When was the last time you check your phone? or use it to research online? ( I wouldn't be surprise if you are reading this from your phone) Believe it or not with a mobile app you could get 98% of your customers attention, just take a second to imagine about all the benefits that could bring to your restaurants.
If you target market is millennials and your restaurants are not or their phone, (through a mobile app, mobile site or mobile search) chances are they will not know who your are, meaning your restaurants do not exist in their world. Whether you like it or not chances are your competitor is getting a mobile app.
Many restaurants ask me this question, why would my restaurants need a mobile app? The answer is why not? Let’s take a look at the benefits and at the end of this article you could come up with your own conclusion...
Getting 98% of your customers attention: Where else would you be able to get this much attention from your customers? How can you use this attention to your advantage? Let’s say you have an special event coming up, a new item in the menu, a holiday invitation or any other reason to get your customers to come back to your restaurants. A mobile app allows you to send a notification through your restaurants mobile app announcing and inviting your customers to visit your restaurants. According to statistics 98% of notifications get open, which means 98% of your customers could read your invitation or promotion.
Your restaurant in your customers hands: Imagine your restaurants information on your customers hands available for them all the time. They would not have to go on the internet to find your restaurant near them or a phone number or make a reservation. All your customers have to do is go your your restaurants’ app and find all they need right there, at the palm of there hands.
Increase sales: Imagine, it’s peak time, (breakfast, lunch or dinner) and your restaurants sends a notification to all your customers about lunch specials, happy hour or whatever you have going on during those hours. Your customers receive the invitation right at the moment they are probably making a decision on where to go, changes are, if your special is appealing, they would pick yours. I love the restaurant industry, it has the advantage that one customer usually brings more customers, (eating is social, people usually prefer to eat with company). Therefore, for every customer that takes action after a notification, it means at least 1 more person is impacted, which in short could mean double your results and an increase in your sales.
Restaurants go to food and wine festivals for several reason, outreach the local community, exposure to the restaurant, among others. But at the end of the day, they are all looking to get more customers, create customer relation which at the end it all leads to more sales.
How to properly prepare for a food festival and really take advantage of it? I am not going to state the obvious about the food and the supplies needed for the festival, you are restaurant experts probably know more than me in that aspect. I am referring to getting all the marketing pieces together to give a wow experience to your customers, that is my area of expertise. Believe or not it all starts online, even if you are at a food festival, chances are visitors, which most cases are food lovers, research online the restaurants that are going to be participating. If your restaurant makes a good impression chances are visitors would be going there first. However, if by any chance your restaurant image online (including your website, reviews, Facebook page, etc) does not make the expected impression, they will go to the next restaurant. Even if you do not like technology, do not use your phone, you do not check reviews, your customers DO.
This is a checklist of essentials you need to make a good impression and create customer retention after the food festival:
Create a good impression
make sure your website is up-to-date, the menu is your current menu, your contact information is accurate, etc. Consumers tend to get frustrated when incorrect information is given. Have something on your website that encourages them to visit you at the food festival.
Mobile friendly website
, most people use their phone when researching. It is very important that your restaurant's website is easy to navigate on a smartphone (meaning no pinching and zooming). They might research your restaurant before and during the food festival.
Your reviews online,
do you know what your score is on Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, etc? If you are not sure about this, take the time research it (just type on Google your restaurant name and all these review sites will come up) If you do not have reviews (maybe you are too new) thats OK these food festivals are a great opportunity to do so.
having a mobile app for your restaurant is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and create customers retention. During the food festival is a great opportunity to promote your app have a poster with all the advantages of your restaurant app and a QR so they can scan it and download it on their phones. If you already have an app, send a notification to all your customers and let them know you are going to be at that festival, you will be surprise how many will respond a visit.
take advantage of these food festivals to build your customer database. You could use this database to send them promotions or special events, staying in touch is key.
its time to collect reviews, make it easy for your customers to give you a review. You could have a QR they can scan on their smartphone
Preparation is key to the success of your restaurant at a food festival. Have your marketing elements prepared, make a good impression even before they visit your booth and use technology to stay closer to your customers while creating customer retention.
Restaurants are probably the local business that is affected the most by online reviews. Many restaurant managers noticed a decrease in their sales and they can't figure out what is affecting their sales, their restaurant online image could be the real cause of this decrease in sales. Online reviews could help fill your tables The statistics speak for themselves, 89% of consumers research a restaurant online before eating there. Imagine out of 100 people interested in your restaurant 89 of them will research it online before even visiting it. Let’s take a minute to walk to the process diners do when looking for a place to eat:
The first thing diners usually do, it is to go online to search for a restaurant for a delicious meal. They either use their phone, a computer or a tablet.
Let’s say, they use Google, the largest search engine to do the search. The typical keywords used to find local restaurants are: restaurants plus whatever city they are in.
The first results typically Google provides are from Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Opentable and any other rating sites.
82% of consumers consider user generator reviews important or extremely important. Therefore, sure enough diners tend to jump to the review sites. In most cases, unless they researched or heard about those restaurants before, the reviews are the only reliable source they have about it at that point.
Once diners select a couple of restaurants solely based on the reviews. 95% of consumers use reviews and 86% say they are essential when making purchase decisions. According to the statistic, the selection of the restaurant is pretty much based on the reviews seen on these sites. (Do you know what your customers are writing on these review sites about your restaurant?)
After using the reviews as a reference for the first part of their selection (most important one), they confirm their decision by visiting the restaurants’ website. Based on that online research, dines finally make the decision and choose one restaurant. At this point, diners have have made their decision and probably not even spoken to the restaurant. All the decision was solely made based on the online reputation and online presentation of that specific restaurant.
These are the typical steps a diner takes when choosing a restaurant. It is surprising how more and more diners are merely using the internet to make their decision. You as a restaurant owners/managers should take action and show diners that your restaurant is their best option, otherwise they will choose your competitor. So, the 89 out of 100 people looking for a restaurant to eat trust reviews and rely on the online image of a restaurant, if you are not up to the standards of your customers are you willing to lose 89 consumers out of a 100? Why not give reviews a high priority on the marketing strategy for your restaurant?
Conclusion Many restaurant owners and managers are unaware of what their customers are saying online and it's affecting their restaurant in a daily basis, in many cases dropping their sales.
Taking into account that restaurants, like many other local business, are highly affected by online reviews. It surprises me how many listings on Yelp are unclaimed, (meaning that restaurant owners or managers are not aware of the existence of this listing and worst of all they are not aware of what their customers are saying on this important website.) Keep in mind that 95% of consumers use reviews and 86% say they are essential when making purchase decisions. Let’s pay attention to online reviews and really take advantage of this amazing marketing tool for your restaurant.