick-start your Email campaign.

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 Instagram Stories for your Business

With 300 million active users, Instagram stories have fast evolved into an effective marketing channel for businesses. Almost 50% of the brands on the platform are adding stories to their handles on a regular basis and interestingly 33% of the most popular stories on Instagram are from brands. Clearly, Instagram stories are here to stay.

Here is a step -by step guide to creating killer Instagram stories.

Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed. When you add an Instagram story, a colored ring appears around your profile photo.

To view someone’s story, you simply need to tap on their profile photo, showing you all of the content they’ve posted in the last 24hrs from oldest to newest. You can tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story.

How to make Instagram Stories?

To create a story on Instagram, you have to tap a new “+” icon at the top left-hand corner of the screen, or you can navigate to the camera by simply swiping left. Once the camera is open you can take a photo or record a video. Instagram offers several video styles to choose from. You can experiment with these to select what works best for you:

  1. Normal
  2. Boomerang
  3. Superzoom
  4. Rewind
  5. Hand free
  6. Stop motion

If you are in no mood for recording a live video or clicking a photo, you can use pics from your camera roll for your stories. All you need to do is tap on the gallery icon above the camera on the left sidebar of your screen. If you want to select multiple photos, you can do so by clicking on the stack of photos icon on the top right-hand corner of your screen.  And voila you are ready to share your story. But hold on there are a whole lot of fun features that you must explore before sharing your story.

Make your Instagram Stories Stand Out

 1. Keep up with the latest on Instagram:

Instagram keeps adding tonnes of features to the app each year. make sure you are using the trending features on the app. We will show you how to do it. Once you have clicked your photo or video or selected the photos, navigate to the next screen, here you can add filters to your pics and text or drawings.

a. Geotagging: 

Add a location to your story to increase the reach and visibility of your stories.

b. Mentions:

Type the @ symbol followed by the name of the user or account you want to tag. Mention tags work like clickable links, if a user clicks on the mention tag within your story, he will be lead directly to the Instagram account of the brand or person you have mentioned.

c. Poll:  

Want to know what users think about your products, add polls to your stories. You can use the simple A/B   Poll,  by replacing the yes or no with the content you want your audience to choose from. Emoji sliders are another fun way to create a poll, choose an emoji and type in your question.

Instagram Polls

d. Gifs 

Gifs allow you to add personality and fun into a story. You can check out the trending emojis or search for one according to your requirement.

Instagram Gifs

e. Music Stickers:

Instagram released music stickers for Stories on June 28. They allow users to play their favorite songs in the background of their Story. You can select from the right music for your story by browsing through different genres, moods, or top charts. If you want to add only a particular clip of the song scroll through the song and select that portion of the song to add. Listen to a preview by tapping the play button to make sure, you have made the right selection.

Instagram Music Stickers

2. Repost Instagram Stories mentioning your brand 

Has someone recently @ mentioned you in their story? You can repost their story to your own! You receive a direct message when you’re mentioned in a story there is also an option to repost it.  Simply tap the ‘add this to your story’ button to repost!

Repost Instagram stories

3. Share Instagram Posts to Your Story:

You can now share any post on your feed or someone else’s to your Instagram story.  Navigate to the post you want to share. Tap the paper airplane icon at the bottom-left of the post. The post will appear as a sticker on a customizable background which you can edit according to your preferences. Now your story is ready to be shared. When your audience clicks on the post in your story, they will be taken directly to the shared post!

Share your own posts in your Stories is a good way to cross-promote your content. You can go ahead and share posts by your followers showcasing how they are using your products. Another interesting way to use this feature is to share content from prominent influencers in your segment.

Instagram stories for you restaurant

4. Shoppable Tags

Instagram finally brought shoppable tags to Stories in June this year. Shoppable tags in Instagram Stories are basically a sticker that appears with a shopping bag icon next to it. Users can then tap on the sticker to see details about the product and even buy it from within Instagram.

5. Add Links

Add links to your Instagram stories

If your Instagram account has more than 10,000 followers, you can add Link to your stories to lead your audience directly to your website, latest blog post, or a specific product.

