Top 5 Digital Restaurant Marketing Tools You Need (2018 Update)

Enrique Estagle

1 August 2017    |   

In today’s restaurant marketing, digital marketing is the name of the game. If you want to succeed in the restaurant industry, billboards and newspaper ads will no longer cut it. QSR Web reported that 2017 would be the year of digital marketing for restaurants. If you weren’t able to keep up with it last year, don’t worry! 2018 doesn’t look to be any different either according to Eagle Eye. The reports also noted that more restaurants are increasing their digital marketing spend. The numbers don’t lie. If you want to be at the top of the game in the food service business, you need to be able to adjust to the times and use digital marketing tools that will help you get a leg up on the competition. Here are 5 tools that will help your restaurant get ahead of the curve and succeed in the digital marketing space: Website Maker / Content Management System According to SinglePlatform and research firm Chadwick Martin, restaurants are the single most searched industry online — both on desktop and mobile browsers. That means that having a website for your restaurant is equivalent to having a good first impression in today’s digital marketplace. In a Huffington Post article, ChowNow founder Christopher Webb broke down what an effective restaurant website looks like: Creating a website for your restaurant may be an intimidating task, but worry not! You don’t necessarily need to learn how to code or hire someone to design and run your website. There are numerous website makers and content management systems available that handles everything from domain name registration, down to scheduled blog posting. Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace all offer easy-to-use website management solutions. Social Media Management Applications Just like having your own website, having a strong social media presence is an absolute must for every restaurant who wants to up their restaurant marketing game. According to Sprout’s Q3 2016 Social Index, three-quarters of the people surveyed “purchased a product because they saw it on social media.” What this means is if you’re not visibly active on social media, you’re missing out on a large customer base. An excellent social media strategy for your restaurant marketing is one that involves engaging with your customers all the time. The sky’s the limit when thinking about ways you can use social media to promote your restaurant. Kairay Media has 30 tips on social media marketing for restaurants – here are our top seven favorites and takeaways from that list: Create your own and ride on trending hashtags Conduct photo contests Reward customer check-ins Post videos — especially those of chefs preparing your restaurant’s best-selling menu items Keep it fun and friendly — there’s no need to be serious Post images with relevant quotes Encourage customers to post reviews A dedicated social media manager can be a valuable member of your restaurant. But you or someone else from your existing team can handle this task just as well. It’s all about scheduling posts well in advance, ensuring that your restaurant’s social media accounts have fresh content every single day. Hootsuite is the market leader in social media management applications. It not only lets you schedule posts way in advance for multiple accounts, but it also gives you real-time customer insights. Email Marketing Solutions Some people might take it for granted, but email can have a huge impact on your restaurant’s digital marketing efforts. According to a 2015 report from the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing can have a return on investment (ROI) of $38 for every $1 spent. That’s almost one entrée earned for every dollar spent. Beyond the simple weekly newsletter, there are a lot of ways you can incorporate the use of emails in your restaurant marketing. Turnstyle has a deep-dive guide on the topic. Out of the numerous suggestions given, here are some we liked: Announce new items, as well as those that you’re about to take out of the menu. Both will draw loyal customers back to your restaurant in no time Send out invites for upcoming events, especially during holidays Share recipes created by your chefs Conduct surveys to get more insights from your customers Send special email messages for customers who haven’t visited your restaurant for a long time (30 to 90 days) On a customer’s birthday, make sure you send them a “happy birthday” email message MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are the top-of-mind solutions for email marketing. Intercom can also do email marketing, as well as other customer relationship management features. Online Table Reservations Since the 20th century, customers have either called or walked in advance at a restaurant to place a reservation. Restaurateurs, in turn, jot their names on the reservation book and wait for their arrival on the day itself. Who would’ve thought that taking this task to the digital age can also be an effective restaurant marketing technique? Online table reservation sites are taking the restaurant industry by storm. These companies perfectly cater to the growing millennial market by letting them reserve a table at any restaurant through the web or a mobile application. This makes the whole process quick and easy. Other benefits of using online table reservations for restaurant reservations are: Removing the old-school, paper-based reservation book with the online reservation system easily integrated with your restaurant’s PoS Have a more detailed account of the upcoming forecast, giving you the ability to better manage your inventory and staff shift schedules Get recognized by more people as your restaurant is listed on their site Opentable is the company that first comes to mind when talking about online table reservations. Its Airbnb-like system makes it easy for customers to book. It also can be integrated into a restaurant’s PoS or your restaurant’s existing website with a widget. Yelp now also has its own reservations service that is integrated within its review platform. Online Reviews Speaking of Yelp. Yes, it can be the bane of your restaurant, but online reviews are important in the customer’s decision-making. According to a BrightLocal report, 84% of people surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And that same report noted that 7 out of 10 consumers will review a business if they are asked to. Serving great food and delivering excellent table service is the key for a good reputation for your restaurant. But that has to translate to tons of reviews online. The Toast Blog shared 4 ways to improve how your restaurant performs on online review sites: Promote your restaurants beyond liking on Facebook or following on Twitter. Tell them that they can check out your restaurant on Yelp or TripAdvisor Ask (or invite) your customers to review your restaurant. You can do it after they’ve settled the check, or through email Create a dedicated landing page on your website just for reviews, featuring sample entries from previous customers Conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to sift the promoters from the detractors In today’s world, what you and your customer say online is as good as gospel. That is why it is important for any restaurateur to invest in restaurant marketing – especially in their digital marketing. By using these online marketing tools, we guarantee that your restaurant will get more customers at any time of the day.

