Open a restaurant, send out promotional marketing material, wait for the customers to walk-in, serve them finger-licking food, and hope that they would keep coming back for more. How we wish it was that simple. The days of traditional marketing techniques are officially over. Delicious food alone cannot take you as far as you would like to reach. In the age of the digital consumer, having a well-crafted strategy for mobility is the key that will unlock sustainable future.

Mobility is reshaping the way restaurant owners interact with their customers. Digital marketing is always on, real-time and continuously learning and evolving. Today, every aspect of business can be transformed with digital or mobile engagement strategies, whether it is in-location guest experience, ordering experience, pre-visit activation, meal recommendations, proximity engagement, or products and service offerings.

While this is a great opportunity for restaurant chains to take their guest engagement and services to the next level, it has also become a necessity for staying relevant. The rate of evolution in this area is so fast, that you need strategies that are easy to deploy, change and scale. This article takes a quick look at the mobile tactics and the critical enablers restaurateurs need to sustain their digital strategies.

Let’s look at potential interactions that a guest can have on mobile with your restaurant:

Near Location

Proximity or location based marketing helps create demand and increases conversions.

What to do?

Identify guests in the proximity of the restaurant using Wi-Fi, beacon signals from your own sources, retail partnerships or mall signals, online location service providers, or directly from location tracking services built on your mobile app.

How to leverage it?

Use customer analytics to automatically look-up the profile and preferences of individual customers and compute best engagement opportunities to encourage a visit to your restaurant. For instance, when one of your loyal customers, who particularly likes your side dishes, is in the proximity of the restaurant; send a communication regarding the exclusive sides offer available at the store.

In-Location/Online Ordering

In-location ordering apps can lift the overall dining experience.

What to do?

Build engagement possibilities into the mobile app right from check-in and waiting to selecting menu items. Provide larger format mobile devices on-demand to families or groups. Use an informed ordering solution to compensate for waiting periods. Offer additional content and incentives if required.

How to leverage it?

Let the guests access menu on the app, along with nutritional information, popular combinations, occasion or ingredient based meal recommendations, specials, etc. Offer recommendations on the fly based on product affinities. For example, when a customer has selected one of the main course items, show which beverages other customers have opted for, with that item. Provide reviews of most popular dishes or offers on low-selling items.

Pre-Ordering

Advanced analytics in the pre-ordering stage can help uncover product and customer patterns.

What to do?

Use product to product, customer to product association information to recommend products or offers to your customers. Personalize the browsing experience based on customer’s transaction/browsing history. Identify the best time, occasion, to push the offer on mobile.

How to leverage it?

Identify and offer choices that may enhance their experience, like preferred seating, time-based reservations, take-away or delivery, faster check-out, loyalty benefits, etc. The browsing and selection data can enrich your customer understanding and open newer insights for marketing and product suggestions. Also, experiment with surprise and impulse needs to find out what your customer desires.

Post-Ordering

Give the customer transparent access and personalized offers after the order is placed.

What to do?

Offer complete order tracking through mobile apps. Guests today want to feel in control and updated on what’s happening, therefore order tracking is something you can’t do without. Get customer feedback through various means online as well as offline. Encourage them to share their experience with friends and acquaintances. Study customer behavior after the order.

How to leverage it?

Analyzing what worked and what didn’t is essential to improvise your overall mobile strategy and evolve continuously. Learn what irked your customers during the pre to post ordering stages and try to implement changes wherever possible.

The end note

If you’re not already practicing at least some of the engagement strategies mentioned above, then you should start now. Understand that analytics is the foundation to execute your digital marketing strategies with finesse. An app with superior functionality is not enough; relevance and engagement are the final goals.

If your mobile app doesn’t have the analytics chops, talk to Manthan now. Manthan offers the most comprehensive range of analytics capabilities for restaurant businesses. Our packaged descriptive, predictive and prescriptive algorithms sit on top of a best-practices backed data model to help restaurateurs understand guests’ purchase and digital behaviors, and sharpen personalization and targeting strategies. Manthan’s Customer Analytics solution integrates context with behavioral insights to create ideal responses for every guest interaction. The portfolio embeds machine learning algorithms and omnichannel execution capabilities to enable intelligent, contextual and real-time guest engagement. Learn More