6. Add Story Highlights

Instagram Story Highlights

An Instagram Story expires after 24 hours, however, you can use Story highlights to pinned your most popular content to your Instagram profile indefinitely. You must keep your story live for a full 24 hours to add it to highlights. If you delete your story before the 24 hours, those sections of your Instagram highlights will also be deleted.

Highlights can be used to showcase your most important information, product categories, updates or offers

Tap on a live story to open it. Navigate to the pic you want to save to highlights. Tap on the dots that appear at the bottom right-hand corner of the image, select add to highlights. The picture will automatically appear on your profile. Give a name to your highlight.

You can even create a highlight from the archive section of your stories∙  Click on the clock icon at the top right hand of your Instagram page to go to your archives.  Select create Highlight after tapping on the menu in the top right-hand corner. Select the pictures you want to add to your highlight. Once you are done you will be prompted to name your highlight and edit its cover.  Your story highlight will play in the order that the stories were uploaded.

You can create stories cover and them to your highlights to create your own signature identity.

Analyze

After all the hard work, it’s time to see whether your efforts are bearing fruit. Navigate to the insight section of the app click on content and scroll down to see the numbers. Check what is working and build your future strategy from there.

5 Ways to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

With its growing popularity and the gamut of features available to business profiles, Instagram has become an indispensable marketing channel for small businesses.

Instagram offers an opportunity for restaurant owners to connect with their customers on a personal level, build their brand, and drive customers to their store.

 Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant
           Benefits of Instagram Marketing

While content is undoubtedly the king, these hacks will help you to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant.

1. Court Food Bloggers

Some of the most popular accounts on Instagram are those of food bloggers and it would come as no surprise that an average person spends close to an hour each day scrolling through food pics on Instagram. In 2017, more than 87% of marketers resorted to influencer marketing to boost their brands. Food bloggers have excellent brand value. They have to build a bond of trust with their audience, which treats their opinions as personal recommendations. Roping in food bloggers to write about your restaurant is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness and expand your customer base.

Courting a food blogger can be a bit tricky. You would want to ensure that the food blogger you are planning to approach is genuine and popular in your locality, has a formidable following and is relevant to your restaurant type. Once you have zeroed in on a suitable food blogger, the next step is developing a relationship with them by following their accounts and engaging on their posts. Most of them are easily reachable on Instagram and will not want to miss an opportunity to review a good place on their blogs and Instagram handles.

2. Run contests

Contests are a great way to increase brand awareness, generate massive engagement, and drive a serious return on investment from social media.

Posts related to Instagram contests tend to earn roughly 64x more comments and 3.5x more likes when compared to ‘normal’ content.  

They also help you in increasing the number of your followers within a short span of time. On our own pages, we have seen the level engagement on all other posts increases during the weeks that we are running a contest.  Due to the resultant increase in the number of followers, you would usually see a rise in the engagement level from the pre-contest levels.

There are a variety of contests you can turn to from something as simple as liking or sharing to win to more integrated approaches. Some popular types of contests that you could try are:

  • Selfie contests
  • Hashtag contests
  • Instore contests
  • Hyperlapse video contest

5 Ways to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

3. Hashtags

Building an effective hashtag strategy is one of the best ways to increase the reach and visibility of your posts on Instagram.

On average, Instagram posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement than those without.

hashtags to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags to your posts. The best way to find the most appropriate hashtags for your business is to look and see what hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using. Track the performance of your hashtags by looking at post insights and build your strategy accordingly.

Pro-tips: 

  1. You can even add clickable hashtags to your bio.
  2. Post all of your hashtags in the first comment, after five vertical periods, this keeps your post clean while making your post discoverable for all the hashtags.

4. Stories

300 million people use Stories every day making it one of the fastest-growing networks.  Instagram Stories are a fun and casual way to engage with your followers. Even people who don’t follow your Instagram account can see your stories, giving you a much wider audience. With the latest updates, you can add hashtags and locations to your stories to make them more discoverable.

Stories to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

Use stories to show-off your best recipes or the interiors of your restaurant. Add Call to action to your stories to nudge your audience into action.