In today’s restaurant marketing, digital marketing is the name of the game. If you want to succeed in the restaurant industry, billboards and newspaper ads will no longer cut it. QSR Web reported that 2017 would be the year of digital marketing for restaurants. If you weren’t able to keep up with it last year, don’t worry! 2018 doesn’t look to be any different either according to Eagle Eye. The reports also noted that more restaurants are increasing their digital marketing spend.

The numbers don’t lie. If you want to be at the top of the game in the food service business, you need to be able to adjust to the times and use digital marketing tools that will help you get a leg up on the competition.

Here are 5 tools that will help your restaurant get ahead of the curve and succeed in the digital marketing space:

1

Website Maker / Content Management System

According to SinglePlatform and research firm Chadwick Martin, restaurants are the single most searched industry online — both on desktop and mobile browsers. That means that having a website for your restaurant is equivalent to having a good first impression in today’s digital marketplace.

In a Huffington Post article, ChowNow founder Christopher Webb broke down what an effective restaurant website looks like:

An effective website for your restaurant marketing should have 1.) A homepage with the most important information on the top half of the page, supported by enticing photography, 2.) A dedicated section for your menu and a page for regular and special promotions, 3.) An online reservation system, 4.) A regularly updated blog to boost your SEO ranking and and a dedicated section featuring reviews and other articles from your local press outlets, and 5.) Chef and staff profiles and links to social media accounts

Creating a website for your restaurant may be an intimidating task, but worry not! You don’t necessarily need to learn how to code or hire someone to design and run your website. There are numerous website makers and content management systems available that handles everything from domain name registration, down to scheduled blog posting. Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace all offer easy-to-use website management solutions.

2

Social Media Management Applications

Just like having your own website, having a strong social media presence is an absolute must for every restaurant who wants to up their restaurant marketing game.

According to Sprout’s Q3 2016 Social Index, three-quarters of the people surveyed “purchased a product because they saw it on social media.” What this means is if you’re not visibly active on social media, you’re missing out on a large customer base.

An excellent social media strategy for your restaurant marketing is one that involves engaging with your customers all the time.

The sky’s the limit when thinking about ways you can use social media to promote your restaurant. Kairay Media has 30 tips on social media marketing for restaurants – here are our top seven favorites and takeaways from that list:

  • Create your own and ride on trending hashtags
  • Conduct photo contests
  • Reward customer check-ins
  • Post videos — especially those of chefs preparing your restaurant’s best-selling menu items
  • Keep it fun and friendly — there’s no need to be serious
  • Post images with relevant quotes
  • Encourage customers to post reviews

A dedicated social media manager can be a valuable member of your restaurant. But you or someone else from your existing team can handle this task just as well. It’s all about scheduling posts well in advance, ensuring that your restaurant’s social media accounts have fresh content every single day.

Hootsuite is the market leader in social media management applications. It not only lets you schedule posts way in advance for multiple accounts, but it also gives you real-time customer insights.

3

Email Marketing Solutions

Some people might take it for granted, but email can have a huge impact on your restaurant’s digital marketing efforts.

