It’s no secret that COVID-19 is going to be around for a while. We’re seeing major companies changing their policies for the next year — or permanently — a real indicator that adapting to these times is critical.
When stage 2 of our local government’s economic relaunch plan opened up, my partner and I were ecstatic to go to some of our favourite restaurants — an activity that we missed during lockdown. Upon going, I saw a new reality in the hospitality industry — servers wearing masks, dividers between tables that used to be shared, sauces coming in single-serve containers with lids, tables far more spread out than before, the list goes on. All of these are great steps to keep our general population safe, but I noticed a vastly unstandardized way that menus were shared.
It might be obvious, but getting rid of the physical menu is a better way to keep your customers safe.
I’m not an expert on how an infectious virus spreads through the transmission of particles, but I am an expert on Digital Growth. I want to share why a digital menu is well worth the investment:
A digital mobile menu is an excellent way to bolster growth and separate yourself from your competition.
Here are 7 reasons to implement a mobile menu for your restaurant:
1. Increase the SEO value of your website
SEO has changed substantially — at this point, all Google cares about is if your site is valuable and provides an excellent experience to users. By providing users with a mobile menu, you can increase time on site (people take approx. 3–7 minutes to decide on their orders, and the average time on site is 2–3 minutes), which is an indicator to Google that your site has valuable content. Second is pages per session — assuming you separate your menu into different pages by appetizers, mains, sandwiches, salads, desserts, drinks, etc., people will navigate between a bunch of those pages. Last is direct traffic — direct traffic is a crucial metric Google uses to increase SEO value.
Ultimately, implementing a mobile menu at your restaurant will result in higher Google rankings (over time).
2. Target your existing customers on Google, Facebook, Instagram and more
When someone comes to your mobile menu, the Google Tag and Facebook Pixel positioned in the <head> of your page tells them that a Facebook or Google user is viewing your menu. You can create a custom audience based on those who visited the menu from your restaurant (using a UTM tag) and create campaigns exclusively for those that have already been to your restaurant.
These people are already familiar with your restaurant, so messaging in the campaigns can be more granular such as, “Come check out our new patio” or “Brunch is back! Join us Friday to Sunday from 10–2 and try our Smoked Brisket Eggs Benny!”
3. Lookalike / Similar Audiences to those who come to your restaurant
Facebook and Google have a ton of data on your customers — and they know how to target those who have similar attributes to them. This algorithmic approach is incredibly powerful. Leveraging these audiences is a sure way to best target new customers who would probably love your restaurant, but may not know about it (yet).
4. Track conversions (aka menu opens) digitally
When someone accesses your menu, after hearing about your restaurant through a Facebook or Google Ads campaign, you can easily track the success of the campaigns by adding a UTM code to the menu URL, which is scanned through a QR code from a table tent.
How is this done?
Create your mobile menu, which can be accessed through your website
Generate a UTM Tag specific to the URL of your menu
Generate a QR code using a tool like this
Add a table tent with a QR Code on it, with instructions on how to scan it (open camera, click the link)
When creating campaigns, enable conversion tracking for those who visit a specific page, and enter the full URL that was generated using the UTM generator.
Voila, watch the conversions rise in Google Analytics and Facebook Business Manager.
Note: It’s essential to add the UTM tag to differentiate those who visit the menu on your website casually and those who access it in the actual restaurant.
5. Increase retention by offering a free appetizer or a free $X gift card next time the customer comes back
Add a banner to the top of your mobile menu, offering an incentive for people to leave their emails, then send them a coupon or an offer that’s valid the next time they come in.
This one is simple but effective. Also, it isn’t new — chain restaurants like McDonald’s and Starbucks use this method to build a database and incentivize people to download their apps. I recognize that your restaurant probably doesn’t have an app (and you probably don’t need one), but providing a $5-$10 gift card is an inexpensive way to increase your customers’ lifetime value and keep them coming back.
6. Generate more Google Reviews by asking for honest feedback in a follow-up email to your customer after their meal
This piggy-backs off number 5, because you need the customer’s email to ask for feedback.
Around 4 hours after your customer provides their email, send them an automated email asking how their experience was (with 5 stars). Link the first 3 stars to a form that asks how you can improve. Link the 4th and 5th star to a Google Review page. Make sure the copy in this email is genuine and short.
7. Generate an email list when you have special events, promotions, etc
This final strategy also builds off of number 5. Generate an email list of past customers (who intend to return) and update them occasionally on events and promotions at your restaurant. This is another way to capitalize on that appetizer or gift card you gave them the first time they used your mobile menu.
To do this, you need to abide by your local spam or digital communication legislation. Ensure there is a box they can check to opt-in or out of these types of emails.
About Catch Digital
Catch is a full-service digital growth agency, focusing on the full digital experience from website to advertising, through to conversions and CRM implementation. We enable scalable growth through modern technology.
For your restaurant, we can build a well-designed mobile (and desktop) menu and implement all of the tracking and scripts to help your business scale on your platform of choice (no need to switch website platforms). From there, we will build the campaigns and automations to help you grow so that you can focus on your business’s operations.