How to Grow Your Restaurant With Data-Driven Restaurant Marketing

As the restaurant industry continues to pivot to digital solutions in 2020, data is now more critical than ever before. The highlight of every successful restaurant marketing strategy is the ability to drive one more visit from every guest.

Any restaurateur who has used 3rd party ordering services is familiar with how constraining 3rd party commission fees can be, so much that breaking even is such an uphill struggle. Some of these apps have lowered their commission fees during this pandemic, but it’s still not enough to help local restaurants thrive. By owning your ordering, you’ll save those 25-35% commission dollars, but that’s not where the advantage ends.

Owning your ordering system gives you control over your customer data

The bedrock of every successful restaurant marketing strategy these days is customer data. With data, you can connect with your customers and strengthen your relationship with them. Most 3rd party ordering and delivery apps have the popularity, but any guest who buys from your restaurant through a 3rd party marketplace is never really your customer. Rather, they are the 3rd party's customer because the 3rd party owns their data, not you. 

person holding rice toppings
Photo by Jacky Tan on Unsplash

While using a popular 3rd-party app sounds great in theory, you are competing for limited attention amidst the noise of tons of other restaurants without any unique experience. This means that even if it’s convenient to have a 3rd party delivery app handle all your orders and deliveries, you have to give up customer data along with your brand experience in exchange. Hence, you lose out on all that valuable information, along with other metrics that would help you grow your restaurant and your customer relationship.

If you own your data, on the other hand, you will know who exactly is ordering from you. You will also be able to interact with them directly and market to them in a customized and personalized way. 

Customers still prefer to order directly from restaurants.

Also, according to Upserve, 90% of guests research a restaurant online before dining — a huge deal more than any other type of business. 57% of those guests view restaurant websites before selecting where to dine. So this proves that while 3rd party delivery apps are hugely popular, diners will always prefer ordering directly from restaurants. 

Wouldn’t you rather seize the opportunity to create a genuine connection with a prospective customer, as opposed to passing it on to a 3rd party?

When you decide to be first-party oriented, you get full control. You will be able to manage your takeout and delivery order. You will also be able to collect and manage every piece of data your customers provide to you and track their journey from passive user to loyal customer. With the power of data and information, you can contact your customers directly, send them great offers, re-target them, and fully automate the process — your restaurant, your customers. A fully-branded service start to finish.

2.7 billion people use Facebook Messenger every month via Statista

As you can see in the image above, people generally prefer to use Messenger in texting a lot more than traditional SMS. With 1 billion daily active users worldwide, it presents a huge potential for reaching (and engaging more customers).

According to Statista, 11% of the world’s population uses Facebook Messenger every month. Take this vast popularity and add automation to it, then, boom! You will be able to turn your restaurant’s social media page into an order-taking machine!

Messenger’s user experience is also significantly more intuitive than SMS. With inbuilt UI elements like carousels, quick response buttons, and even checkout cards, your customers can start and complete orders right in Messenger without ever having to leave the app.

However, while Messenger is so hugely popular, it doesn’t mean you have to abandon it. Instead, what you can do is to synergize the two media of communication and get the best out of both. The great thing is that both means of communication can be automated, and can work together.

AI can turn your Facebook page into a data collection machine.

Artificial Intelligence is advancing very rapidly and impacting many industries. When people hear about AI, their minds usually go to the stuff of sci-fi movies. But AI is also present in everyday environments like social media. One of the most critical applications of AI is the use of automated messaging technology.

Artificial intelligence presents a great way to interact with your guests, receive orders, and send promotional offers to your customers right in their inboxes. It provide a fully automated interactive experience. When a user interacts with AI, it is so intuitive that it feels like they are chatting with someone. 


A real-world example of text-to-order automation in action

One location of the Cold Stone Creamery Chicago franchise enlisted JoyUp’s help in setting up a Facebook Messenger-based delivery/takeout ordering and payment system. We launched a Facebook campaign and automated the whole process.

We set up an AI-powered data collection system that provided Cold Stone Lockport with an easy way to capture online orders. We made it very easy for their prospective customers to start and complete orders right in Facebook Messenger, without the need to rely heavily on websites or mobile apps, which typically have high drop-off rates.

Text-to-order journey of re-engaged customer

In 30 days, from just one campaign, Cold Stone Lockport received:

  • 2095 new opt-ins at the cost of only $0.23 per opt-in
  • 229 unique customers who spent $2635.80

The power of re-targeting with SMS automation in restaurant marketing

Re-targeting is a digital marketing technique that puts your restaurant back on the radar for users who have already interacted with your ad. Re-targeting with SMS automation helps you schedule text messages ahead of time and reconnect with these users with great offers. Doing so saves time while keeping your restaurant top-of-mind long after that initial contact.

SMS automation helps you send great offers at intervals to re-engage subscribers

With artificial intelligence marketing powered by SMS automation, you can collect data and make targeted moves to specific customer sets through direct messages, text messaging, and ads super easily.

You also benefit from analytics to track your customers, allowing you to automate your messages according to sequences, day or time.

In conclusion...

If you want to capture more dollars from your customers, you need to differentiate your restaurant marketing strategy by making data-based decisions. 

To have full control of your data and get significantly more ROI, you must embrace a first-party, commission-free setting. Since you own your data in a first-party system, you can create a unified view of each customer and convert your insights into one-to-one communications. 

With a data-driven marketing strategy, you can create more personal, more purposeful experiences that not just earn you customers, but also keep coming back for more.

Commission-free ordering from JoyUp

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