According to a 2015 report from the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing can have a return on investment (ROI) of $38 for every $1 spent. That’s almost one entrée earned for every dollar spent.

Beyond the simple weekly newsletter, there are a lot of ways you can incorporate the use of emails in your restaurant marketing. Turnstyle has a deep-dive guide on the topic. Out of the numerous suggestions given, here are some we liked:

  • Announce new items, as well as those that you’re about to take out of the menu. Both will draw loyal customers back to your restaurant in no time
  • Send out invites for upcoming events, especially during holidays
  • Share recipes created by your chefs
  • Conduct surveys to get more insights from your customers
  • Send special email messages for customers who haven’t visited your restaurant for a long time (30 to 90 days)
  • On a customer’s birthday, make sure you send them a “happy birthday” email message

MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are the top-of-mind solutions for email marketing. Intercom can also do email marketing, as well as other customer relationship management features.

4

Online Table Reservations

Since the 20th century, customers have either called or walked in advance at a restaurant to place a reservation. Restaurateurs, in turn, jot their names on the reservation book and wait for their arrival on the day itself.

Who would’ve thought that taking this task to the digital age can also be an effective restaurant marketing technique? Online table reservation sites are taking the restaurant industry by storm. These companies perfectly cater to the growing millennial market by letting them reserve a table at any restaurant through the web or a mobile application. This makes the whole process quick and easy.

Other benefits of using online table reservations for restaurant reservations are:

  • Removing the old-school, paper-based reservation book with the online reservation system easily integrated with your restaurant’s PoS
  • Have a more detailed account of the upcoming forecast, giving you the ability to better manage your inventory and staff shift schedules
  • Get recognized by more people as your restaurant is listed on their site

Opentable is the company that first comes to mind when talking about online table reservations. Its Airbnb-like system makes it easy for customers to book. It also can be integrated into a restaurant’s PoS or your restaurant’s existing website with a widget.

Yelp now also has its own reservations service that is integrated within its review platform.

5

Online Reviews

Speaking of Yelp. Yes, it can be the bane of your restaurant, but online reviews are important in the customer’s decision-making.

According to a BrightLocal report, 84% of people surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. And that same report noted that 7 out of 10 consumers will review a business if they are asked to.

Serving great food and delivering excellent table service is the key for a good reputation for your restaurant. But that has to translate to tons of reviews online.

The Toast Blog shared 4 ways to improve how your restaurant performs on online review sites:

  • Promote your restaurants beyond liking on Facebook or following on Twitter. Tell them that they can check out your restaurant on Yelp or TripAdvisor
  • Ask (or invite) your customers to review your restaurant. You can do it after they’ve settled the check, or through email
  • Create a dedicated landing page on your website just for reviews, featuring sample entries from previous customers
  • Conduct a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to sift the promoters from the detractors

In today’s world, what you and your customer say online is as good as gospel. That is why it is important for any restaurateur to invest in restaurant marketing – especially in their digital marketing. By using these online marketing tools, we guarantee that your restaurant will get more customers at any time of the day.

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Ensure Enough Coverage for Your Restaurant at Any Given Time

Traffic at a restaurant ebbs and flows with the times. One moment you’ll only have a handful of patrons, the next an avalanche of customers are queuing at the entrance, waiting to be served. From being overstaffed at a certain time period, suddenly your wait staff are juggling multiple tables while tickets are lining up like crazy at the kitchen. How do you effectively plan your coverage so that you get the most out of the staff that you have? Forecast Sales and Traffic First things first, of course, is that you have to effectively forecast your restaurant’s sales and traffic at any given day. It might not be an exact science, but Bplans has an in-depth article that can guide you in creating a clear sales forecast. In summary, the article advises that you calculate the number of meals your restaurant can serve based on the number of tables and seats. Multiply those meals based on the amount of service at any given time (in their example, it’s one service during lunch and two services for dinner). Then vary it based on assumptions per day or week (maybe less on Mondays and more on the weekends). And finally, line it up in a spreadsheet. Determine Your FTEs, Make Sure That You Have 2 FTEs more In Any Given Shift So, you have a good sales projection available. Now, it’s time to review your staffing and check if you have enough of everyone for any given shift. It all boils down to the FTEs. FTE stands for “full-time equivalent,” or the number of hours a full-time employee can render in a week. According to this article from TheRestaurantExpert.com, back-of-house employees have 40 hours in one FTE. Those on the front-of-house, on the other hand, have five shifts in one FTE. The same article deep dives on ensuring that your restaurant has enough people through FTEs. Long story short: they recommend to always have two FTEs more than your forecast dictates so that you have enough people covering the restaurant. With that as a rule-of-thumb, you can be creative with your staffing. Cross-train staff so that they can do more than one task. Have bartenders also learn how to cook simple dishes or have new wait staff also cover bussing or washing dishes. Craft Your Rota Once everything is set, it’s time for you to make the weekly rota. Make this task quicker for you by leveraging online rota software that replaces the old-school way of using whiteboards or Excel spreadsheets. Take into consideration your staff’s leave request vis-à-vis your traffic. Remember to send the weekly shift schedule to your staff at least two weeks in advance so that your team is well in the know when they have to time in. Whether you’re a start-up restaurateur or a veteran with a dozen restaurants under your belt, ensuring coverage can make you have sleepless nights. But with a proper plan that you consistently execute and fine-tune, your customers are guaranteed enjoy great service any time of the day.

