Your Restaurant May Be Memorable, But is it Unforgettable?
Competing for customers is a constant pursuit.
New restaurants are opening all the time. The challenge is staying top of mind, keeping your customers excited and elevating what you offer. A great burger, beer list or having the best atmosphere isn’t enough. An effective restaurant mobile strategy paves the pathway to success.
How do you know what works when it comes to restaurant marketing?
To start, tap the pros at Boelter Food Service. We’re restaurant people through and through—just like you. With 90+ years in the industry, and currently serving more than 7,000 establishments, rely on the people of Boelter to share ideas that work.
Food and Service are Only Part of the Equation.
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than a million restaurants were operating in 2017. With multiple options, the real challenge is staying top of mind. Through app notifications you can send targeted offers to remind them of you when making decisions. After all—get diners to come back three times and you have a 70% chance of turning them into regulars.
“My smartphone is glued to my hip. And when not, my smartwatch is. Let me know what’s going on with a quick message, especially when I’m in the area. All I need is a reminder now and again. Hey, what’s tomorrow’s special, anyway?”
Digital Marketing Fact-check
Why Staying Top of Mind and Extending the Experience Digitally is Critical.
A recent Deloitte survey noted 70% of diners want restaurants to engage with them through apps. Specifically, apps that interact with them on a personal level—think specials, promotions and events. Specifically, they like using apps that convey the sense that a restaurant “knows them.” The average person spends five hours a day on their phone. Why not meet them right where they are?
Digital Marketing Fact-check
By 2020, 77% of the US population will be using mobile technology daily. It’s the go-to technology for personalized communications. Personal means connecting with customer routines, moods, and of course, discerning taste buds. Data makes it possible—mobile makes it deliverable.
How to Develop a Digital Strategy in 9 Easy Steps.
- Grow your online visibility. Restaurants that claim their business on Google and Yelp greatly improve their search rankings and gather more customer reviews. Just don’t forget to keep it current. Many restaurants don’t update their Yelp pages adequately, failing to fill in contact information or even claim the listing. Wrap it up then in a consistent, original tone and style—your brand—to make it easier for diners to find you online.
- Have a flexible digital strategy. Your digital media strategy should be flexible so you can respond to what does and doesn’t work for diners. Discover how your customers found out about you to gauge where they’re spending time online so you can maximize that platform. Cross-link all your online profiles—you never know where your customer is, but you can likely find them. Link your site to your mobile app, and both to your social media pages. You’ll build followers on the customer’s preferred platform.
- Move with the mobile direction. Most consumers expect information to be available at their fingertips. When deciding where to eat, over 90% of people search for information about restaurants on their smartphone, and 84% of them contact a business as a result. An app with your menus, reservation, ordering, payment and delivery capabilities keep you accessible and convenient. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
- Leverage different social media sites. Diners love to see your fare before deciding where to eat. Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for enticing people with tasty-looking photos. Consider making short, unique videos as well, such as your chef’s cooking techniques or a quick recipe. Then use trending hashtags to increase post visibility . For example, include #happyhour, #brunch, or #foodielife. And consistently include a regular hashtag—the name of your restaurant.
- Offer online reservations. If you only take reservations by phone—or don’t offer reservations at all—consider this. According to OpenTable, 83% of diners want to be able to add themselves to a waitlist and get notified when a table opens up. In an on-demand world patience isn’t popular, so simplify reservations and minimize wait time by doing things digitally.
- Skip the loyalty punch card. Deliver rewards digitally. Your regulars expect a loyalty program. Trouble is, more often than not their punch card is in the car, trapped behind a fridge magnet, or in the kitchen “stuff” drawer. If you really value your patrons, reward them automatically through your personalized app. We can guarantee this—their phones aren’t in the “stuff” drawer.
- Extend your reach with blogs. You don’t even have to post solely about the restaurant. Diners like to read about different employees, recipes, diet and nutrition facts, and current news about your restaurant. Keep it fresh and educational to showcase your expertise and build engagement with followers.
- Respond to and request reviews. One of the best ways to make your guests feel like their concerns are heard is by responding to their online comments. If they have a complaint, tell them how you have solved the problem and offer them a discount on their return visit. Yelp reviews can bring a huge increase to your business as well, so remind customers to fill them out. Just a half-star bump in your Yelp review can bring a 27% increase in business.
- Get involved in community events. Partnering with organizations and getting involved with local promotions not only builds awareness, but increases business on the day of the event. For example, offer discounts if they dine with you after events and throw in a free cocktail or beer if they have downloaded your app. Apply for local business awards also to gain recognition and stay top of mind.
Restaurant Mobile Marketing: Minimized Expense, Maximized Growth.
A digital marketing plan allows you to spend less time and money on marketing efforts, simplifying your path to growth. Through a restaurant app you are able to capture more first-time guests, make your best diners feel like insiders and remind patrons who haven’t dined with you in a while why they ought to return.
Boelter Blue can help you make an app that interacts with clients, for affordable advertising that works.
Affordable ways to grow your restaurant digitally.
