In the competitive environment restaurants are operating in right now, there is constant pressure to have a consistent presence on social media, provide enticing offers that encourage loyalty, convert business from third-party delivery apps – the list goes on. But in the rush to change consumer behaviors, there is also a lot of noise. Amid the constant promotion of restaurants, what’s often missing is a clear, compelling call to action. At each step of your outreach to the public, what are you hoping your guests and followers will do? As you gain followers on Instagram, for example, what is the next action you want people to take? Download your app? Then provide a visual guide in a form of a quick video or carousel of images that shows them exactly how to do it. Join your loyalty program? Tell them why it’s a good idea and how they can sign up. Place an order? Provide them with brief directions on the most friction-free way to do this. With everything, focus on compelling visuals and succinct text. Your restaurant should have its own internal calls to action. When you receive orders from third-party delivery companies, how are you taking steps to convert them to direct business? Consider placing a note in each bag that encourages them to order directly from you next time – and why that helps you and them. When they follow up by ordering from you directly, respond to that business with a prompt, personalized offer that immediately demonstrates a guest benefit (and minimize your involvement with automation tools – Bikky is one example – that can help you engage guests after an order).
It’s Friday afternoon and just as you’re starting to get hungry and think about what’s for dinner, your phone pings you with a text offer from your favorite pizza place. Even though you hadn’t been thinking about pizza, suddenly this restaurant has jumped to the front of the line of potential restaurants where you consider ordering take-out. This year, more restaurants are putting themselves in a position to win business like this as the competitive landscape for restaurants has matured and broadened. Restaurants now need to stand out from not only other brick-and-mortar restaurants but also from ghost kitchens and even competition in the form of grocery stores, meal kit companies and even gas stations vying for foodservice business. A well-timed text can help. But in order for restaurants to craft SMS marketing campaigns that target the right customers at the right times, they first need a strong SMS database of contacts. Make sure that at your restaurant, you’re not leaving any gaps where contact information can be collected. In-store, ask customers during a purchase if they want to receive promotional offers from you via text. If you send an email newsletter, use those communications to prompt recipients to opt into texts and access special deals. If you take orders on your website, ask customers to tick a box as part of the checkout process to receive the promotions. Finally, use your social media platforms to promote your text promotions – try posting a dedicated number or key word that viewers can text to easily opt into your offers.