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Marketing Restaurants Trends

5 Of The Best Apps for Restaurant Owners

As technology is growing every day, sometimes it feels like you can’t keep up with the latest app trends for your business. It seems like there’s always a new app trending, and you find yourself always asking the question, “Is there an app for that?”  Business App development has been booming so there are a lot of options out there available for restaurant owners and diners.

This can make it hard to narrow which App fits best for your needs.

So, which apps are really the best for restaurant owners? Here are the apps that we believe you can best benefit from and utilize to influence and grow your business.

Here are 5 of the best apps to generate more business and make your life as a restaurant owner a little easier.

1. ChowEasy

Want to attract the perfect customer? ChowEasy is an easy and efficient way to grow business by offering a marketing tool that provides promotions for diners looking for your type of restaurant cuisine. Unlike other sites, ChowEasy allows you to directly set up promos on your terms and conditions. This marketing tool allows your business to grow by offering promotions that define your brand. Allowing diners to bid for the food and type of restaurant can match diners with bids that fit them and what they are looking for. Diners save money, and restaurants attract and retain new customers. It’s a win-win for both parties.

2.  Hootsuite

It’s crucial in today’s age to have an active social media presence. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram can gain you exposure and customers that may not know about your restaurant. So being there is a must for any restaurant but keeping up can be a difficult and daunting task.

Apps like Hootsuite allow you to manage posting and engagement, along with being fully involved in your community. Managing all your social media accounts on one easy-to-use platform, and allows you to schedule posts months in advance. Available for Apple and Android products, you can create the online presence you want for your restaurant with help from the App’s tools.

3. Partender

Selling alcohol generates revenue for restaurants because the markup is high and it’s easy to upsell it to your customers. The average revenue that comes with selling alcohol is anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of a restaurant’s income, sometimes even higher.

This App is a life save for restaurant owners serving alcohol and all you need is an iPhone. Partender helps owners manage and track liquor inventory in their bar by measuring their liquor and sales data. Creating this type of data lets you know what is being sold and calculate how much your bartenders are pouring correctly. It’s really an easy, must-have that is worth the monthly investment.

4.  Yelp

Social proof can make or break a restaurant. Managing that is an important part of marketing your restaurant.

Many diners wouldn’t even consider a restaurant until they have checked the reviews on Yelp. That’s because sites like Yelp are powerful and more influential than any other for the restaurant business. Yelp allows you to build customer loyalty and gain new customers with loyal customer reviews. This FREE tool has 132 million monthly visitors; that’s why managing a Yelp account is essential for your restaurant to grow.

5.  Feedly

Stay in the know! There’s so much going on every second, and there’s information being shared that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Don’t be left out on all the latest and greatest industry trends. Now you can stay up to date with Feedly.

Feedly is a power news aggregator, compiling information from sources all over the internet. Choose publications, blogs, and set up keyword alerts for content related to your restaurant. This App is full of helpful information, super user-friendly, and easy to read because of its minimal layout design.

What apps will your restaurant use?

Maybe you’re already using some of these.

When you stumble onto a new app, research it, find its value and determine if you can implement its use in your day-to-day restaurant business. When implementing any new tool for your restaurant, determine your end goal then find the best app to help you accomplish that goal.

Categories
Marketing Restaurants Technology Trends

How To Use TikTok To Promote Your Restaurant

We have seen the latest social media trend TikTok everywhere, and it’s another social media marketing tool to use to promote your restaurant. This new app is a GAME CHANGER for restaurant owners, and there are so many incredible ways to let your followers know what’s going on. 

Here are some things we know about TikTok:

  • It has 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., with an 800% increase in users since 2018. 
  • It has 50 million daily users in the U.S. 
  • It has been downloaded over 2 billion times globally. 

Now, it’s time for your restaurant to tap into the new social media platform. Restaurants and other places of business have been using TikTok to grow their advertising and marketing through this outlet, specifically after the pandemic when TikTok grew rapidly. 

There are many cool features in TikTok that allow you to edit videos and share them with a wide range of people. Creators have access to effects, filters, and songs. 

Video is a great marketing tool for your brand and business, and this outlet allows even more content for you to share. TikTok provides user-friendly tools to create short videos. Every user could be a potential ambassador for your brand and spread messages and campaigns about your restaurant. 

Share Recipes and Ingredients 

Sharing recipes and making cooking videos is a great way to launch your restaurant’s TikTok page. It’s easy to make a video together to create a step-by-step way to make a recipe of your choice; these videos get TONS of likes, comments, and shares. 

Users on TikTok love food trends and it’s always something that’s trending on social networks. People love this type of content and hashtags like #food and #foodies will help give your video more views. There are currently over 116.2B views for #FOOD. 

#AtlantaFood is also a trendy hashtag considering all the great food options Atlanta is famous for. Check out Atlanta-based cook on TikTok justlex.x showcase her soul food video content that has some serious drool-worthy food clips. 

Tips and Tricks 

Try chef tips, like demonstrating and teaching fundamental skills like slicing and cutting techniques, or any other technique that can be useful when cooking. 

