Mobile Marketing for Restaurants: How To Do It Right

Marketing 16 minute read 5th October 2023

Every product or service has a market willing to buy it unless you’re selling it in the wrong place. The same is true for the restaurant industry. People turn to their mobile phones when searching for nearby places to eat. So, ignoring mobile marketing for restaurants will make it hard to get and keep customers.

The good news is this type of marketing is more economical than others unless you create a custom app. It is also more effective since you can send instant, personalized messages.

So, if you’re ready to learn how to start mobile marketing and gradually ease into custom apps, keep reading!

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A Crash Course Into What Is Mobile Marketing

Before we start discussing strategies, let’s answer the question that’s probably on your mind: What is mobile marketing?

When you promote your restaurant on handheld devices such as mobiles and tablets, you’re participating in mobile marketing. However, a common mistake businesses make here is confusing this marketing with mobile advertising.

But they’re not the same. Mobile advertising focuses more on promoting your restaurant and its services. In comparison, mobile marketing is more about building relationships with your customers by personalizing their restaurant experience.

It revolves around location-based mobile marketing, QR code marketing, SMS marketing, etc.

You can also promote your mobile app, use other apps to display ads, and reach more people. Combining these with modern technology such as GPS, you’ll know exactly when, where, and how to prompt your customers.

The Comparison From History: Mobile Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

The heated debate of mobile marketing vs. traditional marketing is eternal. While some businesses consider traditional marketing as outdated, others still swear by it. So, which group should you join?

To be honest, there’s no right or wrong in this comparison. Since your choice will depend on your needs, you must explore both and find the middle ground here. So, let’s start with traditional marketing.

Firstly, people, especially elders, are more familiar with traditional channels like billboards, flyers, etc., so you’ll reach a broader audience. Plus, you don’t want these generations to be unaware of your restaurant.

Secondly, there are still some people who prefer tangible forms of advertising. They want to save the promotional materials they like and interact with them whenever they want.

However, traditional marketing is more expensive and doesn’t allow for customer engagement. Moreover, it makes it hard to get customer feedback.

On the other hand, mobile marketing channels are more accurate and personalized since you’ll be using the location. It allows for more customer engagement, and you can get instant feedback about its success.

Furthermore, you can track analytics such as conversion and engagement rates, which will help to improve your marketing campaigns.

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Restaurant Mobile Apps That Will Make Your Business Easier

While running a restaurant isn’t rocket science, it will require your time and attention. With so much falling on your plate, you might have a hard time juggling tasks with running mobile marketing campaigns.

However, the following restaurant mobile apps can help make those tasks easier while marketing you to phone users.

  1. OpenTable: It’s frustrating and hard to manage customers who are waiting for their turn in your restaurant. OpenTable is a waitlisting and table reservation app that gives customers real-time updates and notifies them of their turn.
  2. DoorDash: Providing exceptional service and convenience to your customers must be your priority. Doordash is a third-party app you can use to take and fulfill online orders.
  3. Restaurant Locator: As mentioned earlier, customers search restaurants through their phones. Listing your venue on this app will help potential customers find you.

Are You Thinking To Create Your Own Mobile App?

While the above apps help you manage various tasks, wouldn’t it be better if you had everything in one place? Besides, not all those apps are free. You could use that investment to create an app of your own.

Here, you have two options. Either use a free restaurant app builder or hire a developer for more customization.

You won’t have much work when you hire someone to create your app except for research, planning, and budgeting. So, let’s discuss the first option.

Using a free app builder is quite easy since you don’t need to code. All you have to do is drag and drop items to add and arrange them to your liking. You’ll need some user experience knowledge for this, but that’s readily available on the internet.

Or you can hire a designer, which is cheaper than custom development. Some of the most famous app builders for restaurants are Softr, Glide, and Bubble.

Get Your App Out in the Open: How To Do Mobile App Marketing for Restaurants?

Now that you know how to create an app, the next step is to promote it. There’s even a name for it: mobile app marketing. This is where you promote your app and encourage more downloads.

