Restaurant Technologies That Build Brand Loyalty
May 2, 2019
Some of the most popular technologies that build brand loyalty may surprise you. After all, you likely already know about some of the more popular ones like mobile apps or email coupons.
But stay with us throughout this informative article to find ways that will enhance your brand and keep your customers coming back for more.
Restaurant Website Improvements
You might shake your head at how obvious this one is, but don’t underestimate the power of websites when you are building your brand. A well-designed, easy to read and mobile optimized website is going to be a huge win for your customers. It can absolutely make or break a business.
Don’t underestimate the power of websites when you are building your brand.
One survey by Deloitte titled The Restaurant of the Future: Creating the Next Generation Customer Experience indicated that 85% of customers took a look at restaurant’s menu online as they were deciding whether or not to visit for the first time. The ones who do return are likely to spend more money at your establishment, also.
The critical component here is to make sure that your online menu scales to fit smartphones and works well on mobile browsers. Do not include any tabs or drop-down menus, as these tend to obscure text on your page. Use neutral colors that are easy to read.
Customers also really care about ingredients and what’s in what you are making. Do your best to list what each and every dish entail and denote if it is inclusive for a dinner with a dietary need: gluten free, wheat free, vegan/vegetarian to name a few.
Restaurant Mobile Apps
You can use these technologies for a wide variety of promotions and deals that will entice customers, such as menu viewing, food order placement, and even delivery.
The same survey we mentioned earlier showed that a great majority of those who responded-70%, in fact, looked for apps that delivered offers that were personalized.
Nearly half of diners in the USA enjoyed using on-demand food delivery that they access through the use of an app.
Customer loyalty programs, reviews, and other tools can also be performed through the use of an app. Most of the time, these apps are found in really huge restaurant chains, but it may behoove you to seek out a developer who may be able to create an app if your establishment has enough business, or is a regional chain, for example.
Using an app makes it way easier to attract new customers, too. After all, many people like to see what you offer first before they step inside. Be sure that if you do develop an app, you keep it clean and uncluttered.
Reward the customer when they open the app with a discount or free item once a dollar amount is reached. Engagement options are virtually limitless with mobile apps.
Restaurant Social Media
Here is a huge opportunity to connect with your customers using a method they already know about. The chances for you to interact with your clientele are numerous, and there are a few different and great ideas you can use to get your brand off the ground and into the heads of the people you want to bring in.
For starters, ask some questions. Show you really care about what people think. Occasionally inviting your diners to provide feedback might be a little scary, but you are able to tap into what your consumers are thinking and see where their minds are when they think about your establishment.
In this manner, you can find out ways to improve your operation and foster brand loyalty at the same time.
You can ask fun questions like:
- What do you love about eating out?
- What’s your favorite drink?
- What charity should we sponsor?
You can also use Social Media to create a hub of information for your guests. Post news about your establishment, talk about specials and post photos of your new and tasty meals. You can work with a restaurant marketing agency like Promotable Media to get the best results.
People will eventually see it as a place to get information and continue to come back as a means of finding out what’s new.
Chatbots for Your Restaurant
Chatbots are becoming pretty mainstream when it comes to the industry. They offer answers to all the basic questions without being super intrusive to customers.
They are designed to interact with customers in a way that is both meaningful and helpful, and they can be integrated with a variety of interfaces like Facebook, Telegram or Slack.
Customer retention and loyalty are critical to the solvency of a business, especially ones that are based in hospitality and/or service.
Therefore, it is necessary that you exceed all expectations especially when you are talking about customer service. When it comes to ordering some items, making a reservation, or even asking about ingredients, it is nearly impossible to make every customer happy which can give a negative image to your restaurant’s brand.
But using a chatbot means customers don’t have to make a call to the establishment. They can simply talk to an AI bot which can be programmed to make reservations, answer basic questions, order food and then takes the payment for said food.
This frees up your staff to focus all their attention on the customers already inside your restaurant. Plus, chatbots never close and work around the clock.
Augmented Reality in Restaurants
Imagine if your customers were able to project an image of a meal you create using their smart device.
That burger, sandwich, cupcake or steak might look pretty appetizing and entice them to order.
That’s what’s currently happening at Magnolia Bakery in New York, where customers can check out the catering menu by projecting virtual images of the pastries offered via their mobile devices. It has proved to be very popular.
This tech is making its rounds, and soon you might see more than a few hungry customers staring at their devices, visualizing what they would like to eat.
Large corporations like Coca Cola and even regional chains like Bareburger in NYC have paired up with AI companies to bring a new experience to customers and get them interested in what’s offered.
Put the Power in Their Hands
Touchscreen tablet menus are a huge hit with young customers, especially those aged 24-35. One study by Accenture Loyalty found that over half of customers in that age bracket are more loyal to brands that were letting them create something that was unique and tailored to their individual needs.
Tablet menus are indeed great. You can make it very easy for customers to create and customize just what they want to eat with just a few easy taps and clicks.
And unlike printed menus, you can utilize an endless amount of space to make your words count and tell diners all they need to know.
Some technology even includes prompts that offer popular add-on products and upsells to customers for different menu items.
Tablet menus are designed to stay right at the table while your customer dines. When they want another app or desire another drink, all that has to be done is touching the “reorder” button instead of having to wait for a server to come by again.
Plus, this method is great if your establishment tends to be rather noisy or features live music.
Simplifying Payment Experience
One great way to engage guests is to make their payment experience a breeze. The vast majority of guests desire a payment experience that is smooth and lacks any sort of friction. But only a few of us have the tech to make it happen. What can we do to change this and in turn boost brand loyalty?
The vast majority of guests desire a payment experience that is smooth and lacks any sort of friction.
Your POS system is a big factor here. If you have upgraded to an mPOS, you are able to process card payments right at the table as well as NFC mobile or “contactless” methods of payment. By using a mobile POS, you can scan a diner’s smartphone and take their Apple Pay or Samsung Pay to settle the bill.
Having this great tech can also help you make the payment process go a lot faster. If a guest is ready to leave, they really hate waiting around to get their check and then wait for the server to come back with their credit or debit card.
Tablet menus are great because guests can simply pull up the bill, pay at the table, tip their server and leave on their own terms, which is a huge win.
We shall close this article regarding popular restaurant technologies that build brand loyalty by going back to the basics and talking about text messages.
Text messages are great for a variety of reasons. You can get customers to sign up for text alerts by offering them a free product for signing up. By sending them a coupon that gives them a free app, dessert or other coupons, you increase the chance they will come back.
The chain Texas Roadhouse, for instance, garnered over 60,000 subscribers to its mobile subscription list over a year thanks to its loyalty calls to actions, says Retail Dive.
What do you think? What technologies will build brand loyalty? Email us your thoughts (email@example.com) or ask us a question – we’d love to hear from you!
Partner at Longitude°
Jeremy is a Partner at Longitude°. He’s also the author of “Future Hospitality”, a book focused on how branding can create more impactful guest experiences. Additionally, he’s an honored member of the Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) Education Committee and has spoken at industry events and associations including AAHOA, Global Hospitality Summit, Hospitality Talks, and more.