Instagram Stories to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

Instagram has come up with plenty of cool features such as poll sliders and emoji stickers to catch the attention of your followers.

5 Ways to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restautant

If you have more than 10,000+* followers, there’s a ‘swipe up’ option inside your Instagram Stories to include a link. You can use this to direct your fans to your website or your online ordering platform or even to your current push.

Instagram Stories to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

Keep your audience glued to your page through the Instagram story highlights.

Instagram Stories Highlights to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant
Instagram Story Highlights

5. Re-gramming

Even if you have a portfolio full of professional food pics of your restaurant, you can always use pics of your food or restaurant posted by your customers. Apart from providing you with fresh content to share with your audience, it encourages engagement from the followers of the original contributor and inspires other customers to post pictures of your food or restaurant.

Search Instagram for tagged pictures of your restaurant or food. But before you lift these off, it is a good idea to reach out to the customer, thank them for their visit and take their permission to repost with photo credits. You can use a professional app for re-gramming or just take a screenshot and use it on your page with photo credits,

Regramming to Leverage Instagram Marketing for your Restaurant

These are some of the tips that we are using on our pages. We would love to know how you are using Instagram for your restaurant.

4 Building Blocks For Reputation Management

The restaurant industry is a very competitive industry where customer reviews and quick judgments have become a part of the trade. With the advent of social media and the explosion of mobile devices, and ghost reviews etc. the whole issue has been complicated. But customers’ increasing say is the reason why restaurants need to jump the bandwagon and steer it to its’ advantage. After all, misuse of it is a common side effect and this whole process is what is called Reputation Management.

Should I care about reviews?

  • Harvard Business School Professor Michael Luca found that a one-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5 percent to 9 percent bump in revenue (1)
  • More than 1/3 of diners report that peer reviews impact their choice of restaurant and 53% of millennials (18 – 34yrs) report that online reviews factor into their dining decisions*
  • 61% of the consumers have read online reviews about restaurants than other business categories (2)

Now that we made our case lets look at the four building blocks for a coordinated reputation management strategy:

a. Create & Optimize

Make a list of sites that are relevant to your business. Some of the major ones include

  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Zomato
  • Google
  • Zagat
  • Facebook
  • Angie’s List (mostly for services companies)

If there is an already existing listing on these sites claim that page or create from scratch. Once you have listed the sites follow the below steps to make sure that these listings are optimized for accuracy

  • Make sure that your address, phone numbers, timings are accurate. Also fill in details about the kind of cuisine, price range, contact info etc.
  • Publish your menu or have a link to your menu and update your listings with pictures on a regular basis
  • Having different offers such as check-in offers and publish event information

b. Generate Reviews

Now that you have created the listings direct your customers to provide feedback on these sites by following these simple strategies

  • Train your staff to request feedback – this is a very tricky situation and in this case, make sure that your staff knows how to approach your patrons. Never ever offer any kind of incentive to provide feedback but rather have your staff strike a conversation and based on the direction drop in a note for your customers to provide feedback.
  • Have posters/table tents with information so that your customers can locate review sites easily
  • Use social media and post on a frequent basis by posting about what your customers are telling about your establishment
  • Focus on what you do best – your product & service

c. Respond & Manage

  • Have an active involvement with the customers reviewing your business on various platforms. Reply to everything and take note of any negative feedback. This is a sure shot way of maintaining a rapport with the existing customers and building new ones.
  • In case of negative reviews make sure that you respond with an invitation to come back and give your business another try
  • Make sure that you respond to reviews in a timely fashion – we suggest within 24 hours

d. Analyze

  • Analyze your reviews across different platforms – do you see a trend, is there an issue with a particular shift/employee
  • How do you compare with your competitors
  • Is there any particular platform that your customers are using more
  • Do you have to spend any advertising dollars on these platforms

Based on answers you should be able to take corrective actions and also manage your listings better

Your reputation is what matters in today’s competitive world and you need to go all-in in order to manage and improve it. Have a dedicated team or person who constantly monitors your reviews online and responds to them in a timely fashion as this directly impacts your top-line growth.

*National Restaurant Association 2012 National Household Survey

4 Building Blocks For Reputation Management- Infographic
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