Find out how technology is transforming the casual dining sector.

In the hospitality industry many IT managers are faced with an inherited hotchpotch of ageing and unconnected systems. This spaghetti soup of IT not only makes it difficult to keep the lights on; many businesses are missing out on some truly delicious data as well.

Download
Making the Link: a review of the emerging IT market for the restaurant industry

Food for Thought

New ideas and advice to help you improve the operation, turnover, and connectivity of your dining sites.

Mobile Diners: get your mobile marketing strategy right for your customers on the go

May 19 2016, by David Charlton

5 crucial components of mobile marketing success, plus a sixth to put you ahead of the curve

Mobile_Diners_2.jpg

We undoubtedly live in the age of the smartphone. Mobile devices are everywhere. Consumers are addicted to the handheld, always-connected way of life that allows for constant communication and access to information.

What does that mean for pubs and restaurants? People are increasingly using their smartphones to search, discover, browse and book meals. Almost 90% of smartphone users searching for food will convert by the end of the day. They expect to be able to do this on the go, painlessly and quickly.

But that’s not always what they get.

While many parts of the dining sector are waking up to the importance of a strong mobile strategy, others are failing at the first hurdle.

Follow this five-step checklist to ensure your marketing strategy and restaurant booking system are mobile-ready:

1. Streamlined online booking

Research shows that consumer attention is lower on mobile, making it more difficult to convert browsers into bookers.

So, a quick, simple and streamlined reservation process is crucial to maximise bookings. Your restaurant booking system must be fully mobile-ready.

Not only that - your brand should be front and centre at all times. With a white-labelled booking solution you can ensure you retain control of the customer experience, rather than sharing attention with a third-party consumer-facing booking app.


2. Real-time availability

Mobile and smartphones allow for last-minute, on-the-go bookings and cancellations. To deal with this, you need to ensure a fully integrated reservation system, with instant updates made to the booking diary to give a real-time view of availability.

A restaurant booking system that links up with EPoS means that as guests arrive, dine, pay and leave, the realtime view is updated instantly and accurately.

3. User-friendly website

Websites used to be designed to be viewed on a computer, but this is rapidly becoming obsolete as browsing habits change.

With internet-enabled smartphones now the norm, the chances are your customers are going to find you on a mobile. They may never even visit your website on a desktop.

Mobile-first is now the watchword in web design. Restaurant and pub websites need to be user-friendly and mobile-responsive. Frustration with hard-to-read text, awkward scrolling and poorly adapted websites will put people right off!

4. Menu showcasing

A lot of restaurants and pubs have invested time and money into making sure their website is fully mobile-responsive and user-friendly. So far, so good. But then they miss out on the most crucial part of all: the menus.

Instead of integrating menus as browsable, user-friendly webpages, many venue sites simply choose to upload PDF versions of their menu designs, which are clunky and harder to read on mobile.

This might save a bit of time and effort, but it compromises on customer experience. Make it easy for them to see what’s available so they are more likely to follow through with a reservation.

5. Offers and promotions

With customers now routinely accessing emails via mobile, the way is open for dynamic and fast-moving marketing promotions and offers.

Restaurant and pub marketers can set up special time- or volume-limited discount deals and send them to customers using the contact data stored in their restaurant reservation system.

Working together with operations, these promotions can be coordinated to maintain a steady stream of bookings and footfall, with late and last-minute initiatives made possible by the immediacy of mobile communication.

And one extra to think about...
mobile orders and payment

Want to get ahead of the curve? Mobile technology at the table allows guests to browse and order meals and research suggests 34% of consumers are interested in using a mobile to speed up ordering.

Mobile also allows customers to speed up the process by paying the bill without having to wait, something which half (51%) of 18 to 44 year olds say they are prepared to do.

While it’s unlikely that devices will replace human servers, table technology does reduce downtime and staff error.

And don’t forget, experience to date indicates upselling is also more effective, with customers more likely to accept suggestions for complementary dishes or drinks from a computer system than from a waiter.

Key points to remember

  • Restaurant booking systems should update availability in real-time, to handle the on-the-go nature of mobile. With connection to EPoS, this becomes a highly efficient, automatic process that puts you ahead of the curve.
  • A white-labelled reservation system means you can own the brand experience, rather than being diluted by a consumer-facing booking app
  • A mobile-responsive website is essential as customers search, browse and book dining online
  • Online booking should be quick and streamlined, to ensure maximum conversion via mobile
  • A white-labelled reservation system means you can own the brand experience, rather than it being diluted by a consumer-facing booking app
  • The immediacy of mobile makes it easier to run time-sensitive, dynamic promotions to boost footfall
  • Consumers are open to speeding up the dining process with mobile orders and payment

 

Topics: Marketing and promotion