How to engage technology to drive more restaurant sales

Now is the time to leverage new technology to communicate with your customers and create a seamless path to purchase. The birth of the coupon society which is forcing restaurants and restaurant chains to rely on third-party applications to deliver discount-hungry customers is not the answer to a slow economy and tightening margins. Omnichannel is a multi-channel approach that incorporates the volume of touch points a person is exposed to before they decide to venture into a restaurant or return. The strategy applies to every niche but in today’s economy is now a matter of necessity in the restaurant arena.

Brand loyalty, rewards, offers are all under pressure from the sheer noise of the digital world and the increasing growth in the restaurant market. Discount driven consumers are savvy, looking for the lowest price rather than the best quality. Discount sites and apps for the restaurant niche multiplying. The downside is that they generate a particular type of consumer for the most part. These are not brand loyalists, and you might struggle to win them over the long term without offering a discount. These sites compete with each other, rather than your food niche so the highest discount wins.

The answer? A strategy that engages customers in the brand experience, that brings loyalty in house and is focused on connecting every channel to provide a seamless path to sale and resale.

The strategy

The omnichannel experience for a consumer is fluid, there are more opportunities to connect with the brand, easier pathways to purchase, a greater level of loyalty reward and consistent message delivered at the right time.

To integrate the strategy effectively, you need to dive deeply into traffic and consumption. Not every strategy is the same and developing one that suits your market is key. Fundamentally you need to be providing a connection between channels; deliver email sign-ups via messenger to subscribe users to both channels, deliver coupons via messenger with opportunities to book via the website or messenger, link messenger to the website, provide interactive experiences delivered via website, email and facebook, link point of sale to messenger with scannable codes, provide rewards via mobile wallet, delivered via messenger linked to email.

The rise of new technology

The fascinating aspect of increasing digital consumption is not that we do not sacrifice communication as a result, but that communication evolves. In 2019 Facebook had 1.3 billion users and 56% of people would rather message a business than speak to a person. If you consider these facts, how many opportunities are you missing to capture and engage your customers by ignoring messenger?

Messenger Bots

It is important that I make an early distinction between sponsored messenger ads, poorly executed subscription bots and messenger bots that enhance user experience and/or facilitate the execution of a campaign. There is a widespread misunderstanding of the value of messenger and as talented communication professionals collaborate with clever bot builders the capacity to generate sales is increasing. Generally, messenger campaigns have a 90% open rate or higher, consider the open rate on email and the value is obvious.

We implemented a website live chat with 90% bot responses (including automated replies), plus 10% human interaction. This resulted in nearly 1500 subscribers in 4 weeks, 1500 people that would have either made a phone call or left the website without questions answered. The vast majority of questions are quickly resolved with automated responses, ie. what are your specials, where is my local restaurant, how do I make a booking. We have a society that a. have a short attention span and b. are “google” trained to ask short questions with an immediate response and c. look for online interaction.

Campaigns can be more effectively delivered with a bot. Let’s take a coupon for 20% off your next meal as an example. This could be in the form of a physical point of sale coupon, delivered via email or an ad on social media. Traditional coupon delivery will be redeemed with potentially a follow up email, messenger delivery allows you to immediately communicate the value, ask if they would like to book, remind them to book after a period of time, and immediately follow up redemption with a request to review, book again and subscribe. There is a far greater opportunity to cleverly communicate, rather than simply broadcast your message.

Mobile Wallet

The commonwealth bank reported a 35% increase in mobile wallet and smartphone card usage to June 2018, with 16.8 million customers using their mobile wallet bank cards. In the next decade, the mobile wallet is set to replace your physical wallet in terms of bank cards and loyalty cards. . Bank cards, boarding passes, and movie tickets are already accessible and as we move into the middle of 2019 the rise of mobile wallet coupons and reward cards will explode.
Accessing a coupon card in a mobile wallet differs significantly from accessing an app to use a discount coupon. And with the use of location beacons, we can alert customers when they are in close proximity. Imagine a consumer is walking through the city looking for a location to dine and an alert reminds them that they have a coupon on their wallet. The significant difference with leveraging the technology in house is that you remove the competition that exists in loyalty apps.

Artificial Reality

The newest player in the omnichannel field is a simple, yet powerful AR filter for Facebook and Instagram. Experiential marketing has been accessible for big brands for some time – interactive physical displays that immerse the consumer in the brand experience. Experienced-based marketing is designed to engage the consumer in the brand and develop a stronger relationship. Today it is no longer the realm of big budgets and offline events, with AR filters we can create experiences to engage and with an omnichannel strategy, deliver these potential customers into an automated sales and subscription sequence, followed up with retargeting and reminders.

Check out the case study for Taco Bill.

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