Restaurant ordering is changing. According to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 69% of those surveyed have placed orders using a mobile device, with 50% having downloaded a restaurant-specific app and 55% downloading a restaurant review app such as Yelp (37%), Urbanspoon (24%), and Zagat (9%).
Following are 13 examples of mobile restaurant marketing that uses this technology trend to their advantage.
When Jack in the Box saw the surge in mobile traffic to its web site, the company redesigned to get in on this mobile restaurant marketing trend. They wanted to drive engagement, encourage repeat visits, and prompt social network sharing. The new mobile website and smartphone app for their “Hot Mess Burger,“ “Hot Mess Wedges,” and “Hot Cinnamon Shake” now links directly to Jack’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, flaunts the new menu, and locates the nearest drive-through.
P.F. Chang’s introduced a mobile app to boost their “Warrior Rewards” loyalty program. Customers who download the app receive a free appetizer and can hang out with Chang by accessing specials and promotions, finding the closest location, browsing the menu, placing a to-go order, determining their “Dish of Destiny” or creating a Mad Lib style fortune cookie to share on Twitter or Facebook.
Even social media users who ignore ads read their friends’ posts, so Chili’s now offers freebies to patrons who check-in with their Facebook or Foursquare apps. With one click, the apps use a smartphone’s GPS location to tell the world who’s got free chips & salsa or an ice cream topped brownie.
With Bar Louie’s app, guests can buy rounds, send gifts, and be the life of the party — all while staying home. Friends check-in with their location on Facebook using the app, then a mobile user with the Bar Louie’s app can specify what drinks to send to which people, making their smartphones into gift cards.
McDonald’s is now utilizing geo-targeted ads in mobile applications using a smartphone’s GPS. Their current ad in the popular Pandora music app shows the exact distance to the McDonalds location nearest where a user stands. Tap on the ad, and guests can see every other location in close proximity.
Pei Wei Asian Diner added 6,000 people to their email list in only two weeks by offering a special promotion via their smartphone app and SMS program. The promotion succeeded with a redemption rate of over 20% for the certificate.
Dunkin’ Donuts utilized mobile marketing as a way to increase location visits. The chain offered high dollar prizes to those who checked in at locations via social media apps Foursquare and/or Facebook the most often. Participants were able to check in once an hour for a maximum of ten times per day.
CiCi’s Pizza partnered with Key Ring to take the classic loyalty card digital. Guests simply download the Key Ring app, sign up for CiCi’s Mobile Pizza Perks and enjoy exclusive offers from their favorite restaurant.
Sports bar and restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings found success by utilizing their mobile app, SCVNGR. The app, available for most smart phones, presents users with a series of challenges to win prizes. Most activities involve an action within the restaurant location (i.e.. taking a photo of a napkin or tabletop, etc.)
Hard Rock Café now uses ReadyPing, an SMS based application designed to let customers know when their tables are ready as well as other information and alerts. The app allows far more interaction than the old pagers and is becoming so popular, it is spilling into other industries.
Luxury hotel and restaurant brand Starwood has paired with Apple’s Passbook. The mobile app allows users to link and track their member benefit cards and track reservations with every subsidiary. The brand states their main reason for this move is to help users easily track benefit points and to encourage them to increase their balances.
InterContinental Hotels has released an iPad Cookbook app, with recipes created by some of the brand’s most esteemed chefs. The hotel hopes to attract customers who try the recipes at home, like them, and want to visit the group’s luxury restaurants. The program is free and available in Apple’s App Store.
White Castle guests can opt-in to Text2Crave, an app service that sends custom SMS text alerts whenever the guest’s smartphone is near a location. Users can enjoy free snacks, contests, promotions or, at the very least, directions.
Subscribe to our newsletter for more examples of successful restaurant marketing.
Aaron Allen & Associates is a global restaurant consultancy, offering branding, marketing, and design strategy for restaurateurs. Contact us today to start improving your business.