However, this process isn’t within the boundaries of promoting after the app launch. You must start your marketing efforts at least sixty days before launching your app. So here’s how to do mobile app marketing for restaurants.

Start by identifying a common problem your app solves or needs it fulfills. This will be the heart and soul of your mobile app marketing.

Next, design a consistent branding if you don’t have one already. A logo, tagline, and messaging would be a good start. Your brand has a story to tell, but you must own that story with strong branding.

Once you have the branding, consider adding a landing page for your app on your website. Also, participate in mobile search engine optimization techniques to rank your website higher. This way, your existing visitors will know you’re launching an app and will be ready to download it.

It’s a good idea to give incentives here. For example, you can give a discount voucher to the first 100 people who download your app.

After that, hire influencers to promote your app, create a demo video, and start posting on social media. Create a referral link for your app and give incentives to people who share it.

With that, marketing before launch ends. Now it’s time to celebrate your launch by either hosting an event or giving a discount to visitors on that day.

Once you’ve celebrated, it’s time for aggressive campaigning. Reach out to higher-ranking websites and gain reviews. Submit your app to review sites. Create install campaigns and sponsor competitions on social media.

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Best Restaurant Mobile Marketing Strategies To Bring Crowds of Customers

Mobile marketing trends show that 80% of people who search for local businesses on mobile phones become their customers. Since you’re a restaurant owner, your business is also local.

If people search for your restaurant on mobile, you have an 80% chance of conversion. Therefore, you must make an effort to promote your restaurant on mobile devices. Here are the three best restaurant mobile marketing strategies.

Mobile Marketing Strategy #1: Push Notifications

The first mobile marketing strategy is sending push notifications to customers. Even if people like your food, ambiance, and service, they need constant reminders to return to your restaurant. Here’s how you can do it.

Start by sending a notification to customers who are in close proximity to your venue. If you accompany this message with a personalized message, it would be the cherry on top!

Moreover, send a notification when a customer enters your loyalty program. This will make them feel welcome.

People also want to know their progress with these programs, so notify them whenever they gain certain points! Additionally, you can send a notification about ordering before the visit to help customers save time.

Also, list your restaurant on Google My Business to appear in local searches on mobile phones. Google will push a notification asking for a review—a great way to grow your reputation on restaurant review sites.

Mobile Marketing Strategy #2: SMS Marketing

Another way to go about mobile marketing is by sending text messages. While email marketing has a winning edge, SMS marketing has a high open rate. Over 90% of people open and read texts within three minutes.

Therefore, send limited-time discounts on orders, especially during the time of the day when business is slow.

If someone from the loyalty program hasn’t claimed their reward, send them a reminder. Again, customers love to feel welcome at the place they trust for their food.

Moreover, customers sometimes fill their cart but then don’t place an order. This might be because they got busy, so send them a reminder about the abandoned cart. But don’t spam their inbox since text messaging is quite personal, and you don’t want to offend anyone.

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Mobile Marketing Strategy #3: Social Media Marketing

Lastly, how can a list of mobile marketing tactics be complete without the mention of social media marketing? Most people use these apps on their phones, so that’s where you need to be. Social media marketing ideas for restaurants do not need to be complicated. You only need to be consistent.

Create a content marketing plan and post consistently on all channels. Show off your kitchen, offerings, unique selling points, etc., to entice customers.

However, don’t make your audience feel abandoned. Reply to their comments and reviews. If someone has a problem and leaves a negative review, try to solve it as soon as possible.

Social media contests and giveaways are the best ways to engage people because who doesn’t like winning?

Moreover, make sure your pictures are appetizing and high quality. If your food doesn’t look good, your posts will go to waste. You don’t want to spend hours crafting the perfect post just to have people ignore it.

Savor the Sweet Taste of Success With Mobile Marketing for Restaurants

Since the world has over 7.1 billion phone users, mobile marketing for restaurants isn’t an option but a need. As you read, there are many ways to do that. Pick the strategy that suits you the most, and be consistent.

If you want to improve your marketing results, try out Beambox. It’s a WiFi marketing platform that will help you achieve your marketing goals and grow your revenues.

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