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4 Restaurant Marketing Tips to Personalize the Guest Experience

July 11, 2017

For the number-centric, metric-focused restaurant owner, marketing can be a real challenge. 

When you’re concerned about food cost and your next restaurant POS system purchase, the idea of creative thinking and coming up with advertising ideas can take away from tasks that seem more important - that is, until, you realize marketing can lead to tremendous ROI when delivered in a smart, personalized way. 

Below are six personalized restaurant marketing tips taken from the new restaurant management eBook from Wisely and Toast. When implemented, these marketing ideas can help your restaurant achieve an impressive ROI on its marketing initiatives and stand out from other the other restaurant across the street. 

Collect more emails

While it’s been around for two decades, email is still one of the most profitable marketing programs out there. 

Marketers see $38 in revenue for every $1 in cost for email marketing programs. Consequently, marketers naturally wonder how they can collect more emails. It’s a three-part answer and all should be automated so that operations staff won't have to lift a finger. 

First, you can put a splash page in front of the guest Wi-Fi network that collects information like first name, last name, email, birthday, and so on. 
Second, if someone joins the waitlist for a second time, the system can automatically say something to the effect of, "Looks like you're becoming a regular! We'd love to know more about you so that we can deliver a better experience." Then a few preferences can automatically be collected. 
Third and finally, you can place a widget on your site that collects emails. In our experience, these three tactics translate into 750 to 1,000 new emails collected per restaurant each month. 

Distinguish guests by time of visit

Restaurants often have nuanced differences in look and feel based on the part of the day. By evaluating Audience Insights on a Facebook, restaurant execs will understand the facts about the profession, age, gender, income, education level, marital status, and family status of their guests for each day or daypart (e.g., Weekday lunch, weekday dinner, and weekend or Friday night). 

This information helps in a few ways. In one of these ways, management can load this profile into their brains, and then think about the menu, ambiance, and supporting services offered in the restaurant. 

For example, suppose the late afternoon meal period was an opportunity for sales growth and you learned that visitors were commonly mothers who were getting together with their friends after picking their kids up from school. You could design the experience to be kid-friendly, yet still a place where the adults can enjoy late afternoon drink in the sun. 

3. Engage with individual guests based on their visit behavior

Within the last few years, many restaurants have started to use Wi-Fi as a vehicle for signing up for their marketing programs. 

As a guest, it's simple: just connect to Wi-Fi, punch in your name and email, then you have access to the free Wi-Fi. From there, restaurants can put a guest into an automated marketing campaign.

After the guest's first visit, send them an email with an offer. We advise people to avoid the use of the word "Free" like the plague, because it devalues the product and experience. On the other hand, a simple wording change to "We'll buy you an appetizer of your choice" or "On Us" works wonders, because it is a generous offer that retains the value of the product in the reader's mind. 

4. Turn every guest in the dining room into a social follower

Restaurants have some of the greatest assets in the world for driving social following: a captive audience and food! 

Sometimes, serendipity just happens, and people are automatically drawn to follow you on social media. Regardless, we recommend designing a thoughtful strategy around how to turn every guest into a follower. 

Wi-Fi is one prominent opportunities to get in front of the guest. When a guest connects to Wi-Fi in the restaurant, the landing page they reach can have buttons that link through to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. 

With that in place, every guest who connects to Wi-Fi will have the option to click through to your social pages (which, by the way, is a nice little reminder that they should share a photo of their dining experience!). 

Make the Most From Your Restaurant Marketing

Calculated, proven restaurant marketing tactics help make a restaurant successful in the 21st century. Restaurant management tips like the ones featured in Wisely and Toast’s new ebook require minimal effort but - when implemented by the right team - lead to outstanding customer retention and guest experience in your restaurant.