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Tanda Time Clock Now Available for the Desktop

We at Tanda are pleased to announce that our time clock application is now available to download for Windows and macOS devices. Starting today, employees can have the same experience they’ve always enjoyed with the tablet version of our employee time clock, but now on the desktop. It accurately records employee attendance and compares it with the weekly rota. It also updates the timesheets automatically to the cloud and stores it offline when the device is not connected. And if the computer has a webcam installed, it can also take a selfie of the employee when they clock in and out just like the mobile app! There are so many great uses for Tanda Time Clock for the Desktop. You can now have employees clock in and out in their respective desktop workstations instead of going to wherever the tablet is located. It can also be a backup option if and when your office’s main Tanda Time Clock is unavailable. Remote employees can also use the Tanda Time Clock for the Desktop to clock in and out using their own computers. Existing users can click here to find out how to download the Tanda Time Clock for Desktop. Are you a new user? Signup for free here to use Tanda to track time and attendance for your business, and so much more.  

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5 Restaurant Solutions and Technology You Need to Succeed

Restaurant solutions and technologies should be incorporated in any restaurant’s day-to-day operations in order to succeed. Whether you are an up and coming restaurateur or an industry veteran, your restaurant’s ability to constantly innovate can be the difference between success or being in shambles. With that in mind, here are five restaurant solutions restaurant owners need to have to innovate and rise above the competition: Electronic Ordering One of the coolest things we’ve seen from the restaurant industry this past decade is the advent of electronic ordering. Some restaurants are now using tablets, smartphones, or a touch-screen based kiosk instead of paper menus and static display signages. This high-touch-high-tech innovation lets customers see better the item they are about to order. What’s convenient is that digital menus allow you to change menu items and revise prices instantly, without the need to reprint a new batch of menus. Digital menus can also show interesting content that your customers can enjoy while waiting for their order. Some tabletop restaurant solutions even let customers not only order the items they want but also pay for them without asking for the check. According to a Cornell University study, restaurants that installed an electronic ordering system increased their table turnover, among other benefits. There are tons of electronic ordering solutions available online. Some companies offer to install electronic menus in your own iPads or Android tablets. Others, like Ziosk, offer a dedicated tabletop ordering system with additional features such as cashless payments and fun games for the kids. Cloud-Based Point-of-Sale Solutions The Point-of-Sale or PoS is the cornerstone of any restaurant’s front-of-house: it processes orders for kitchen crew, generates checks for customers, and records transactions on a daily basis. As the industry becomes more competitive, the Point-of-Sale has stepped up its game too, with the rise of cloud-based PoS. Leveraging on the cloud expands your PoS’ capabilities. Food Newsfeed wrote in-depth on the benefits of cloud-based Point-of-Sale. According to the article, cloud-based PoS enables restaurants to increase their profitability with better insights. This is especially true if the cloud-based Point-of-Sale can integrate multiple forms of data with each other, such as transactions, inventory, and employee schedules. It can also instantly add new features as it is released. As it is connected to the internet, the cloud-based PoS can minimize business risk with better security and off-site data backups. Finally, it can also minimize labor costs with costly human errors minimized. Clover is one of the most flexible cloud-based PoS restaurant solutions available in the market today. For restaurateurs who are starting from scratch, they have a small countertop or handheld PoS stations that accept even the latest EMV and NFC payments. And for established restaurants, Clover also works well with existing PoS machines. It can connect to the internet via WiFi, 3G, or Ethernet and it can store sales data offline for up to seven days. Restaurant Inventory Management Software Inventory can make or break your restaurant: doing it right controls your restaurant’s food costs, which improves profitability. However, inventory is quite a chore, involving numerous man hours of countless tasks. Using a restaurant inventory management software can lessen the stress that comes with inventory. According to this Medium post by Daphne Blake, using a restaurant inventory management software can automate and optimize the supply chain. It