Now before you jump down my throat, I know this advice applies mostly to QSR and fast-casual chains. If you’re a marketer for the Ritz there will be a lot fewer tweets sent from your dining room (for now).
With that caveat out of the way here are 3 ideas to engage people while they dine:
Offer Free Wifi
Become the gatekeeper! No one wants to use their data plan if there’s a free alternative. You can offer wifi with no strings attached or, if you want to get tricky about it, you can offer a connection for people who like you on Facebook. As long as it’s a single click in exchange for free data people will be more than willing to do it. Once they’re connected to your network, you can entice them with great offers and compelling content (I’ll just shamelessly leave this link here in case you need some help on that front)!
Exchange coupons for feedback
Whether it’s an app or a mobile-friendly site, having a place where people can give you real-time feedback about their experience is crucial. What you *don’t* want is people leaving without a word then writing a 500 word Yelp review with lots of cussin’ directed your way. The tough part is getting people to give feedback while they’re still in your dining room. Consider using digital coupons in exchange for a quick rating of their experience. 25% off a dessert (that they might not have bought otherwise) or 10% off their next meal could be all the incentive people need to give feedback in-store. Giving people a place to blow off steam if they’ve had a bad time offers you the feedback you need without the sting of bad reviews online. Ideally you could even have managers target the tables who’ve had a bad experience and try to make it up to them before their experience ends up on Urbanspoon.
I can’t log into Facebook, twitter or Instagram without seeing my friends’ lunches. They all make me super hungry. I can’t be alone on this one. Sharing pictures of food has become a cultural meme and you should take advantage of that! One way is to run a promotion that offers entries to a grand prize draw, or the chance at an instant win prize, in exchange for sharing a picture of a meal with an appropriate hashtag or link. This gives you publicity on your guests’ social networks and starts a bigger conversation about your food.
It ain’t rude to encourage guests to tweet while they eat. Just maybe not in front of grandma.
If you’re interested, check out our webinar for some more sizzlin’ ideas for restaurant marketers.