Mobile Marketing Strategies for Restaurants

Multiple studies have shown that consumers will grab their mobile phone to research different restaurants in their immediate area before choosing an establishment for their next meal. Given the popularity of smartphone research, restaurants can certainly benefit from improving their mobile marketing strategies.

If you are a restaurateur, you should know that there are a multitude of technologies and tools available to help you find customers, drive more traffic through your doors, and provide a top-quality experience to your diners. Now is the time to develop or tweak your mobile marketing strategy to most efficiently and effectively target consumers through email, text, social media, or one of the many restaurant-based apps that are gaining popularity.

Pictures of how a responsive and mobile-friendly website looks on a desktop computer, iPad, laptop computer and mobile phone.

Responsive & Mobile Friendly Web Design

Your website is one of the first places potential customers will look to learn everything from where you are located to what sort of food you offer and what ambiance they can expect during their visit. And, more often than not, those potential customers will be using some sort of mobile device to view your site. Offering a site that is both device responsive and mobile friendly is essential!

If you are wondering what is the difference between those two phrases:

A responsive website changes based on the needs of the device being used to view a site. Unnecessary images that might interfere or compete with more important information are hidden to make the most of the site’s smaller display.  On a responsive website, the navigation is condensed, images are optimized, and the site’s functioning depends on mobile operating systems.

A mobile-friendly website is designed so that it works exactly the same way across all devices. Nothing changes or is hidden from the computer version to the mobile version. No Flash animation is used, navigation is simplified, images are scaled for the size of the device, and the site does not rely on mobile operating systems to properly function.

The image above demonstrates a website that has been designed to be device responsive. You can see some differences in the presentation but the content and quality of the images are consistent regardless of the type of device being used to view the website. If you were to actually work through this site on a mobile device, you would also find that it is mobile friendly.


Interact with Your Mobile Customers

Remember the character Norm on the hit TV show Cheers? People want to feel like they are a part of your restaurant family, an active part of what is going on. Oblige them by pushing out on social media different engaging, personal touches like quizzes, surveys, or polls. You can offer incentives to take part in such things. Nothing fancy is necessary. Consider providing participants or winners with food coupons or discounts to encourage people to engage with your brand.


Location-Based Deals

People love a great deal and with the tougher economy, many consumers will frequent the restaurants where they can get the most for their money. You can use location-based apps to push out daily deals to nearby customers. These apps and, also, social media platforms use geotargeting to put your “deal of the hour” ads in front of smartphone users in your general location. Over time, you’ll find that a constant offer of location-based deals will bring in a fairly constant flow of traffic through your doors.


Speaking of Apps

Be sure to claim your listing on restaurant listing apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp. These apps are often used resources especially in larger cities and tourist areas. Another advantage of local restaurant listing apps is that they provide customers the opportunity to review their experience at your establishment. Consumers can also upload photographs of your food or of them interacting with your staff. People rely on the reviews and ratings of other consumers more than anything else when they are in the decision-making process. Favorable ratings on apps will help other people decide to try your restaurant.

Your restaurant can utilize third-party delivery apps if you offer takeout options but don’t, yourself, offer delivery. Services like UberEATS, GrubHub, and DoorDash will help you reach more potential customers who may not live directly in your area, don’t have access to transportation, or who simply don’t want to leave where they are to get some of your delicious food.

You can also create, or have someone else create your own brand’s mobile app. Millennials have the highest rate of smart device usage out of any age group. If you want to market to this tech-savvy group, apps are the way to go. To ensure that mobile users always see the most updated information from your brand, link your mobile app to your restaurant’s social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook.

Google is Your Friend

Create a free business page for your restaurant on Google My Business. This will help your restaurant show up in the search results Google pushes out to Internet searchers, especially those doing local searches (think “restaurants near me”). Be sure all of the information is accurate and matches the information on your website and other Internet listings. And, Google is another source for consumer reviews.

Another way to leverage the power of Google is to utilize GoogleAds. This platform automatically formats your advertisements for mobile devices. It also pushes your mobile ads out as consumers search for restaurants with category designations similar to your own.


SMS Marketing

You’ve probably seen “SMS” before and been on the receiving end of it but if you still aren’t sure exactly what it means:

SMS marketing (short message service marketing) is a technique that uses permission-based text messaging to spread promotional messages.

Text marketing does require customers to opt-in to receive texts from your restaurant. You can make sign up available on your website or as they are visiting your establishment. It is as simple as providing a 5-digit code that customers can use to trigger the marketing materials. You can use SMS marketing in a number of different ways:

  • Reservation reminders

  • “Table Ready” alerts

  • New menu items

  • Time-sensitive specials

  • Special events

  • Information about the status of a delivery order

  • Special offers for loyal customers – birthday deals, even, if that is information you capture in the sign-up process.

These text messages help your restaurant stay in touch with all of your mobile customers and keeps you at the forefront of their minds. You can, quite affordably, utilize bulk SMS services to reach large numbers of customers with less personalized and more informational messaging. There are free, sponsored bulk SMS services. However, these include ads from various sponsors and are a turn off for many consumers.


Other Resources

You can find a number of other tools and resources to assist your restaurant’s mobile marketing efforts. Fishbowl is a platform focused on customer engagement that can help you integrate data from multiple platforms to inform your marketing practices. They include in their mobile services things like geotargeting, push notifications, automated messaging, and more. Bentobox is a tool that offers mobile-first design, search engine optimization (SEO), and sign-up for social media and newsletters. Zapper is a tool that lets customers use their mobile device to scan the QR code on their bill and then pay the restaurant directly from that device.

Of courses, agencies like Strategy Driven Marketing are also excellent resources as you look to integrate mobile into your overall marketing strategy. We use the Squarespace platform to design and create amazing responsive and mobile-friendly websites. We also have years of experience helping restaurants and other businesses utilize available technologies to interact with their clients through exciting and engaging messaging.


Bottom line is to ensure that your establishment is taking advantage of the visibility offered by search engines such as Google, social media platforms, listing and review apps, delivery apps, and more. By leveraging these opportunities, you can increase brand awareness and recognition and grow your customer base, too. If you are ready to take that next step, the team at Strategy Driven Marketing is ready to help. Contact us today and let’s get started!

Cover photo by Adrienn from Pexels