Spending at restaurants in the U.S. has surged over the past few months, with sales at food service and drinking establishments rising 1.3 percent in July 2018 to $61.6 billion. However, industry data shows that restaurant sales are growing while customer traffic declines,suggesting fewer diners eating out but spending more when they do. Although the rise in restaurant spending is good news for the foodservice industry, as the foodservice business becomes ever more competitive and continues to evolve, restaurant managers must find cost-effective and efficient ways to attract new diners and keep repeat customers coming back.
Across the industry, the food delivery business is undergoing rapid change as new online platforms race to capture markets and customers. Since growth in the restaurant industry is coming from those who are dining at home, restaurants are under pressure to attract sit-in diners and still offer a customized experience to delivery customers. Beyond the rise in demand for food delivery, an influx of other dynamics including dining habits, high operating costs and stiff competition mean that restaurants and foodservice businesses need to do more to prove that they can be innovative, flexible and able to adjust quickly to rapidly evolving needs and preferences.
As the foodservice business becomes ever more competitive and continues to evolve …
How can restaurants and foodservice businesses make their mark in an ever-evolving business landscape? For restaurant managers facing the challenge of standing out in a crowded market, delivering a unique customer experience with a lasting impression—creating a “moment” for diners— is critical to increasing customer traffic and bolstering restaurants’ bottom line. A great way to create this customized experience is through tabletop marketing and social media.
Custom touches can go a long way in helping build a restaurant’s unique brand personality and making a mark both inside and outside of the dining room. One way for restaurants and foodservice businesses to add custom touches is by recognizing that everyday tabletop products, such as napkins and napkin dispensers, can double as marketing tools to connect directly with customers.
A recent study indicates that 75 percent of restaurant-goers believe that restaurants with custom print napkins care more about the customer experience and agree that custom print napkins helps them stand out from other restaurants. Digital print is the latest technology that enables full color images, including photographs, to be printed on napkins. Restaurants and foodservice businesses can print custom messages, images and designs on napkins that are used by both customers dining in and take-out customers.
Using napkins as a marketing and promotional tool enables restaurant managers the flexibility and freedom to change the messages they want to communicate to their customers easily and inexpensively. Printing on napkins can serve many different purposes For example, napkins can be printed with messages or designs that grow a restaurant’s brand by conveying their story and history, or they can promote special menu items, discounts and events. For customers ordering food delivery, restaurants can provide napkins that features messages and images that connect them to the restaurant’s brand identity without having to step foot in the restaurant. To convert take-out customers into dine-in customers, restaurant managers can customize napkins with incentives to drive foot traffic, such as coupons that are only valid in-store.
… restaurant managers must find cost-effective and efficient ways to attract new diners and keep repeat customers coming back.
Tabletop marketing is also a powerful tool restaurant managers can use to differentiate their establishment and create a unique environment for their customers while showcasing their efforts to meet customers’ expectations on issues important to customers, such as sustainability. Some napkin dispensers also have display panels, giving businesses even more flexibility to tailor the customer experience with on-premises messaging, which can increase check size and repeat business. Since customers might be less likely to provide return business unless they have a unique experience or are left with a lasting impression of the restaurant’s identity or values, tabletop marketing is a powerful and yet subtle way for restaurants to drive sales and traffic.
To take customization to the next level, business owners and restaurant managers can reach their customers by creating messages through online tools and sharing them on social media. In the digital age with various online food-ordering services coupled with competition to attract a younger demographic, it is more important than ever for restaurants to carve out a place in the market by developing an online presence to distinguish their brand and offerings in order to fill their dining rooms and increase profits. Restaurants can transform traditional napkin dispenser ads into onsite and social media vehicles to showcase menus, promotions, and events to drive and sustain in-store traffic.This gives restaurant managers the ability to share promotions via social media, allowing them to stimulate engagement, reach a wider audience, and boost customer attention and loyalty.
As the food business landscape becomes more competitive, restaurant managers must find creative and innovative ways to maximize profits. Restaurants can ensure that they’re not left in the dust by using marketing solutions that enable them to engage directly with customers and provide an exceptionally unique experience. Customized napkins and napkin dispenser displays that are optimized for social media are a perfect example of how a restaurant can promote its brand and messaging for a better overall impression, service and atmosphere and ensure that they remain ahead of current trends in a cost-effective and impactful way.