Restaurant Technologies That Build Brand Loyalty

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.

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.

Text Messages

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.

In Closing

What do you think? What technologies will build brand loyalty? Email us your thoughts (info@longitudebranding.com) or ask us a question – we’d love to hear from you!

Top 8 Restaurant Marketing Trends in 2019

Restaurant marketing trends are rapidly changing as tech, consumer desires, and food choices change. Thankfully, it will only take a little information and social media know how to stay on top of the greatest restaurant trends in 2019.

Read on to find out our top 8 methods for you and your team to stay on top and increase your establishment’s traffic.

Chatbots

For lead generation, the future lies in chatbots. This tech tool is on the rise and is taking over customer service for many brands you already know and love. One firm, Gartner, predicts that by 2020 85% of customer interaction will be handled by chatbots.

Give a try to this feature using SMS and Facebook Messenger. You can set up this option for your restaurant on Facebook and setting up an autoresponse message.

Are you getting lots of inquiries about operating hours for holidays or about reservations during the busy season? Include a response that has this information contained, plus any other of your restaurant’s frequently asked questions.

If you do not have an answer to your question, set up an auto-message with an instruction to call the restaurant directly or include wait time for response.

Bots are not only a great way to scale communication, but they are also around the clock solution for your customers and audience.

In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, they will bolster your response rate on Facebook, which in turn improves SEO and the chance that your restaurant is recommended by other patrons.

Transparency in What’s Offered

Another critical component of restaurant branding this year is ensuring that your consumer base is clued into what is offered at your restaurant.

With the amount of information available online from reviews to images of food, diners are more aware than ever of shortcomings regarding meals sold at restaurants and brand experiences.

It is critical to your restaurant’s good health that all photos of your meals are updated and accurate on your website as well as other social media channels.

Furthermore, ensuring accuracy and understanding the way you describe the “vibe” or ambiance of your place in the “about” and “history” areas of Facebook and other review sites like Yelp and its competitors can help you see if you have really captured the attention of your patrons.

Mobile is King

If you want your restaurant to soar, and be as popular as possible, optimize your site for mobile. Lots of consumers are checking out their eating choices on the go, not having the time to sit at a desktop or crack open a laptop.

The search engine algorithms of Google value mobile performance for your website. In this manner, you should devote the bulk of your restaurant marketing efforts to keeping your site and app running in top form.

You can also broaden your options for digital restaurant marketing too. For instance, you can set up in-app contests for free food, promos and other special discounts inside your restaurant.

Your best bet is to adopt the following strategies:

  • Take a minimalist approach. Even though tech in advance and phone screens are huge, you should avoid clutter and unnecessary menus. Avoid drop downs because other content gets blocked.
  • Make your design focus on the image. Avoid bright colors and lots of text and details. Put an emphasis on the food itself, and make use of simple, contrasting hues.
  • Go the extra mile for a great hosting service. Do not allow your site to crash or load slowly. A low response rate coupled with lots of content leads to a negative impact on SEO.

Let Me Upgrade You…On Social Media

Every piece of content that is on your website should also be present on your social media pages. Some might argue that social media advertising is on the decline, but more than half of restaurants use social media platforms as a means of advertising.

It is still the most popular solution for advertising against any other form of outbound marketing. One great way to increase your influence on social media is to complete different tasks onto different platforms.

Many marketers in the restaurant and hotel branding industry advertise their businesses in the same way on every social media platform. However, you should separate different varieties of content to make them work with one another, instead of against one another.

Some strategies include:

  • Use Facebook for posts and text. This is the one that is least focused on brevity and visuals in terms of content. Use this platform for your more informative content.
  • Instagram, on the other hand, is visual in nature. 2019 will be huge in terms of visual representations of food. Upload short videos and show the “vibe” of your place through video.
  • Twitter can be used to pose questions and conduct polls to your target audience.
  • LinkedIn can be used for written content. Recruit new team members and bring in other industry professionals using this platform.

Visuals of Food

It’s okay to outsource some tasks. In marketing, we sometimes think it is better to save money by not spending it when it’s not really necessary.

But given what we know about 2019 being a huge year for visual food representation, a photographer will be a worthy investment. Do not save a few dollars now and miss out on spending from customers of the future.

Take all the chances you get to make your restaurant more enticing to consumers. On your ads and social media be sure you include photographs that are high-quality and professional. After all, food cannot be experienced from afar.

Photographers know what makes something visually memorable. Work with them to make your food look as appealing as possible. This will also give your restaurant something of a luxury vibe-so don’t be afraid to display them proudly on social media platforms.

Furthermore, do not be afraid to recycle old content and re-use photos. People will take note of your brand and your attention to great detail in doing so.

Dive into Content Marketing

Hotel marketing and restaurant marketing need content marketing sectors. You simply cannot avoid them. Offering top quality food is meaningless if you cannot direct your audience to it.

As a means of increasing brand awareness, place your brand so that people will always be directed to it.

You can do this in many different ways.

  • Put written content that correlates to the food you are selling. Connect the act of eating with culture and create a feeling for your consumer.
  • Provide top-notch descriptions and high-res pictures for each dish on your restaurant’s website.
  • Provide other creative content. Do video tours of your banquet rooms, show your method of making a signature dish, interview your staff and have them give recommendations.

Nutrition for the Masses

One thing consumers care about now more than ever is their health and well-being. If you want to improve repeat business, show them that you care, and you are in the loop too. People now really care what their food is made of as well as how it tastes.

Customers want dishes that are nutritious and taste great at the same time. This change in what matters to consumers means you must adjust your marketing to fit the needs of your audience. Many famous restaurants have incorporated messages about health and nutrition into their advertising campaigns.

To aid in your quest of attracting more customers that value nutrition, have a look at these ideas:

  • It is important to include calories, fats, and other nutritional guidelines. However, people do not respond to this information as much as they used to anymore. Make your ads something that connects your food to good health, positive feelings and wholesomeness of ingredients.
  • Put the human element into your advertising. People who are in good shape and smiling about your food will make consumers feel good about coming to your dining establishment.
  • Nature is one way to show off the natural good taste and ethical sourcing of your food. You can photograph your food in a natural setting, or even place it on a stump or chunk of wood as it adds an organic and natural feel to the entire ad.
  • Be sure to do your photos in such a way that is minimal – meaning light and colors are focused solely on your food’s natural colors and textures.

Plant-Based Marketing

In the same vein as natural and organic food, many consumers are seeking a plant-based option for dining. This has been on the rise globally, moving from being a niche market to a mainstream fixture in recent years.

Different regions handle this in different ways, and in 2019 it is predicted that the normalization of plant-based diets will be prevalent. This means less talk of health and more focus on eating foods like burgers, nuggets and other comfort foods like pizza that are plant-based.

There will also be a large influence from vegan culture and greater interest and desire for dairy-free products like almond milk and coconut ice cream.

Conclusion

Tell us what you think what will be the biggest restaurant marketing trend in 2019? We would love to hear from you and get more ideas. Join us on our private Facebook Community: Restaurant Owners Startup & Growth!

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