Restaurateurs said they recognize the growing importance of social channels to interact with patrons, build their brand and manage their reputation, but effectively maintaining the sheer number of channels has become a complex problem.
In terms of growing the business, almost 60 percent of respondents said they plan to offer new or additional menu items, while exactly half of them said they would adjust their promotional mix to maximize ROI. At the same time, a majority of survey respondents (86 percent) said they rely on their own experience or the advice of others to make marketing decisions without the help of any supporting data.
Additional highlights of the survey include:
- Respondents identified the months of January, February, July and August as slow months for business. To compensate during those months, those surveyed said they offered special promotions.
- Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents think online deal sites, such as LivingSocial, are successful in driving sales; 18 percent stated that online deal sites are more beneficial than other marketing channels.
- Respondents that offer promotions outside of social media do so more frequently on deal sites than on their own websites (77 percent compared to 44 percent).
- Sixty-one percent of respondents said they used deal sites two to four times a year, while 17 percent leveraged them five or more times per year.
- A majority of restaurateurs find that multiple promotions are successful in driving sales and repeat business but offering a dollar savings with a minimum spend requirement is most successful in meeting both goals.
- Of the respondents who spend more marketing dollars during certain times of year, almost two-thirds of them reported spending more during off peak seasons and less than a quarter spend more during the holidays.
- The majority of respondents allocated up to 25 percent of their budget to holiday marketing, often to promote dollar savings on a minimum spend.