A New Trend Happening Among Restaurants
Have you noticed that more and more restaurants are replacing their paper menus with QR codes or mobile apps? The reason behind this phenomenon is easy to understand: the younger generation is far more likely to use technological innovations to order and pay. So, embracing technology is the latest trend in attracting Generation Z consumers.
During COVID-19, our dining behaviour underwent some extraordinary changes, especially among Gen Z. Research from Momentive shows that one-third of Gen Z are more likely to order from restaurants that offer contactless ordering and payments. In fact, 37% of Gen Z say that the ability to order and pay by mobile phone will drive them to choose one restaurant over another. Since Gen Zers were born in the technology era, they are the most enthusiastic when it comes to technology and convenience. Nowadays, apart from the food quality, the restaurants’ digital experience becomes a greater priority for the Gen Z cohort and, even the Millennials group.
5 Effective Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurants in 2022
1. 24/7 Customer Service by ChatBot
Reputation goes a long way in any business, but especially so in the catering industry. Make sure to utilise all your marketing channels to maintain reactive and proactive customer experience and engagement. It’s a good idea to automate a series of instant responses, answering different common enquiries as soon as you create your own WhatsApp Business.
For example, when customers are asking about your restaurant’s food menu or promotion offer, they can be answered by the customised chatbot immediately and accurately. According to a study by PeterConnects, 72% of overall survey respondents agreed that WhatsApp makes customer contact more informal. It allows restaurants to communicate quickly with customers on a large scale without the need for massive manpower.
2. Create an Attractive Digital Menu
For every customer, the food menu is the very first thing handed to them when they are deciding what to eat, it represents your restaurant’s first impression and helps stimulate the taste of customers. Research by TouchBistro has shown that 94% of youngsters check online menus before dining out. So, a well-designed digital menu matters to your restaurant.
To create a successful digital menu, you must first build up your website page or set up a WhatsApp Catalogue, then design a personalised layout to contain all your restaurant’s information including mouthwatering food pictures, selling prices, ingredients, food descriptions and more. After establishing the digital menu, those people who have not come into your restaurant yet can find your menu by searching on Google or clicking via social media channels; meanwhile, those people who are already in your restaurant can scan the QR code and get into the digital menu directly.
3. Set Up WhatsApp Ordering
Delivering delicious food to hungry customers is a race against time. Compared to ordering through human staff, a digital platform for self-service ordering can greatly shorten the time needed and minimise the possibility of wrong orders. Among different online ordering platforms, the most cost-effective and yet easy-to-use one seems to be WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Business API offers a range of practical functions to support online ordering such as delivery status updates, supplying in-app payments, showing the delivery status in real time, checking on the payment status and delivering offers messages. Once an ordering bot is on, the customers can just simply message in their order list, and then the bot will understand the items and pass the order to the chef to prepare. Integrating WhatsApp into your restaurant’s communication strategy is an important enabler to deliver a food ordering service efficiently.
4. Online Reservation Service
No matter what size your restaurant is, it’s a good idea to activate an online reservation system. Nowadays, 90% of people looking to book a table at a restaurant want the ability to book online. Apart from calling restaurants to check the booking availability, younger customers prefer to check online. A survey by CGA 11also discovered that there was a rise in pre-bookings during the COVID-19 pandemic. From finding a new restaurant online to making online bookings, having an online reservation system creates a seamless customer experience.
An online booking system for restaurants not only gives you a competitive edge over other traditional restaurants but also assists staff in managing bookings and in their job preparation. For example, staff can estimate whether the restaurant is fully booked for a specific day, and they can manage and plan the capacity and job allocation in advance. A reliable online reservation service is good for everyone in the restaurant, from your staff to your customers.
5. Discount Incentive for Loyal Customers
Engaging with loyal or current customers is something important that you should never ignore. After a new customer sends a message to your WhatsApp Business, his/her personal information (e.g., name, contact number) comes together. After that, it would be good to integrate and consolidate this customer information into a CRM system database.
When there are any seasonal promotions or regular discount offers, you can take advantage of your customer data to send out marketing messages to these customers via SMS or WhatsApp. Statistics show that SMS messages have a high opening rate of 97%; while WhatsApp has an even higher open rate of 98%. The use of customer data management serves as a golden tactic for restaurants to retarget old customers with new incentives.
HKT’s BizWise solutions leverage multi-channels including WhatsApp, SMS and Smart Wi-Fi with a centralized portal to provide a fully responsive digital service to help businesses to streamline their operation flow, answer enquiries automatically, send bulk promotional messages, manage customer data and more.
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