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How to Effectively Use Restaurant Marketing Automations

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For the past two years, the restaurant industry has seen an increase in guest engagement and omnichannel marketing strategies. The pandemic forced a new dining experience that has since catapulted the food service industry into a digital space that continues to expand and change for guests’ needs. Put simply, consumer demands for personalization and relevance are impacting how restaurants handle business. Guests today expect the same tailored experience and frictionless ordering in their digital food experiences as they do with eCommerce.

So how are brands meeting guests? Using digital ordering platforms and CDP software to engage and build guest relationships by targeting guest behaviors to create a tailored experience. In this new environment, brands are investing in omnichannel technology for guest engagement and autonomous marketing to further personalize and develop the new guest experience.

Restaurants now have the option to choose software that can automatically take their guest data and analyze the behavior across all channels–web, in-store, app, etc. to create tailored campaigns that are then automatically sent. In other words, there’s less manual intervention when it comes to learning guests’ preferences and creating marketing to bring them back.


What is Restaurant Marketing Automation?

Restaurant marketing automation allows restaurants to build data-driven marketing communications, such as email, SMS campaigns, or targeted offers to automatically target the right guests with the right offers at the right times. This reduces manual intervention while increasing engagement and personalization with guests.

Wondering how to use this effectively or start automating marketing for your restaurant?

Step 1: Understand Who Your Guests Are

How do you engage with your guests? What messages or offers are you sending? Is it through email, or push notifications within your mobile app? How are you targeting guests' behavior? What items are most popular with each guest? Taking time to understand and answer these questions will allow you to understand your guests and how you are engaging with them to create a tailored experience they enjoy. With an all-in-one digital platform that includes CDP software, you can house guest data that is automatically analyzed daily. This allows you to set up restaurant marketing campaigns that are automatically triggered based on events, thresholds, or actions.

Step 2: Build Automations Based on Your Guests’ Behaviors

Once you’ve learned how guests interact with your restaurant, you should start creating segments using combinations of rules such as “days since last purchase” or “average basket value” that can power targeted restaurant marketing campaigns to generate repeat visits. Some other restaurant marketing automation ideas include:

  • Structured Cadence Campaign: Engage with your guests from the first moment they interact with your restaurant, either by signing up to use wifi or becoming a member of your mobile app/online ordering. From here, create a cadence of marketing notifications to build the guest relationship such as sending notifications and offers after their second or third visit, after a month, after 6 months, or after a year. These messages can be offers like discounts or specials, encouraging a new menu item, or a special gift for birthdays or anniversaries.
  • Personalized Messages with Your Loyal Guests: If guests enjoy your brand they’ll make repeat visits and may even refer your restaurant to friends and family. Don’t lose those guests who support your brand because you ghosted them in communication. Send out specific promotions or news to your loyal guests so they can feel part of an exclusive club. Loyalty programs work great for restaurants because they encourage guests to spend more and make repeat visits for rewards or benefits. After all, it’s 5x more expensive to attract new guests as opposed to retaining the ones you already have!
  • Seasonal and Holiday Promotions: The holidays are a great source of revenue for restaurants. Who doesn’t like food when celebrating? To take advantage of these occasions, you should maximize your restaurant marketing automation strategy. Create messaging such as gift card promotions, season-specific menu items, and holiday deals that are automatically sent to generate more interest in guests.

Step 3: Analyze, Improve, and Repeat Your Restaurant Marketing Automations

After understanding your guests and creating marketing automations, your job isn’t done. It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns and tweak what isn’t working. Guests’ interests are constantly changing and not every guest is the same. Find out which messaging works and which doesn't to make sure you don’t lose guests from poor communication. Your marketing content should benefit guests and keep them engaged to make repeat visits and stay loyal. You can always test out different offers or promotions to find the best results within the guest journey.

Remember, a CDP that allows you to own the guest relationship and data automatically can save time and increase efficiency in your operations. Restaurant marketing campaigns that are automatically triggered based on events, thresholds, or actions allow you to reach guests in channels you might not have before.


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