Running multi-location restaurants can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it empowers restaurant owners to make their brand grow exponentially and become a cultural landmark. However, on the other hand, it multiplies the risks and liabilities of managing a restaurant business.
If overseeing daily operations wasn’t hard enough, entrepreneurs also have to stay up to date with the latest advertising developments. In a world where data is becoming more valuable by the hour, refusing to take a data-driven approach to marketing is bound to make any restaurant chain lose relevance.
What is multi-location restaurant marketing?
Multi-location restaurant marketing is a strategy that improves a brand’s marketing efforts across multiple restaurant locations by creating local digital marketing campaigns to target potential customers in each location. A multi-location marketing approach takes every venue into consideration, while also fine-tuning the brand image as a whole.
Restaurant marketing statistics
The technological developments of the last decade coupled with the abrupt changes in social norms caused by the covid-19 pandemic have had a lasting impact on how the restaurant industry operates. Current trends seem to show that, as millennials and gen Z become a larger part of the market, the online transformation of the restaurant industry is unstoppable.
Mobile local search trends
Modern consumers are more specific about the food they want. Instead of driving around looking for restaurants or taking their time looking through menu descriptions, customers of today use their phones to search for what they want to eat.
According to Think With Google, 89% of all dining research is performed on mobile devices before customers visit a restaurant (source). Non-branded research terms such as “pizza near me” or “Chinese food near me” are becoming one of the main ways restaurateurs increase their online visibility. In fact, the popularity of the search term “near me” has been rising exponentially in recent years (source).
Digital ordering and delivery trends
Third-party delivery apps are growing, but so is dissatisfaction towards them. A survey conducted by sense360 showed that more than 60% of customers would rather order directly from a restaurant, while only a measly 18% find third-party apps to be their preferred ordering solution (source).
Restaurant Business reports that the willingness of customers to order directly from a restaurant is on the rise (source). In contrast to using third-party delivery services such as Uber Eats, restaurants that have their own branded app share a closer relationship with their customers. Adopters also point out that using their own app helps them avoid abusive commission fees associated with third-party delivery platforms.
Social media trends
Having a social media presence is essential for restaurants nowadays. A study performed by MGH Advertising found out that almost half (45%) of diners in the US tried a new restaurant because they saw it on social media (source). Likewise, 22% of people said that social media engagement made them want to return to a restaurant.
However, the study points out that posting on a social media platform for the sake of it is not a viable strategy. In fact, 21% of respondents said that a poor social media presence drove them away from visiting a restaurant. Low-quality content and spam are cited as some of the reasons why people decide to distance themselves from restaurant brands.
How multi-location restaurants can use data to increase revenue and improve operations
Identify best-selling menu items from individual locations
Identifying the best and worst selling menu items is essential for restaurants who wish to optimize their operating expenses and mitigate costs. UEAT’s online ordering platform integrates with your POS system in order to collect key insights and help you optimize your menu. Restaurant owners that run multi-unit restaurants and analyze data are able to make informed decisions about:
- Where and how to spend their advertising budget
- What menu items to remove or add to a location
- What special offers to include, based on what customers prefer
Discover patterns in customer behavior
Customer data is incredibly valuable because it gives restaurant owners a clear picture of how their online interactions with clients work. For multi-location restaurants, this means having access to information about how geographical locations affect customer behavior. For instance, the demographic makeup of an area may have a drastic impact on the needs and desires of customers. Likewise, restaurant locations may be affected by their geographic location, as areas with cold weather may sell different products than those located where it is sunnier.
Knowing how customers in a specific area act also lets you know how they will react to advertising. By keeping track of customer behavior across multiple locations, you can create targeted promotions and leverage loyalty programs designed to make the most efficient use of the strengths of particular venues.
Gain information from online reviews
Online reviews can heavily influence public opinion about your restaurant. A study by Harvard Business School acknowledges that, when gauging restaurant quality using a 5-star system, every added star to a restaurant’s score correlates with a 9% increase in profitability (source). This makes positive reviews indispensable for any restaurant business that wishes to improve sales.
Google provides solutions like Google My Business and merchant accounts to let restaurant owners claim and optimize their brand image on search engines. Coupled with reporting tools, restaurants can perform sentiment analysis. This strategy uses information provided by reviews to assess the success of restaurant operations and customer satisfaction.
Adopt an SEO strategy
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key for restaurant success. It encompasses all the technical and marketing strategies used to increase traffic, interact with users, and convert them into customers or potential customers. Restaurants that develop a strong local SEO strategy can appear on non-branded web searches, thereby increasing brand awareness and online exposure. SEO efforts have the potential of being more beneficial than a traditional marketing campaign at only a fraction of the price.
Redesign your advertising strategies
Data can give insights into many aspects of running a restaurant business. Not only can you get to know your customer’s purchasing habits, but also their reactions to advertising. Likewise, the performance of every restaurant under your brand can be easily compared and contrasted using relevant data. This gives you the chance to replicate your success across different locations.
Benefits of restaurant marketing data for multi-location restaurants
- Collect local restaurant data: Have access to valuable information about every transaction and e-commerce activity that happens in your multi-location restaurants. That data can be used to gauge the success of your strategies and plan for the future.
- Provide a personalized customer experience: If you know what your customers order most often, then you know what they like the most. With the help of smart marketing tools, you can personalize the customer experience and upsell in a non-intrusive way.
- Digital marketing with a focus on engagement: Multi-location businesses have many incentives to put sales before non-monetary actions like the creation of engaging website content. Nonetheless, interaction with content can generate data that can be used to conceive new advertising campaigns.
- Integrated solutions for chain restaurants: A structured approach to data can give multi-location brands a clear understanding of all processes happening both at individual locations and their brand as a whole. Comparing and contrasting these data points can produce a comprehensive analysis of the overall profitability of chain restaurants.
- Track website traffic from multiple locations: Data can be used to know where your ideal customers are, based on the location from where they access your online platforms. The same technology can also be used to know how effective your social media strategies are at influencing new clients.
- Automate processes: A lot of time and effort can be saved by having automatic solutions for data analysis and visualization, especially when working with multiple restaurant locations. Processes that would otherwise have to be done manually can be performed on a whim thanks to artificial intelligence.
Restaurant marketing starts with your website
Having a website is crucial for the success of your digital marketing campaigns and SEO strategy. Your website is the go-to location for potential customers to learn about your brand, menu items, venues, promotions, loyalty programs, and any other information relevant to your operations.
With UEAT, you can take your online customer experiences to the next level. Not only do the marketing experts at UEAT create responsive and branded websites, but they also design white-label mobile apps for restaurants of all sizes. To top it off, our smart recommendation module, based on artificial intelligence, makes upselling easy and effortlessly boost your revenues. By taking advantage of UEAT’s smart marketing tools, you can access data insights that can help you measure your success, devise new strategies, and much more.