Here’s @cookingwithshereen on TikTok showing you how to cut grapefruit with her quick chef tips.  

Introduce Menu Items 

Your restaurant menu is continually updating and changing, and TikTok is an excellent way to showcase new or unique items. 

Chefs are Trending 

Showcasing your chef is the way to go. There are endless chef accounts; a good example is @maxthemeatguy, specializing in meats and creating video content to show off his skills. 

Collaborate with Influencers

Teaming up with social media influencers is the new way of promoting your restaurant and business social media profile. 

Reaching out to a younger audience is also a good reason to collaborate with TikTok influencers. Chipotle was the first major restaurant to launch on TikTok in 2019 and has had much success with gaining influencers to collaborate with. 

Dunkin Donuts followed the trend last October and has been promoting its new drink with influencer D’Amelio, who has more than 90 million followers on TikTok. The partnership promoted its new cold brew, which after marketing on TikTok, sales rose 20% the first day. 

Go Behind the Scenes 

Take your TikTok audience backstage and behind the scenes of restaurant operations. Giving people a look inside your team and kitchen makes it more personable and a mini-view of your restaurant’s inside. Making your customers feel they are included in something is crucial to create that relationship between owner and diners. 

Host a Live Event

It’s important to know that your TikTok account must have at least 1,000 followers to host a live event. Once you’re able to host live events, you’ll realize that it’s a great tool when marketing your brand. Having a class or a mini-lesson series is a fun way to create more content on your account, LIVE. 

Now that you have their attention they will search for the desired cuisine via ChowEasy. Make sure they can find you! Learn more about what ChowEasy can do to successfully market your restaurant.

Categories
Deals Marketing Restaurants Technology

The Real Cost of Using Groupon for Restaurants

Whether you are a consumer or business owner, you have likely heard of Groupon. Since 2011, Groupon.com has billed itself as a site for thrifty consumers that are looking for a great deal and merchants that want to drive traffic to their stores or build awareness for their brands. Many restaurants have jumped at the chance to offer promos to the site’s nearly 44 million active users. However, before you decide to enter the fray, make sure you know the real costs of using Groupon for restaurant promos. 

Groupon Restaurant Promotions Can Hurt Your Bottom Line 

Customers looking for a deal are likely to find one. But the cost to merchants can be staggering. While there is no cost for restaurants to create an account and share a deal with the Groupon user base, the real damage to the wallet arrives after you make a sale. Though commission rates do fluctuate, Groupon will always take at least 50% of revenue from each sale. Let’s look at this simple example: 

You run a local pizzeria and the business is doing fairly well. You’re interested in broadening your customer base and decide to give Groupon a try to see if you can get customers outside of the local area and maybe even tourists in town. You decide to offer a deal on your medium pepperoni pizzas, which typically cost $20, at a 40% discount to compete with other pizza shops on the site. Customers purchase the deal for $12. Your revenue? $6. 

restaurant promos like groupon diminish the hard work that chefs put in

This Groupon restaurant promo for pizza that you would typically sell for $20 just cost you 70% of revenue. You can calculate the profit yourself since this depends on your mark up, but it’s likely just shy of breaking even. Or, worse still, you might be losing money on the deal. 

The poor pizzaiolo or pizzaioli who put effort into making the delicious pie just had his/her work devalued so significantly. 

Groupon Can Diminish Your Restaurant’s Brand Image

restaurants that use groupon for restaurant promos look cheap

Have you ever visited a restaurant that markets itself like this? “We are a middle of the road eatery that uses discount produce and values quantity over quality. We don’t really care if you come back.” Ridiculous, right? You don’t need to be a marketing maven to recognize the pitfalls of discounting your product or service. By listing your restaurant on Groupon, you run the risk of diminishing your brand. Your high quality standards for service and food will not be recognized as such. The perception will turn to: how can it be that great when it’s so cheap? 

Let’s start with your existing customers. You run the risk of annoying your current clientele by offering your meals to a select few at a discount price. Using the example of the pizzeria, a repeat customer who consistently purchases your pies might wonder why they’ve been getting “ripped-off” this entire time if your food could be had for half the price. And if they knew that you were only taking home half of the revenue from the deal, they would sour on your brand even more. Sure, that’s unlikely, but all it takes is one annoyed customer and your break-even Groupon deal just sent a sure thing to your competitor. 

As for the prospective clients who found you through Groupon, you’ve now been introduced to them as a discount seller right from the start. Groupon customers are rarely repeat customers. Those on the site looking for a deal will look for another when your bargain window runs its course. “That $12 pizza was delicious, but I won’t pay the full $20. Let’s see what other pizza deals I can find.” 

people reaching for the best restaurant promo deal

When the goal of any business is to build sustainable revenue streams, and the cost of acquiring customers is much greater than keeping them, using Groupon to promote your restaurant becomes a brand risk you cannot afford to take. 

Can Groupon For Restaurants Be Beneficial at All? 

