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HT Talks Tech With Famous Toastery's Lorna Martinez

Famous Toastery has seen sales increase YoY 30% in 2022.
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Target the right people for your marketing message, advises Famous Toastery's Lorna Martinez.
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Famous Toastery, the 25-plus-unit, Charlotte, N.C.-based breakfast restaurant, amped up its marketing efforts, driven by data insights.  Famous Toastery has seen its year-over-year sales rise by over 30% in 2022.  

Hospitality Technology Magazine caught up with Famous Toastery's Director of Marketing Lorna Martinez to discuss marketing and its partnership with iHeartMedia.

HT: When and why did the partnership with iHeartMedia come about?

Famous Toastery Director of Marketing Lorna Martinez: We officially went live in March of this year.  We wanted to partner with a big media company that could not only help us showcase our messaging, but also to amplify and to reach the right people. We found that iHeartMedia had all the tools that we could use. They do all of our radio inside our stores. We get to make those playlists; we have our own playlist on the iHeart streaming app. We put in commercials with some voices that are known around Charlotte. We are growing and evolving how we're showing up as a brand with iHeartMedia. We update our content to make sure that we are targeting different demographics.

HT: How successful has this has been in reaching new people?

Martinez: I'm in love data and metrics. Gone are the days where you can go off of emotion and if you feel that something went well. We now have the data and metrics. What's beautiful about that is that as we desire ‘that more’, the ability to get ‘that more’ is also becoming more and more prominent. It's amazing what data and metrics you can get nowadays ... We get data and metrics updates for all of our tactics monthly. A huge benefit with the iHeartMedia partnership is when we have to pivot, for example. If we run an e-mail campaign, we see that our click-through rate is not going well, we can immediately change it; maybe the pictures we're using aren't so enticing, maybe the verbiage isn’t resonating with people. We can actually pivot right then and there and have an immediate update so that we stop sharing that programming and we start a new programming... KPIs are very important to us; we want to make sure that we are setting goals, hitting goals and exceeding goals. We get that information because of the breadth of data metrics that they that iHeartMedia can show us.

We make sure that everything we do is compatible with mobile and it's emphasized on mobile platforms.

71% of restaurants say using data to understand guest preferences and behavior is a top business driver impacting POS upgrade decisions, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

HT: What marketing trends have you noticed?

Martinez:  We can have the most brilliant marketing campaign, but if we're not pitching it to the right people, it's going to fall on deaf ears. We can’t stress that enough. People nowadays are very omnichannel. Mobile is huge for us; people are on their phone constantly. We make sure that everything we do is compatible with mobile and it's emphasized on mobile platforms.  [As a brand, you have got to show up on map apps such as Google Maps.] We make sure that we have a massive emphasis on Google. We just launched a program called ‘strive for five’ which is where we task our staff to provide the five-star service that we're known for. At the end of service, guests are handed a card with a QR code that links directly to our Google review page. The strategic thought behind using Google: the majority of our website traffic comes from Google. The more we raise our Google ratings the more validity we have. When other people are actually taking the time to tell you how great [Famous Toastery] is, that's a huge validator for us, and we show up higher on Google.

Marketing Tips

1. Make sure that everything is compatible with mobile, and it's emphasized on mobile platforms.

2. Know where your website traffic is coming from.  For example, Google is the top source for Famous Toastery.  

3. Encourage customer five-star reviews. Give them a card with a QR code that links to your Google review page, for example. 

4. Augment traditional marketing such as radio with social media and online marketing.

On top of that we want to layer on social media. Social media has become such a discovery point for a lot of people. The TikToks, the Instagrams and Facebooks of the world are all a massive discovery point for us. Again it's a very mobile-led.

HT: Are you using a tool like a customer data platform tool to help make sense of all this great data that you're capturing?

Martinez:  Yes, iHeartMedia has a full dashboard on the backend. We make sure that we pay attention to everything from impressions to time spent, etc... We love making sure that we have our current customers nice and happy -- that is our service model. We also want to get new customers and make sure that people know about us and have that be enough business for us. We get all of that information on the backend, and those are the tools that I then take and use for the next marketing campaign. We continue to evolve and continue to see what's working, what's not working and allow that information to be what helps us make decisions.

For example, third-party delivery is a major revenue source for us. How can we amplify that? They have an entire dashboard that shows us how many of our orders were missing an item, were cancelled, how many orders were greater than this amount of money, because we're trying to grow our checks, etc.   

…There's so much data and it's about making sense of it all. Because marketing is storytelling. How can we take that data and have a story behind it and be able to share that story with people internally? Data is king to me, but it's got to make sense financially as well.  You've got all these moving pieces, and at the end of the day and make something of it that you think will perform correctly.

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Famous Toastery has seen sales increase 30% this year.
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