Jess Shelcusky
Jess Shelcusky
Jess Shelcusky is a marketing communications specialist at Paytronix focusing on the restaurant industry. With an MBA from Boston College and a passion for telling stories, she helps produce new content to help businesses take their marketing to the next level. When not blogging, managing the Paytronix Twitter account, or hosting webinars, she loves trivia and rewatching Game of Thrones.

5 Ways to Make the Guest Experience Frictionless

Your guests increasingly expect frictionless experiences when dining out. Whether customers choose to visit a fast-casual or full-service restaurant in person or have their favorite meal delivered, making their interactions with your brand seamless from start to finish should be high on your priority list. Here are five of the top ways you can remove potential speedbumps and deliver the best possible frictionless guest experience.

  1. NFC Loyalty ID
    NFC Loyalty ID represents the intersection of convenient payment and guest engagement. Through innovative technology, retailers can provide frictionless guest experiences while at the same time capturing data and offering easy program enrollment. Many guests already have their phones in their hands while waiting in line, so a simple tap at an NFC-enabled payment terminal lets them make purchases without having to dig through purses or wallets for a means of payment. Enrolled guests earn and redeem rewards with that same tap, while those not currently enrolled will be prompted to join, making NFC Loyalty ID an easy way to acquire more members while keeping existing ones engaged.
  2. Pay-by-Mobile
    Did you know that guests at a full-service restaurant wait an average of 12 minutes between the time they request their check and when their transaction is complete? This time spent waiting often leaves a negative last impression for guests who might have otherwise enjoyed the meal. With Pay-by-Mobile, guests can load their bill onto the restaurant’s mobile app and pay as soon as they are ready. By eliminating the waiting period, the guests have better experiences, the restaurant can more quickly turn the table over during peak times, and servers receive higher tips.
  3. Online Ordering
    For guests on the go, the ability to place an order online and pick it up without having to wait provides the convenience they seek. In order to deliver the best possible experience for your guests, in-store pickup needs to be as quick and easy as the ordering process. If guests have placed an order online to avoid a wait, you shouldn’t make them stand in line to pick up their meal. Having a clearly marked designated area for picking up online orders eliminates the last chance for friction and ends the guest experience on a high note.
  4. Delivery
    For many of your customers, the most convenient option is often not going out at all, but rather, having their meals brought to them. Since delivery is predicted to constitute 40% of restaurant sales by 2020, many restaurants view it as a necessity. By making delivery available through your mobile app and coordinating it with your loyalty program, you will gain rich data for your marketing strategy and learn which promotions are likely to be the most effective.
  5. Stored Value
    Like NFC Loyalty ID, stored value presents another way that guests can pay for purchases without having to put down their phone. By loading money onto the mobile app, guests are making a commitment to your brand and ensuring that they will return for future visits. When their balances are running low, guests can be prompted to load more money onto their accounts or encouraged to sign up for auto-reload. These options provide guests with the peace of mind that they will always be able to cover their next purchase.

Learn more about ways you can make your guest experience frictionless by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or request a demo today.

3 Ways to Make a Working Lunch Work for You

 

According to a recent survey by Tork, millennials are three times more likely than baby boomers to believe that coworkers would judge them negatively for taking a lunch break. With millennials now constituting the majority of the workforce in the United States, their reluctance to eat during the workday is putting a dent in weekday-afternoon traffic. To counteract this mindset, brands are taking some interesting approaches. Potbelly, for instance, has partnered with UberConference to play hold music with humorous lyrics meant to make listeners crave a sandwich during afternoon conference calls.

How can your brand attract more lunchtime customers? Here are three proven ways:

  1. Drive on-premises visits. Timely messages containing lunch promotions should be sent through email or SMS. A buy-one, get-one-half-off promotion is likely to entice people to bring their coworkers and move their meetings outside of the office. Providing Wi-Fi and ample places for electronics to be plugged in will accommodate guests who are looking to get work done while they eat. Even the old promotion involving business cards being placed in a fishbowl can be digitized, enabling entry for the prize with each lunch order.
  2. Offer advance ordering and quick pickup. People who are hungry but don’t feel like they have much time to spare will appreciate being able to order ahead, whether online or through a mobile app. Advance ordering that is frictionless and easy to navigate makes it convenient for this segment of your guests to grab some lunch and take it back to the office.
  3. Focus on corporate catering clients. One of the most common office perks is company-provided lunch. The average business spends $1,100 per month on catering, so having that type of revenue can easily compensate for fewer individual orders. Since 30 percent of catering customers order weekly, attracting clients by offering a catering rewards program can provide a significant boost to sales. And if you make a good impression, those corporate employees are likely to visit you on their own time.

To learn more about what you can do to attract lunchtime business, register for our upcoming webinar, “How to Win the Lunch Crowd,” which takes place on July 9th at 1 p.m. EST.