Many restaurants do not want to use groupon for restaurant promos

As with any strong marketing plan, diversity of channels is the key to success. The reality is that the pizza example is oversimplified and Groupon can be a part of your restaurant promo strategy. The two most important things to remember are to not put all of your marketing efforts into Groupon and to be smart about the bargain you are offering. Groupon clients are, more often than not, one-time clients and should not command a significant amount of your restaurant marketing spend. Yes, the math starts to make a lot more sense when the 40% discount is 20% or less, but investing in promotions for existing clients is even more cost-effective. Remember, too, that Groupon is not the only restaurant deal site that is out there. Be smart, do your research, and plan for long term success rather than short term marginal gains. 

Looking for a fun way to grow your restaurant business? ChowEasy is a restaurant marketing app that helps locals discover your restaurant by matching their appetite and mood. Get full control of your promos by offering them on YOUR schedule and YOUR terms with your restaurant name revealed ONLY to committed diners. No upfront costs or commitments! Learn more now.

Categories
Restaurants Technology

The Real Truth About Food Delivery Business

For most of 90’s, Food Delivery was limited to Pizza and the local Chinese restaurants delivering their own food in small areas. Delivery was never looked at as a profit center but just another way to boost sales for individual locations.

From Mid 2000’s onwards, we started to see new businesses such as Grubhub, Doordash and Uber Eats (Specialty Delivery Companies or Apps) that were focused on delivering food prepared by others. Their general Business model was based on: a) getting discounts (which the delivery companies keep) from Restaurants whose food was being delivered and b) charging the end customer a delivery fees for the ease and convenience of getting food delivered from multiple restaurants using one simple mobile app. Restaurants did not have to hire drivers or keep a delivery fleet as these delivery companies pick up the food and deliver to customers.

There is a third segment of software companies which essentially provide software and technology to enable restaurants to accept online orders and manage delivery directly or thru one or more Delivery apps.

Thanks to all the ad spend, technology advancements and changing habits of the younger customers, Food delivery business is definitely growing in $ volume. Are restaurants getting more business on a net basis? or are they getting more delivery business at the expense of their dine-in customers? Who is making money in the delivery business? Is it a passing fad or is it here to stay? I probably can’t answer all of these questions accurately as each restaurant’s and segments situation is different but this post is an attempt to sort thru different pieces written by industry experts and summarizing the most compelling points in front of our readers.

Let’s start by looking at what the recent media posts have been saying…

If you look thru last ~ 15 years of developments in Food Delivery Industry including the recent buzz here are the key findings:

  • To start off, specialty Food delivery companies piloted in one large urban market – refined their technology and processes and then expanded to other urban markets.
  • More delivery companies came into existence and built their sweet spots either in certain metro areas or breadth and number of restaurants they signed up.
  • Most of these companies raised enough money to build their brand names and hire large marketing teams which were aggressively signing-up restaurants.
  • Demographic developments including increase in the number of tech-savvy younger customers as well as economic growth contributed to growth of food delivery segment at a faster rate than overall restaurant industry.
  • Uber Eats entered Food Delivery space with a significant advantage i.e. an existing network of drivers, end consumers as well as solid brand recognition.
  • Increased competition has contributed to aggressive tactics to sign up new restaurants including adding restaurant’s to delivery apps without contract or permission. On Diner side – free delivery, variety of coupons are very popular.
  • Delivery companies are using their brand and clout to negotiate fees as high as 30% from partner restaurants.
  • Tight Labor Market and Strength of economy along with multiple ‘gig’ options generally available to delivery crew is also making it hard and expensive for food delivery companies to hire and retain reliable people.

So, who is making money in the food delivery industry?

What is the bottom line for Restaurants?

  • Restaurants are seeing some volume growth due to these new delivery options but have to pay significant fees to delivery companies.
  • Some Delivery customers are trying new restaurants, they would not have visited otherwise but, Delivery segment is limiting the growth of Dine-In and Direct Pick Up segments.
  • End Customers have many delivery options these days, specially, in Urban areas and can also benefit from several promotions which delivery companies frequently offer.
  • Delivery companies offer technology features which are very expensive to be offered by individual restaurants directly. Examples include: Real Time Tracking, Collaborative Ordering, Ability to order from thousands of partner restaurants using the same delivery app.
  • Despite the volume growth, high commissions – delivery companies are struggling to make money.

What is the long-term suggestion for Restaurants?

Based on everything we have seen, read and heard – Food delivery is likely to grow but will continue to evolve as large delivery companies try harder to make profits. Reduction in promotions offered to end customers, minimum order $ values, consolidation among major delivery companies etc. is likely to happen. Restaurants should continue to offer delivery option thru these specialty delivery apps but should closely monitor their business, trends, patterns etc. and plan their operations accordingly.

Restaurants should identify the top 1 or 2 delivery apps which have the best service and processes in the respective market and stick with them Versus offering delivery through all of the Delivery companies / apps. Restaurants can and should negotiate fees and other terms with delivery companies.

We would love to hear your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

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