Archive for the “Restaurant Marketing” Category

Three key takeaways from PXUX 2020

This year’s Paytronix User’s Conference was unconventional, to say the least; but thanks to our incredible clients, the first-ever virtual PXUX was a success!  

 Thank you for bringing valuable feedback, nuanced insights and dynamic conversation to the event and making PXUX 2020 one for the books.  

While we would have loved to have gathered, dined and shook hands with each and every one of our clients (PXUX 2021, perhaps?), we know some of you were not available and others might appreciate a recap of the conference’s events. Here is a high-level overview of some of the year’s biggest takeaways.   […]

Do you want fries with that? Beware the french fry giveaway

Monday marked National French Fry Day, one of the more popular of the arbitrary food holidays celebrated annually. (It was followed by National Grand Marnier Day on Tuesday and National Tapioca Pudding Day Wednesday – who knew?)

While most of these foodie festivals pass by without much fanfare, Americans’ particular love for the deep-fried potato drives many restaurants to mark the occasion, typically by offering free fries on the holiday.

While such a reward is likely to drive visits, restaurants should be prepared to see a drop in overall check size. When a medium-sized fast casual chain used free fries as a reward during a We Miss You campaign, they saw a 3.55% lift in visits, but a 1.34% drop in spend. […]

Paytronix powers Kowloon car hop

Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, Massachusetts has been a regional staple for decades. Founded as a Chinese restaurant in the 1950s, the family-owned eatery has added cuisines and themes over the years to keep up with changing trends, from Thai, to sushi, to an outdoor tiki bar.

So it’s no surprise that now, in the midst of a global pandemic, Kowloon is shapeshifting again. On Thursday, the restaurant will host the grand opening of its car hop and “drive-in” movie theater, located on-premise in the business’ massive parking lot.

Bob Wong, who owns and operates the restaurant with his siblings – the third generation of the family to do so – said that when he hatched the idea, he knew he needed a smart solution for taking orders.

“Just looking at the site, I was like, there’s no way I can put POS computers out there,” he said. He decided to put the ordering power directly in the guests’ hands. “I thought, why reinvent the wheel?”

What Wong envisioned was an early version of the new Paytronix Contactless Dining platform: a digital menu that would enable guests to place orders from their outdoor table and sync those orders seamlessly with the POS system. Wong was already using Paytronix Online Ordering to keep the business running during the shutdown, so he simply adapted the system to the new drive-in setup. […]

The industry rallied around gift cards, but did it help?

As the COVID-19 crisis gripped the restaurant industry, a call went out for people to purchase gift cards to help keep restaurants afloat. The hope was that an increase in gift card sales would sustain restaurants while they converted to a future dominated by online ordering, takeout, and delivery.

Download our annual Gift Card Report

The media ran with the story and restaurants nationwide sent out pleas to their customer base to help with a gift card or egift purchase.

An analysis of restaurant gift card sales in early 2020 reveals that the marketing effort worked but ultimately achieved mixed results. Overall, sales dropped during the pandemic, but that drop was much less severe than we saw in overall restaurant sales during that same period.

Around the same time we saw an increase in overall load amount on the cards purchased, with most of that increase happening in Casual and Fast Casual brands. This suggests that yes, the effort did manage to keep things from getting worse and provided restaurants with a much-needed kick. However, the actual impact on business is much more difficult to discern.

Gift card loads tend to hover around the $30 range for the industry as a whole, but in March we saw that number spike as high as $60, then settle in at about $15 higher than normal, eventually falling well below the normal benchmark.

Markets with the biggest impact

When we look closer, things vary through the industry. Fine Dining, for example, saw little movement in the average price of a gift card when compared year over year, while both Fast Casual and Casual Dining brands increases of between $10 and $30 on their average gift card sales. All that said, much of that lift was gone as we entered Q2. 

It’s also worth noting that included in the “gift cards” category are recurring loads for things like app-based purchases. Your coffee app may ask for your credit card, but you are effectively buying a gift card when you reload, then spending that money over time.

Moving forward, however, we see that gift card sales remain well below last year’s levels as we head into Q2, with traditional bumps in sales that happen around Mother’s Day and Graduation season being much less pronounced than in previous years. It is possible that people have switched to more generic gift card offerings, like those from third party delivery services, but we have little evidence to draw a full conclusion.

This is worth watching. However, given that the vast majority of gift card sales happen during the holiday season, we won’t have a good idea of whether there are major changes to the marketplace until the end of 2020.