5 Summer Promotions to Deliver High Impact

Many restaurants face more of a challenge during the summer months, when regular guests may be out of the area on vacation or taking advantage of the warm weather to grill at home. Using your guest engagement platform to create innovative campaigns will help drive visits and incremental spend. Check out these five proven ways that your restaurant can keep your guests engaged and excited all season long.

1. Prepaid Meal Passes
Last summer, HuHot Mongolian Grill revamped its traditional summer gift card promotion and launched the HuHot Grill Pass.  During the month of July, guests purchased the Grill Pass for 5, 11, or 25 entrées and had until the end of the year to redeem them. Since the guests had prepaid for their meals, they were more likely to buy additional items like appetizers and desserts. In fact, HuHot found that purchasers spent 80% more than the cost of the Grill Pass during the redemption period. Because of the initial expense, these passes keep guests coming back again and again.

2. Instant Wins

July is National Hot Dog Month, which presented a perfect opportunity for National Coney Island to reward its guests with instant wins. Throughout the month, new and existing program members had the chance to win free menu items like beverages or fries with every swipe of their loyalty card. After winning, guests had 14 days to come back and claim their prizes. This instant-win promotion not only created excitement but also delivered huge impact for National Coney Island’s business, nearly doubling enrollment and increasing visits by almost 40%.  

3. Quests

Giving your guests the opportunity to complete a quest in order to receive a reward is a great way to increase transactions. The Yogurtland Flavor Quest challenged guests to visit and earn stamps in a virtual passport by trying new flavors that were released throughout the summer. The more new flavors they tried, the more yogurt they could earn at the end of the quest. In the first year that this promotion was run through the Yogurtland loyalty program and mobile app, participation tripled and 32% of the participants visited once a week or more.

4. One-to-One Visit Challenges
Giving your guests reasons to visit their favorite location more frequently is a successful way to increase your sales. With one-to-one visit challenges, you can vary the length or the number of visits needed in order to maximize ROI. Whereas infrequent guests might have to make fewer visits over a longer time span, your best guests may need to visit more often over a shorter period to complete the challenge. Using machine learning to figure out the best challenge for each guest gives you the best chance to truly drive incremental visits during these slower months.

5. Win Back Campaign
Summer is a great time to attract guests who haven’t visited recently through a win-back campaign. One particular restaurant experienced great success by sending the richest offers to guests who hadn’t visited in the past 12 months and lesser offers to those who were already actively engaged. During one of its win-back campaigns, the number of visits from infrequent guests increased by 176%. Once these guests have returned, there will be opportunities to keep them coming back all summer.

Learn how you can introduce these high-impact promotions to your marketing strategy – by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or requesting a demo today.

3 Mistakes Restaurant Loyalty Programs Need to Stop Making

Restaurants commonly make three mistakes that restrict their ability to acquire new customers, keep them active, and encourage more frequent visits. You might be limiting the impact of your customer loyalty program without even realizing it, but eliminating these three things will help spur more growth.   

  • Stop requiring app downloads as the only way to participate. According to a recent Harris Poll survey, 58% of respondents were less likely to join a loyalty program that required them to download an app. Another study revealed that 18% of adults in the U.S. still don’t use a smartphone. Considering the number of people who don’t want to download an app and those who are unable to, why would you make that the only method for guests to enroll? By letting more guests interact with your restaurant in the ways they prefer, you increase your ability to market to them and drive incremental visits and spend. Ideally, guests should be able to enroll at the POS, via text-to-join, and even with a physical card. A mobile app is a valuable tool, but don’t make it your only one.
  • Stop sending non-personalized emails. Your customer engagement strategy should be focused on building relationships with your guests. Sending the same generic email to everyone hinders your ability to connect with individual customers. According to SendGrid’s 2018 Global Email Benchmark Report, guests receive an average of seven emails per month per brand, with open rates of about 18%. How can you make sure that your marketing communication doesn’t become part of the 82% that guests never see? One way is by personalizing your emails directly in the subject line. When customers are only one visit away from earning a reward, including that information along with their name in the subject line will cut through their crowded inbox and influence them to visit. Getting customers to enroll is an important first step but keeping them active by communicating timely offers and promotions is what creates value for your restaurant.
  • Stop missing opportunities to target nearby guests. An effective way to increase personalization and drive more visits is by utilizing geo-targeting in your marketing strategy. If some of your customers are nearby and debating where to eat, pushing them a notification at that time may be all the prodding needed for them to select your restaurant over all of their other options. Sending targeted messages to nearby guests results in a significantly higher visit rate than cold email blasts. By reaching out when they’re already close to a location and reminding them of available rewards or promotions, you can accelerate their visit frequency and trigger valuable incremental visits.

To learn more about why you should stop doing these three things, check out our free, on-demand webinar, “3 Things to Stop Doing in 2019.”