As we all know by now, because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States and around the world, restaurants are being forced to close their doors to on-premise dining. These are uncertain times, indeed.
Fortunately, delivery, drive-through, and curbside/takeout service are still being allowed. And restaurants that have built a sizeable customer database can still maintain a revenue stream by using the database as a creative - and powerful - marketing tool.
Delivery and Take-out Options Keeping Restaurants Afloat
Many restaurants have simply closed for business until further notice. Therein lies the opportunity for those who are still offering delivery and take-out.
While citizens are working from home, and "shelter at home" advisories are being issued, it remains a fact that people will always need to eat. And millions across the country are turning to restaurant delivery and curbside service.
If your restaurant has the means to maintain an effective delivery or take-out service, there is a way that you can build on that strategy and continue to stay in business and employ workers.
By using your customer database, you can continue sending reminders, offers, and promotions to your customers. This will keep your restaurant top-of-mind when they are choosing from whom they are going to order delivery or take-out.
What is a Customer Database?
A customer database is a digital collection of customer names, emails, phone numbers, and other demographic information. Each set of a single customer's information is called a customer profile. Some WiFi marketing and analytics platforms, like the Bloom Intelligence platform, can even store information such as customer behavior patterns and spending habits within each customer profile.
With this information, it becomes possible to send out creative, targeted marketing messages to various segments of your customers at any time.
Many restaurants forego creating a customer database because of the logistics and resources it takes to gather the information, enter it into a spreadsheet or email marketing platform, and subsequently send out emails manually to the list on a regular basis. In addition, it is extremely difficult to use a spreadsheet to segment your customers for more targeted marketing.
Fortunately, Bloom Intelligence makes it very easy to quickly create a very large customer database that can easily be segmented for targeted marketing.
Likewise, Bloom will send your marketing messages when you decide. You simply tell the software to send a message to a particular customer segment at a particular time. You can schedule message a single time, on a recurring basis, or when customers reach specific behavior or demographic criteria.
Promotion Ideas for Delivery and Take-Out
For restaurants who have already built a large customer database, it is important that you take full advantage of its benefits while the Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country. Also, marketing messages that worked before the outbreak, will most-like need to be rewritten to appeal to the delivery/take-out audience.
- Offer Free Delivery - With delivery orders soaring, delivery fees are becoming an important aspect of a customer's decision. Offering free delivery will help pursuade customers to choose your restaurant over one that charges for delivery. Make sure to make this prominent in any customer-facing messaging.
- Offer Incentives - Even when they will be ordering to eat at home, customers are always on the lookout for deals and incentives. Offer things like double points on your loyalty program, or packaged items that can be frozen for later consumption. Again, make sure to let your customers know about these incentives through creative marketing campaigns.
- Create Creative Campaigns - Email traffic is increasing as more and more people are working from home. When sending emails to your customers, make sure yur messaging is eye-catching and creative. For instance, one Bloom Intelligence user created the campaign below. Imagine opening this email. It is eye-catching and straight to the point.
- Adjust Your Menu - Get rid of items that are not selling, and focus on promoting the items that have larger margins. Use high-def images and feature them in your messaging.
- Offer Limited or No Contact Delivery - Let your customers know that you can either knock on their door and hand them the delivery, or if they prefer, you will gladly leave it on their porch, or in their driveway.
- Segment Your Customers for More Effective Results - Amidst the pandemic, it is likely that targeting specific messages to the elderly may provide a better ROI. Think about sending messages focused on safety and precautions to your older customers. If possible, have gloves and masks available for your delivery personnel.
- Send Messages at the Right Time - If you are focused on a dinnertime market, for instance, don't send your messages at 10am. Instead, send out messages in the mid-afternoon so that your message is nearer to the top of your customer inbox, but prior to them logging off for the day.
If you have a customer database of any size, then now - more than ever- is the time to use it. Brainstorm ideas with your staff and create messaging that will appeal to your various customer segments. Then send those messages at the right times.
With the entire industry either closing their business or transitioning into delivery/take-out services, so too should your marketing campaigns. With a customer database, you have a powerful tool to keep you ahead of your competition and keep your restaurant fresh in the minds of customers.