app awareness

The Beginner’s Guide to App Awareness in Restaurant

As the digital revolution continues to shape the world, mobile apps have quickly become key players in the business game, turning into essential tools for customer engagement and service improvement. In the restaurant industry, this transformation has had a particularly delicious impact. Mobile apps are now your digital maître d’, your virtual waiter, and your customer’s best foodie friend, all at once.

But here’s the twist in the plot – even the most well-crafted, feature-packed app can only work its magic if customers know about it and use it. Imagine having a Michelin star dish that no one orders because it’s tucked away at the end of your menu. Your app is similar. It can be a game-changer for your restaurant, but without effective promotion, its superpowers risk going unnoticed

This point was highlighted to me recently during a personal experience. I visited one of our partner restaurants but forgot to use my app and collect loyalty points toward a free dish. Sadly, nobody reminded me until it was too late. I left the restaurant not only without the points but also with a sense of missing out.

However, it was not only a letdown for me, but also a lost opportunity for the restaurant. Without my purchase details, they were unable to enhance their marketing database or initiate a campaign to “win me back”. Moreover, they lost an opportunity to remind me, a loyal customer, why their restaurant should be my top choice.

From this experience, I was reminded – and I hope it serves as a reminder for you – that consistent and creative app promotion is just as important as having a great app. 

So, what’s next? How do you ensure that your restaurant’s app doesn’t just sit idle on your customers’ phones but becomes their go-to tool for all things related to your restaurant? Stay with me as I share valuable tips and strategies to help you make your app a star performer, driving your restaurant’s success story.

A Gift for Download

A Gift Incentives in restaurant

Let’s explore the power of incentives to encourage customers to use your restaurant’s app. In the competitive world of digital technology, offering something extra can be the key ingredient that entices customers to act.

Consider this: who can resist a tempting treat? I’ve personally experienced the irresistible allure of a complimentary dessert that motivated me to take action. By simply downloading your app, customers can indulge in an immediate reward, such as a tasty slice of carrot cake. This small gesture not only captures their attention but also invites them to become part of your digital ecosystem. 

Now, you might be wondering, “Why go through the trouble of offering incentives? Shouldn’t I offer 20% off, and it will do the job?” Well, let me share an insightful idea with you. Offering gifts as incentives can be more cost-effective compared to discounts or special prices. Why? Because gifts don’t serve as replacements for your main menu items. By offering a slice of carrot cake or another treat, you keep the average check intact. It’s a win-win situation that adds value for your customers without sacrificing your bottom line.

Therefore, it’s time to unleash your creativity when it comes to promoting your app. Just as a tempting slice of carrot cake can entice customers like me to download an app, consider what incentives will capture your customers’ attention. Perhaps it’s a complimentary appetizer or an enticing seasonal offer. The goal is to make it irresistible, compelling customers to take action.

Maximize Offline Marketing Channels

Offline Marketing Channels​ in restaurants

Once you’ve established enticing incentives for customers to download your app, the next step is to ensure they are aware of these rewards. After all, what good is a gift if nobody knows it exists?

Here are a few examples of how you can spread the word about your app beyond the digital realm:

  • Hand out leaflets in high-traffic areas like the main walkway, bar counters, Wi-Fi stickers, and even restrooms.
  • Put leaflets in silverware baskets, customer receipts, or delivery bags.
  • Place leaflets in between menu pages or add a special icon next to a menu item that customers can get as a reward if they download the app.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Offline marketing channels provide an opportunity to engage with customers directly and capture their attention in unexpected ways. By strategically placing leaflets or incorporating app promotions into your physical locations, you can pique curiosity and drive customers to download your app.

Remember, it’s important to be creative and consider your target audience. Think about the places your customers frequent and find ways to insert your app promotion materials there. Whether it’s through eye-catching displays, free stickers, or cleverly positioned leaflets, the goal is to make customers aware of your app and give them a compelling reason to take action.

Turn Your Team Into Brand Ambassadors

Restaurant Ambassadors​

Now that we’ve explored the power of incentives to encourage customers to download your restaurant’s app and discussed ways to maximize app awareness in offline channels, let’s turn our attention to another valuable resource right within your restaurant’s walls – your team.