can track and order inventory with a simple click of a button. And of course, using that software gives you an accurate picture of your restaurant’s inventory. Cloud-based restaurant inventory management software is a better option for today’s restaurant market. SimpleOrder and MarketMan are excellent restaurant solutions, with both having extensive features and powerful integrations with other software. Reservation and Waitlist Applications Part of the day-to-day restaurant business involve hosts taking reservations on the phone. And on a busy day, such as the weekend dinner service, your restaurant will also have a queue of customers waiting to be served. Mismanaging a restaurant’s reservation and waiting list can result on a lot of no-shows and walk aways. This may cause terrible online reviews, without them even tasting your offerings. Restaurant reservation and waitlist applications bring this essential process to the modern age. Customers can now use their smartphones to book reservations in advance, with SMS and email notifications that will remind them on or before the day itself. For the benefit of walk-in customers, leveraging on the same system enables restaurateurs to even ditch costly pager systems. With this new system, customers can make the most of their wait time with other activities, such as shopping at nearby stores. The application can give an accurate wait time and notify customers whenever their table is ready. OpenTable and Yelp Reservations are the biggest names in the online reservation service industry. Signing up for these services can really boost your business. NoWait, which was recently acquired by Yelp, can also let your restaurant waitlist customers through a smartphone app. Workforce Management Software At the core of any restaurant is the people running it. No matter how much tech a restaurant possess, it is still up to the staff to deliver top-notch service all the time. Workforce management will require the lion’s share of the restaurateur’s time. In fact, hundreds of restaurant owners surveyed by TouchBistro said that staffing is the number one pain point they face in the business. Some restaurant owners would spend 8-12 hours a week just on staffing, payroll, scheduling, and making adjustments. This is just to make sure that no shift is understaffed, and the right people are working during the right shifts. That’s a lot of time that could have been spent on more valuable activities such as innovating the restaurant’s menu or crafting a creative marketing and promotions strategy. Offloading to a feature-rich workforce management solution can streamline the entire process for restaurant owners, enabling them to focus more on the core business. Tanda provides restaurants with all the tools and solutions they need to manage their workforce. It helps restaurants optimize their operations for a smooth running business. With Tanda, restaurateurs can quickly build weekly rotas with a drag-and-drop interface and send it instantly to staff via SMS and email. They can also track time and attendance accurately as they go with the Tanda Time Clock app.  With Tanda’s technology, restaurateurs spend less time on administrative tasks. Timesheets are automatically calculated with pre-set rules for accurate payroll, and Tanda easily integrates with existing best-of-breed payroll software, decreasing the hassles of making sure each staff gets the right salary on payday. Click here to find out more on how Tanda streamlines workforce management for restaurants.

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About the author

Enrique Estagle

Enrique was the former editor-in-chief of Tanda's Blog.

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Ensure Enough Coverage for Your Restaurant at Any Given Time

Traffic at a restaurant ebbs and flows with the times. One moment you’ll only have a handful of patrons, the next an avalanche of customers are queuing at the entrance, waiting to be served. From being overstaffed at a certain time period, suddenly your wait staff are juggling multiple tables while tickets are lining up […]

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Tanda Time Clock Now Available for the Desktop

We at Tanda are pleased to announce that our time clock application is now available to download for Windows and macOS devices. Starting today, employees can have the same experience they’ve always enjoyed with the tablet version of our employee time clock, but now on the desktop. It accurately records employee attendance and compares it […]

Без категорії

5 Restaurant Solutions and Technology You Need to Succeed

Restaurant solutions and technologies should be incorporated in any restaurant’s day-to-day operations in order to succeed. Whether you are an up and coming restaurateur or an industry veteran, your restaurant’s ability to constantly innovate can be the difference between success or being in shambles. With that in mind, here are five restaurant solutions restaurant owners need […]

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