Leverage the smartphone platform for advertising. Thirty-five percent of smartphone users say they check their phones more than 50 times a day—this is really where you can make an impact.
Cut out unnecessary content. Don’t waste money on irrelevant content just for the sake of posting frequently. No one wants you to oversaturate their channel. Create content that’s engaging or adds value to their lives. Consider posting special events, new menu items, or promotions.
Show don’t tell. Consumers aren’t interested in you telling them how wonderful your restaurant is; they want to be convinced. Post pictures of your best dishes across social media and highlight positive customer reviews. If you’ve won local awards, post links to those accolades. Let others tell potential diners you’re great; don’t do it yourself.
Go beyond discounts. While discounts and coupons are great, it becomes an expectation as people get accustomed to them. What people aren’t used to however are free offers, giveaways and chances to upgrade. Having a loyalty program with these type of offers makes your customer feel special.
Don’t copy competitor campaigns. Differentiate yourself. For example, you could create a YouTube video series demonstrating simplified ways for viewers to prepare your popular dishes at home. Or, you could post stories focused on your staff members’ backgrounds and personality. In marketing, copying is not the sincerest form of flattery.
Connect digitally with customers at any moment.
Having a mobile app gives you the opportunity to reach customers right where they are at any given moment. There are constant opportunities for them to engage directly with your restaurant—whether it be viewing current specials, events, social media posts or VIP offers. Take advantage of this direct communication to execute your next big idea and get the results you want now.
Put in less work with a digital marketing plan.
An app-centered marketing plan lets you connect with and energize your diners while allowing you to focus on what you do best—preparing food and entertaining guests. With Boelter Blue you can leverage marketing automation to stay on top of your business and top-of-mind with your best customers.
Build an app worthy of your brand and loved by your customers.
Boelter Blue individualizes services for your restaurant brand and goals. Let diners choose how they want to engage with your restaurant and provide them with the information they care about most—whether it be loyalty programs or seasonal menus.
A first-time guest can be a lifetime advocate.
When a customer walks through the door she’s yours to keep or to lose. By encouraging your customer to use your app, you start them on the journey to becoming a regular visitor. Your customized Boelter Blue App will provide gentle reminders on a regular basis, and a good reason to pass your information along to their friends. Encourage app usage when you’re busy to entice them back when you’re not.
Your app is your personal assistant. Automatically send out birthday wishes, offers and alerts, giving your diners the personalized experience they prefer. With automated drip marketing you can create a series of push notifications triggered by their activity. Maximize opportunities from visits, events and seasonal promotions to remind diners why they should keep coming back.
Communicate with notification subscribers at any time. Notifications can be sent right away, pre-scheduled or programmed to be sent in certain scenarios. Either way, it communicates why your restaurant is the perfect option for that moment, making sure you’re top of mind.
Easily target diners with personalized offers. Send personalized rewards based on dollars spent or menu items purchased—that won’t get lost in the bottom of their bags. Boelter Blue lets you create custom, short-term, and seasonal offers that target diners and keep your loyalty program fresh and interesting.
Digital Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Complicated.
Boelter Blue simplifies digital marketing—both for your patrons and for you. With an individualized strategy that fits what you want to say about your brand, we can help you build your online presence.
Boelter Blue’s Blue Napkin First-time Guest System will turn first-time guests into regulars by leading diners through a VIP system at your restaurant. We’ll help you reach more customers and send out targeted rewards that keep them coming back.
“The Boelter Blue app, along with the service and support Boelter provides, is one of the best marketing decisions we have ever made,” said Rob Rajala, Manager of Champps Americana. “We can reach more than 1,600 of our best customers any time directly through their mobile device, allowing us to drive business when needed and speak directly to the people who want to hear from us most.”
“One in three people share they came in for a special or hard-to-find tap beer after receiving a push notification,” stated Ryan Stenstrup, owner of Steny’s Tavern and Grill in Milwaukee’s historic Walker’s Point neighborhood. “Our trivia night has seen a 20 percent increase over last year since we started using the app to promote the event. And, our regular lunch crowd consistently tells us they prefer the app for rewards redemption over a paper punch card.”
Customize your app for a total solution. Don’t worry about trying to build loyalty and engagement through different platforms. Boelter Blue ensures you’re completely connected with your existing web assets by putting them all in one place. Widgets tie everything together—from online ordering and delivery to social media feeds and job applications. Our service extends well beyond launching your app. We’ll help you deliver the right marketing content, at the right time, to entice customers through the doors.
Get started! And reserve a digital table on your customers’ device. With your personalized mobile app powered by Boelter Blue, you have a built-in line of communication. Get in front of them with the right special, promotion or event at the right time. They only need to know why and when to visit.
With over a million restaurants operating, converting guests to regulars takes more than great food and service. Staying top of mind through a mobile marketing strategy will keep diners coming back. After all, once a customer dines three times, there’s a 70% chance of turning them into a regular.
In this eBook: Building Restaurant Traffic, discover affordable mobile restaurant marketing strategies that automatically reach customers right where they are.