The COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly impact and disrupt businesses in all sectors, hitting the restaurant industry particularly hard. With no visibility into when this health crisis will end, restaurants are searching for ways to remain viable in very challenging conditions. Quick-service restaurants that are nimble and able to pivot to new operational strategies in response to today’s rapidly changing business environment will successfully navigate their way through the crisis.
Some of the strategies restaurants can adopt to stay afloat in the difficult COVID-19 environment can include:
Digitizing the diners experience
Instead of TV and radio ad impressions, modern-day restaurant marketers talk of continuous customer engagements and touchpoints. It should be noted that the average customer reads eleven and a half pieces of content before deciding to buy, and most of that content comes from non-branded sources. Too much has changed nowadays, and for those things that didn’t change, we know more about them than we ever wanted to know. Big data and the Internet of Things (IOT) makes nearly anything possible. With endless possibilities, it makes little sense to insist upon finite solutions. Digitizing the customer journey first and foremost means overhauling one’s marketing system and approach.
Restaurants took a beating in 2020 as the pandemic spread. One thing is for sure, many of those businesses realized the need to shore up their digital ecosystem to not only survive but also to adapt to what are sure to be long-lasting behavioral trends with their consumers. When it comes to digitalizing the customer journey, two groups have an advantage over their peers. First, the restaurants that are just now digitally transforming have a clean slate. They often enjoy fresh millennial leadership and are ready to lose antiquated systems in favor of agile, customized ones, such as digitalized menus and self-ordering applications, making it easier for both themselves and their customers. However, there are those who’re yet to attempt digital transformation and they must be ready to invest big money in the future as this trend begins to grow. Digital transformation is not cheap if your restaurant has repressed technological improvements for the last few decades, and cutting corners could prevent successful implementation in the not too distant future.
Keep on promoting on social media and other digital media
Imagine spending as little as 6 hours a week in order to increase your business's recognition, traffic, and sales with little to no cost. That's right! About 90% of marketers claimed that social media generated immense exposure for their company, and that's only one of its many advantages. Social networks are now a substantial part of every marketing strategy, and the benefits of using social media are so great that anyone not implementing this cost-effective resource is missing out on a phenomenal marketing opportunity.
Surprisingly it was found that 50% of small businesses aren’t using social media to promote their business. That’s an alarming number. Even more concerning is that an additional 25% don’t plan to use social media in the future either. Clearly, there is a disconnect between those who are seeing the benefits of social media and those struggling to get started.
Social media is one of the most cost-efficient digital marketing methods used to syndicate content and increase your business' visibility. Implementing a social media strategy will greatly increase your brand recognition since you will be engaging with a broad audience of consumers. On top of that, it helps your restaurant generate more inbound traffic to your branded websites. The people familiar with your brand are likely searching for the same keywords you already rank for. Without utilizing social media as part of your marketing strategy, you'll have much more difficulty reaching anyone outside of your loyal customer circle.
Furthermore, although posting on social media might get your business some site traffic, more effort than that is required to see significant success. Search engine optimization is very important for achieving higher page rankings and obtaining traffic to your business website. While social media doesn't directly increase search engine rankings, it has been found that more than 58% of restaurants who have been using social media for one year or longer still see improved search engine rankings
Try to reactivate customers with a segmented approach
Segmentation is the process of dividing the market and the target audience based on their commonalities and homogeneity, different attitude of consumers towards the product(s)/service(s), distinctiveness, behavior traits, their social strata, demographic factors like age, family size, marital status, gender, and many other factors. Market segmentation helps to segregate the consumer market and helps to identify the promising markets in which the restaurant can flourish. It also helps your restaurants marketers to plan and organize their marketing campaigns for the future. These target markets include segments which are profitable to both the consumers and the restaurant.
Choosing to segment your restaurant’s customers is one of the best tactics for your digital marketing strategy. Email segmentation, or the process of divvying up your list into more specific categories to offer more relevant content to your subscribers, is extremely powerful for building relationships, generating loyal customers, and growing your revenue. According to Hubspot, segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue. By personalizing your restaurant’s message to speak precisely to the recipient by using restaurant customer segmentation, you’ll be better effective at driving your email content engagement.
When the focus and the target market is clearly identified, then comes the increase in competitiveness. As the target market is now known to the restaurant business, the restaurants competition in the market will increase and the marketing team will come up with new innovative ideas to promote their brand better to stand out among the competitors.