As the world heads into its second pandemic-clouded March Madness, online ordering is predicted to reach an all-time high for restaurants across the industry. The question is, are restaurants spending their marketing dollars wisely to cash in on the upcoming bonanza?
Online ordering has exploded during the pandemic as restaurants across the country shift to online and takeout-heavy models in an attempt to balance the steep decline in revenue caused by the elimination of indoor dining. At the peak of the pandemic, some restaurants reported that 80 to 85% of sales came through online orders. YUM! Brands, the fast food corporation that operates Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, among others, reported that online sales doubled during the pandemic.
Restaurant owners know that their POS system can create automated reports that help track costs, but many owners may not be aware of the various types of reports that their POS system can provide. When used correctly, POS data can help to better target marketing dollars and craft winning promotions that actually work.
With the NCAA tournament around the corner, now is the time for restaurant owners to leverage the data and insight that POS systems provide to dictate thoughtful and targeted marketing efforts that can help boost check averages.
How To Boost Check Averages
Without a strategy to turn data into sales, POS data just becomes more noise. So how do smart brands use this data to increase overall sales? A good POS system provides insight into “product affinity,” or the types of items on a menu that customers frequently buy together. By crafting smart promotions around these items, restaurants can entice customers to spend more money overall while offering a deal on frequently purchased menu options. For example, restaurants can group popular appetizers together as a game day sampler or make larger portion sizes of top-selling dishes to mark up and promote as a “Final Four Feast.”
Sales data can show brands who their most frequent and profitable customers are, what they buy and when they’re ordering. Knowing this, restaurants can plan a happy hour discount or limited-time menu offerings during slower time windows to help encourage orders. If the most profitable customers spend the majority of their dollars on a particular salad at lunch, then incentivize these customers to join a loyalty program that offers a discount on salad add-ons around lunchtime. Once customers have joined the program, restaurants have an opportunity to retarget big spenders with specific email promotions that, based on their purchase history, restaurants know will resonate.
Create POS-Powered Promos
Customer data provides invaluable marketing fodder. Businesses that focus their marketing and advertising budgets on targeted campaigns centered around key locations or customer demographics with high purchase incentives see stronger results for their money than those who don’t. Also, clever and eye-catching promotions can help drive traffic to online ordering where restaurants can further target customers with tempting add-ons and discounted menu pairings.
Before March Madness sales hit, restaurant owners should analyze last year’s POS data to determine which items saw the highest sales numbers and create game day-specific specials around those items. If the average check size for online tournament orders was $40, create a promotion that requires customers to spend a minimum of $40 in order to qualify. Not only do these data-driven promotions and limited-time offers help to boost sales, but customers routinely express a preference for them over other types of discounts.
No doubt, the pandemic has put restaurants on the defensive, but smart operators can use their POS systems and prepare for the upcoming ordering surge with thoughtful and targeted game-day marketing campaigns that are sure to be a slam dunk.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Graham Campbell, COO of Givex, a global cloud-based operations management solution designed to streamline business efficiencies and generate valuable and actionable customer data with offices in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Brazil, Singapore and newly opened in Mexico City. Campbell is an innovative technology executive with over 13 years of experience in the payment, e-commerce and point of sale sectors. He started at Givex in March 2006 and since then has held positions including: VP of Projects & Implementations, VP and General Manager of Givex’s point-of-sale (POS), Senior VP of Product Development and now holds the position of the company’s Chief Operating Officer.