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Key to Restaurant Growth Lies in Daily Digital Marketing

Restaurant managers, franchisees and business owners already have a full plate with day-to-day business operations. Customers meanwhile, are engaging with businesses using technology in new ways at an ever-increasing pace. This makes it difficult at the restaurant level to keep up with the demands of digital marketing across review sites, email marketing, loyalty programs, social media and mobile marketing. Leveraging digital marketing resources can offer ROI as it leads to increased brand awareness and customer loyalty. Incorporating digital marketing activities into an everyday work routine can help maximize growth.

Mine review sites for overriding themes and pain points  
Review sites provide valuable information for maintaining long-term success and increasing customer bases. Rather than reading every detail of reviews on sites like Yelp, Opentable and Google, it is useful to recognize themes in feedback. Quickly scan for trends and take note if certain areas are increasing or decreasing in mentions. A few useful questions to ask are: What are customers saying about the business overall? Are they happy with service? Is one product mentioned or recommended more than others?

Include this information in weekly or monthly management review meetings where the data can be used as a tool to gauge and improve customer experience or up-sell opportunities. For example, customers often talk about portion sizes or menu items that they like or don’t like. When this information is combined with sales and food cost data it enables the restaurant to make more informed business and marketing decisions. Also when customers on review sites recommend certain menu items at an increasing rate, sales of that item can be increased by aligning in-store marketing materials.   

Email marketing drives loyalty
Two issues often prevent businesses from sending out e-newsletters or announcements: collection of emails and content creation. For gathering emails or customer information use text-to-join tools, business card collection raffles or ask for emails when taking orders. Engagement marketing platforms like Constant Contact ( include the text-to-join number, website widget and more with any level of account. For newsletters it is critical to keep in mind that a 20% open rate is considered good. The majority of people don’t read the email, however 31% of the people who don’t even open it are still influenced by seeing the name and subject line and may make a purchase in the future. Create informative subject lines that are intended for people who are not going to open the email or act on it immediately. By removing the perceived pressure to include original content or be highly creative, the restaurant can instead focus on getting the e-newsletter out on a consistent basis.

Social media + mobile marketing = customer engagement
Social media can become a time management nightmare. Setting up tools like Hootsuite and SproutSocial allow restaurants to see a holistic view and manage multiple social media networks and profiles in one place, schedule messages, engage with audiences, and measure customer engagement and user performance. Once these platforms are correctly implemented, the restaurant can seamlessly post across platforms and schedule campaigns for later dates and monitor results. Once clear guidelines are established, encourage team members to take pictures or tweet about new specials. These real and unscripted yet structured activities produce higher returns and can easily be incorporated into daily workloads.
What was your first job?

Who inspires you?
My mother who continually establishes and systematically accomplishes new goals.

What are your hobbies?
Being a sushi chef and traveling.

What technologies excite you?
Health tech and fashionable wearable tech devices. 

Sage Advice:
Always taste test…daily.

What is one other job that you would like to try?
Television show host.

What three people would you invite to lunch?
Grandfather, Dalai Lama, Elvis

What is your favorite movie?
Big Night – it’s about a failing Italian restaurant run by two
brothers who gamble on one special night to try to save
the business.

Favorite vacation spot? 
Wherever my friends and family are.

David Mitroff, Ph.D. is a business consultant, marketing expert and keynote speaker who is the Founder, CEO and Chief Consultant of Oakland based Piedmont Avenue Consulting ( where he advises clients on leveraging new technology to create brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty and streamline business processes.

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