Let’s think about it. Who knows the ins and outs of your restaurant better than your team? Who interacts with your customers on a daily basis? Who’s more likely to have an authentic and enthusiastic conversation about your app and its perks? The answer is, of course, your team. They possess the unique ability to promote your app verbally, sharing their own positive experiences and recommending its benefits. 

How to Do It

Turning your team into brand ambassadors isn’t just about telling them to promote the app; it’s about getting them genuinely excited and informed about it. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Incentivizing

Give your team a reason to promote the app. Consider setting up a friendly competition where the staff member who gets the most customers to download the app gets a reward. You can create individual employee promo codes in the LoyaltyPlant system to track each “ambassador” promotional effectiveness.

  • Training

Hold a special training session to walk your team through the app. Show them the features, explain the rewards system, and answer any questions they may have. The more familiar they are with the app, the better they can explain it to your customers. 

Encourage your staff to mention the app during their interactions with customers. Whether it’s at the point of order, during serving, or when presenting the bill, there are several touchpoints where they can organically introduce the app.

If you are not sure who can conduct this training or how to do it, don’t worry. Our Customer Support Experts at LoyaltyPlant can step in and help. They can conduct a comprehensive training session within your team, ensuring every member is comfortable with the app’s functionality and benefits. This way, you can be assured that your team is fully prepared to act as effective brand ambassadors for your app.

In conclusion, your team holds the potential to significantly increase the visibility and usage of your restaurant’s app. By training, incentivizing, and empowering them to be your app’s brand ambassadors, you can not only boost your app’s performance but also foster a sense of ownership and pride within your team. After all, a happy and engaged team leads to satisfied and involved customers.

Referral Marketing for Brand Awareness

Now that we have discussed how you can promote in-house, let’s dive into the power of word-of-mouth marketing through your restaurant’s app. We all know that satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with their friends, family, and colleagues. 

These personal recommendations carry a lot of weight and are often trusted more than traditional advertising methods. Harnessing the power of your customers’ voices can greatly contribute to the success of your app promotion efforts.

One effective way to foster word-of-mouth marketing is by using a referral program within your app, such as the one that LoyaltyPlant already has in place. This program incentivizes your existing customers to share your app with their family, friends, and subscribers. By offering rewards such as exclusive offers or freebies to both the referrer and the referred, you create a win-win situation that motivates your customers to spread the word about your restaurant using the LoyaltyPlant platform.

Remember, your guests are your best advocates. So, don’t underestimate the impact of word-of-mouth. Leverage your existing customer base and their enthusiasm for your restaurant to spread the word about your app. With their help, you can reach a wider audience and attract new customers eager to experience your app’s convenience and benefits. 

In-App Lottery

Now, let’s throw something a bit more fun into the mix. In-app games such as sweepstakes, giveaways, or contests can serve as powerful app awareness tool, it’s an absolute win-win. Your customers get a chance to win something valuable from their favorite brand, and you get to build a buzz and increase user interaction with your app. 

The great news? This fun feature doesn’t just increase app engagement and attract new users, it can also provide a significant boost to your bottom line. It’s a brilliant way to add some flavor to the user experience, while simultaneously cooking up some additional profits for your business. 

Without delving too much into details here, I recommend you check out our case study, “Dream Contest: Generating $20,000+ Profits with the Help of a Lottery.” It provides an in-depth exploration of how an in-app lottery was successfully launched in a restaurant scenario, complete with a real-world case example. 

The thrill of participation, the anticipation of potentially winning, and the appeal of rewards can combine to create an electrifying atmosphere that your customers will undoubtedly love, promoting regular app use and, in turn, supporting the ongoing success of your restaurant.

Here’s the secret sauce, this is not your run-of-the-mill, everyday advice on app promotion. We’re sidestepping the overcooked suggestions like “Just launch a Google campaign!” to deliver you something fresh.

Your app isn’t just a digital utility knife; it’s the online maitre d’ of your restaurant, embodying everything your brand stands for. So don’t let it gather virtual dust on the App Store. Give customers a compelling reason to download and use it, like their favorite spatula. And once they experience the convenience and benefits, your restaurant will become their preferred choice, thanks to the little extra incentive that sweetened the deal.

About the author
Olga P.

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