Wi-Fi For Restaurants: An Untapped Source Of Customer Insights

Your Source for Restaurant Marketing & Retail Marketing Best Practices

Posted by Megan Flatt on May 16, 2017 7:52:00 AM
Megan Flatt

Restaurant marketers struggle every day to find new ways to learn about their customers.  Far too often they find themselves lacking adequate tools and resources needed to discover usable insights. They know that with such insights, they can increase profits and improve customer return rates.

Brick and mortar marketers in all industries are constantly reminded of how much easier it is to acquire customer information digitally.  They question how to get the same data their online competitors are able to acquire. The answer may be right under their roof.  The free Wi-Fi they are already offering to customers can generate the type of usable insights they need, especially when paired with the right software.

 Traffic Pattern Comparisons, Bottlenecks and Missed Opportunities

Which day of the week is best for a new incentive to bring in more guests? Why does Starbucks offer a free coffee if you return in the afternoon after buying a coffee in the morning? Traffic patterns during certain times of each day, or on certain days of the week, or even at certain times of the year can tell marketers when they have a lull.  Lulls are great to understand because they provide an opportunity to drive up profits.

With Wi-Fi for restaurants, marketers can actually determine how many customers are in their restaurant at every point in the day.  The restaurant analytics can be broken down to compare day to day and hour to hour.  From this insight, they can craft marketing strategies to drive traffic in the door during the off-peak times or days. It can also help address bottlenecks.

Connecting with Customers as they Connect

Restaurant marketers can also use their Wi-Fi connection landing page to push deals and incentives to customers.  When someone visits the restaurant and goes to log-in to the Wi-Fi, they will be presented with a page to accept terms and conditions.  That’s a perfect opportunity to advertise a special for half-off appetizers, a new menu item, or the restaurant’s loyalty program.

Even if a customer isn’t interested in getting more information at that time, if the restaurant chooses to require customers to log-in to the Wi-Fi with their email address, the company now has a coveted channel to later communicate with the guests. Using a Wi-Fi marketing platform, the restaurant can set up automations for triggered emails based on predefined rules, such as to encourage return visits and more.

A Better Approach to Loyalty Programs

Many companies still require guests to fill out a card or keep a physical, plastic card on their person to participate in their loyalty programs.  Increasingly, consumers want less hassle and more of the experience they get with e-commerce.  Using Wi-Fi for restaurants to push and manage a loyalty program is a switch all restaurants should make.  

Doing so allows marketers to know how often their loyalty program participants visit, and provides an opportunity to push incentives to participants who seem to be dining-in less often. If loyalty program sign-ups are dwindling, marketers can use that information to add in-store signage about the program or institute a referral program.

Bridging to Social Media

Social media channels are crucial to restaurant marketing. Whether it’s Yelp reviews, Facebook likes, or a pretty Instagram photo of your drool-worthy food, marketers want as much content and user engagement being pumped out as possible. With Wi-Fi marketing, they can encourage guests to seamlessly leave reviews, like the Facebook page, and provide brand-specific hashtags to adorn their posts.

While all these ideas are great from a restaurant marketing perspective, it is the restaurant analytics that are especially valuable to marketers.  The analytics reveal how successful--in concrete numbers and in real-time--any one of the marketing campaigns has been.  Wi-Fi analytics will also uncover missed opportunities and the attempts that unfortunately missed the mark.

There is no more valuable customer data than data derived from one’s own customers. Wi-Fi for restaurants can help brick and mortar businesses get exactly that.

An Extra Tool to Assess & Drive Growth

If a restaurant is embarking on expansion, it can use data from current locations to help assess the best real estate for subsequent locations.  Data from the Wi-Fi at the current locations can indicate how much foot traffic goes by each restaurant, conversion rates of such traffic, and which locations seem to provide the best density for growth. With that, restaurant operators can look for similar locations for their next locations.

Then, marketers can use their Wi-Fi to let customers know they are currently franchising or have recently opened a new location.  No matter what big (or small) next moves a restaurant operator may have in mind, Wi-Fi for restaurants provides a premium channel for restaurant marketing.

Thinking Outside the Box

Some restaurateurs will proudly say that the best marketing they do is the marketing “within their four walls.”  It is certainly true that creating an incredible dining experience, from beginning to end, will do a ton for a brand.  But the truth is, if a restaurant’s competitors are increasing their sales with modern digital marketing tactics, those sales are not coming through one’s own door.

No matter how you slice it, there is a an online marketing war being waged by brick and mortar businesses. Marketers: arm yourself.  Now is the time to think outside the box, using a solution that’s conveniently right within your four walls: Wi-Fi.

Learn How One Restaurant Chain Upgraded Its Wi-Fi And Marketing: Read The Atlanta Bread Company Case Study


Tags: Restaurant Marketing, WiFi Marketing, WiFi Analytics, Guest WiFi

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