What makes a great dining experience? What makes people visit a restaurant over and over again? What is that one element that they like about the place? Is it food? The way they are greeted at all checkpoints? Or the personal attention that they get from waiters and the manager?
Studies have shown that even if a restaurant serves the best of the food in the world, there is a high chance of low customer loyalty if their waitstaff does not understand, appreciate and act on the commitment to the customer.
Today, consumers demand tailored experiences, and it’s creating a need for a more personalized approach in operations, as well as marketing.
Personalized experiences play a vital role in the success and failure of a restaurant business. From entering the premises to receiving the check and everything that happens in between, it’s very important for a restaurant to facilitate an elite customer experience. Perhaps there are various tried and tested methods that one can implement to accomplish this.
But what about the online world?
Customers want to feel human, and the opportunity to deliver a human experience in the virtual world starts as soon as they land on the restaurant's website or open the mobile ordering app. How can you assure that your online ordering system - whether a website or a mobile app keeps them engaged? How does one add the element of personalization that drives more visits per customer?
Let’s find out!
In general, personalization refers to the practice where a service or app is customized to meet individual users’ or customers’ requirements. Restaurants, all over the world, are shifting their focus toward using customer interests and predictive analytics to improve their bottom line.
In the specific context of restaurants, it enables them to showcase their distinct flavor, while also letting the user know that they are reliable when it comes to understanding and serving customer needs, irrespective of how trivial such needs might seem. These results can be achieved using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), creative content, and dedicated customer support.
Remember that for personalization to be successful, it needs to be done well. The following are 5 ways that can help restaurants personalize the online ordering experience for customers.
It is a known fact that people often return to restaurants they like and are more likely to refer the restaurant to others once they become “regulars” at the establishment. One of the reasons customers prefer going to certain restaurants is that they make them feel familiar.
For instance, the waiters know the customer's name and can even guess the order, as it is often “the usual”. This could be any dish that the customer regularly orders or has ordered in the recent past. Such an experience can be recreated on an online food ordering service as well.
Consider collecting data points such as your customers' favorite dishes, food allergies, and special life events like birthdays and anniversaries, for easy-to-go orders. Allow your customers to customize their profiles and create their own food identities on the system. This not only lets them choose their themes and preferences but also makes them feel like they are in control. More often than not, we like something better when it’s customized to our sensibilities. And, the more the scope for customization, the easier it is to order food.
For instance, In 2015, Dominos took digital ordering experience at step further with the latest strategy promising to enable customers to order a pizza in seconds using an emoji on Twitter.
“Customers had to create a Domino’s Pizza Profile and link it to their Twitter handle. The feature was designed so users are able to re-order their Easy Order by simply tweeting #EasyOrder or the pizza emoji to @Dominos. The strategy is the latest example of how food and beverage marketers are trying innovative ways to drive excitement and sales.
Newsletter personalization has been proven to increase the success ratio of email marketing campaigns by up to 81%.
A good way to make your customers feel intimately connected to your brand is to make sure that every customer receives the content that is tailored and unique for them. This creates trust, increases customer satisfaction, and most importantly generates customer loyalty.
Newsletters could include recipes, food blogs, promotional content, special offers, and deals. You can also sell additional membership or loyalty reward program in the newsletter, providing an added revenue stream for your business.
How to get started with Newsletter Personalisation? List segmentation can help you get started with personalization.
For example, you could create a VIP customer segment from customers who have spent $100 per order in the last three months. Once you’ve created this segment, you can easily insert a promotion that will only be seen by the targeted group.
"Design your burger" or "make your own pizza" - such "build your own" can help you tap into consumer trends toward customization, and cater to their specific mix-in requests.
From Chipotle to Subway, many eateries have adapted the concept “Have it your way.”
In 2014, Chipotle started this trend by encouraging guests to make their own Burritos. This strategy moved up their sales graph from 11.6% to 17.5%.
Allowing customers to create their own dish which is outside of the restaurant’s regular menu not only empowers them but also gives them the joy of ordering something unique, thus enhancing the chances that they will remember the restaurant better and want to go back to it over and over again. Usually, it works well with fast food places like pizza, sandwiches, burger or Asian food joints that have a variety of toppings and sides.
Deals and offers that are customized for the user has become essential to foster customer loyalty and increase profitability.
If you’re just starting out with personalized offers, it’s important to understand how customization and personalization play into this process. By analyzing massive amounts of data, including interest, order history, location and so on, restaurant owners can deliver individualized messaging, products and experiences