In the past five years, restaurant marketing has expanded dramatically beyond traditional vehicles such as television, radio, print and direct mail with the widespread adaption of smartphones and digital media.
Customer relationship management has turned marketing into a one-on-one proposition rather than a one-brand-to-audience exercise.
That seismic shift will continue, with companies and vendors honing their abilities to reach individual customers and to quickly assess their needs, wants and desires.
Big restaurant marketers are already using smartphone loyalty apps, in combination with emails and text messages, to drive traffic during off-peak days and dayparts. Starbucks, for example, sends emails that urge customers to make purchases via app on certain days and within certain hours by dangling the carrot-like reward of quadruple points.
"People have come to expect certain conveniences when they shop, travel and handle their finances — such as mobile access, personalization, loyalty tracking and no-touch transactions," said Andrew Feinberg, principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP’s restaurant and foodservice practice, in a September study on restaurant technology. "More and more, they want their restaurant experiences to feel the same way.”
Feinberg said restaurants will need to engage customers in a “personalized way, even as interactions become more omni-channel."
So no matter how customers place orders — via Internet, app or social media — they want the restaurant brand to recognize them.
Restaurants will use technology to recognize and motivate individual behaviors and, perhaps with beacons, offer specials when the consumer drives or walks by a location.
— Ron Ruggless