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14 Mobile Marketing Ideas for Restaurant Marketers

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Consumer behavior is changing. Guests are glued to their phones and hold the power of a restaurant’s reputation in their hands. This is why restaurants must keep up with the newest mobile marketing trends or risk losing relevance.

Restaurant Apps Allow for Mobile Payments

1. Dunkin’ Donuts Gets App Happy

In August 2012, Dunkin’ Donuts released an app that allows guests to pay for their orders through a barcode that is scanned at the POS. This app has since expanded to include a store locator feature, which they promoted with a Twitter contest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDRsJUZRYM8

2. Dairy Queen Loyalty App in Development

Dairy Queen is currently developing a new app that will not only allow for mobile payments, but also integrate reward cards, promotions, and guest coupons both in-store and in the drive-thru.

3. OpenTable Expands to Mobile Payments

With 36 percent of OpenTable’s 34 million users in North America reserving via mobile devices, OpenTable has set the stage to become a mobile payment go-between for restaurants and guests. Testing currently in San Francisco, this app allows guests to make reservations and pay their bill from one app, though certain kinks must be worked out before it can be implemented nationwide. For example, how a waiter would know if a guest actually paid their bill or if they are one of the notorious restaurant runners.

4. Starbucks Sees Year-on-Year Growth with Mobile Payments

The third quarter of 2013 saw the Starbucks mobile app garnering 10 percent of US in-store transactions, with a 30 percent growth in total dollars spent through My Starbucks Rewards, and 100 percent growth, year-on-year, in dollars loaded to the card through their mobile app. This dependence on mobile technology has led the Silicon Valley stores to start offering wireless chargers for mobile devices.

Restaurant App Sweepstakes

5. Papa John’s Sends Guests to the Super Bowl

With football season upon us, Papa John’s is offering a prize package including tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl in East Rutherford, New Jersey. To enter, guests had to order through the company’s mobile app or website between August 5-31, 2013.

papa johns mobile marketing ad

6. Auntie Anne’s Sees Big Numbers in Mobile App Sweepstakes

Out of the 211,173 registrants to Auntie Anne’s Honey Whole-Grain Pretzel Sweepstakes, 34 percent came from mobile devices (11 percent via SMS). The sweepstakes saw 1.6 million entries with 4,800 tweets and 13,000 Facebook shares.

auntie anne's mobile marketing ad

7. Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery Turns 30

To celebrate their 30th anniversary, and build their brand new SMS database, Maggie Moo’s offered 30 cent scoops to their subscribed guests. This promotion saw a 454 percent increase in transactions and 27 percent increase in net sales from one store in one day – helping to add 32,000 consumers to their SMS database in the following 5 months.

maggie moo mobile marketing ad

Geofencing and Mobile Ads

8. Peter Piper Picked a Heck of A Promotion

To increase foot traffic and build their own SMS database, Peter Piper Pizza instituted a geo-targeted campaign where a geofenced area was set up surrounding select locations in Texas. Should a guest enter the fenced area, a mobile ad is triggered offering them one of two promotions: a free drink with lunch buffet or a large, one-topping pizza. Users could then type in their phone number to receive future promotions.

9. Quiznos Takes Geofencing Even Further

Rather than target everyone within a certain distance of their locations, Quiznos limited their mobile ads to users who have visited similar QSR locations in the past 30 days. This selectivity resulted in 3.7 million new impressions and a 20 percent increase in coupon redemption in the tested region of Portland, Oregon.

Bouncebacks with Mobile Marketing

10. Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse Gets Guests Back

In a partnership with Pepsi, Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouse is offering (through September 2013) guests in-store deals for downloading their mobile app and scanning the QR code at their table. This offer could be used on the spot or saved for later use.

Ponderosa mobile marketing ad

Online Ordering

11. Burger King Delivers

Burger King has expanded its BKDelivers program to include New York, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay area, Greater Washington DC, Phoenix, and Denver. While not an app, this mobile enabled site allows guests to order straight from their smartphones.

burger king mobile marketing app

Augmented Reality with Mobile Marketing

12. Buffalo Wild Wings Wants Guests to Win

From September 2, 2013 to November 24, 2013, guests can download an augmented reality game (Big Kick Challenge) to play at Buffalo Wild Wings. The game turns the tabletop into a football field and lets guests compete with one another to beat the one another’s top scores. Buffalo Wild Wings’ prior football game had 200,000 users, 27,000 Facebook shares and a 90 second average play time.

Real-Time Menu Engineering with Mobile Marketing

13. Menu Engineering Made User-Friendly

In Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Friendly’s used iPod Touches to survey guests on their food including its flavor, portion size, appearance, and perceived value. This method of mobile surveying saw more text responses than traditional paper form surveys. This method is also being used at Bonefish Grill, the Ninety Nine Restaurants, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

Mobile Marketing Giveaways

14. Yogurtland Goes Looney Tunes with Mobile Marketing

To promote their Lemon Cream Cookie Frozen Yogurt (and their partnership with Looney Tunes), Yogurtland launched an app where guests can scan in-store QR codes featuring various characters to receive free yogurt. The app also offers a store locator and flavor finder feature.

Yogurtland mobile marketing ad
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