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What is Restaurant Marketing Automation and How it Works

Saif Alnasur
Saif Alnasur

Jul 12, 2021 11:35:07 AM

Consumers, in general, have come to expect personalization when they receive communications from businesses. Gone are the days of impersonal marketing. Now, it’s all about tailored, personalized content that targets each consumer individually based on what they like. 90% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences, which clearly shows that it can no longer be ignored when it comes to a restaurant marketing strategy.

However, it’s not a simple task. Providing a personalized marketing experience requires businesses to collect buckets of consumer data, and have the right technology in place, to be able to tailor experiences accordingly. For a busy restaurant staff, that adds up to hours worth of work they don’t have time for. This is where marketing automation comes in.

>>Learn how you can delight your guests like never before with tailored,  personalized marketing using automation



What is Restaurant Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is the process of using software to automate data collection and marketing activities to enable personalized experiences. It allows restaurants to automate repetitive tasks and maximize efficiency while also standardizing processes.

How does restaurant marketing automation work?

In simple terms, restaurant marketing automation takes the load off the staff’s shoulders and sends the right message to the right people at the right time, without needing any manual intervention. Automation systems like Eat App allow restaurants to set up customized rules that instruct the system to automatically collect guest data in the background, and send messages based on guest behavior. Marketing automation frees up time elsewhere but also results in more impactful campaigns.

Let’s say you want to email your VIP guests who have visited your restaurant 10+ times. Without automation, your staff would have to -

  1. Manually search for and tag each existing guest with 10+ visits with the VIP tag
  2. Keep track of guests who become eligible to be VIPs and tag them on a daily basis
  3. Manually trigger the email to guests that become VIPs each time

With automation, all you have to do is set up a simple rule to tag every guest that reaches the 10th visit mark as VIP and automatically send them a personalized email congratulating them on reaching VIP status and offering them a special discount.

That’s it, with just a few clicks, all your work is now being done by the system in the background, without having to lift a finger.

The best way to retain more customers at a restaurant is by providing personalized experiences, and the only way to provide personalized marketing on a large scale is with automation.

Why is Personalized Marketing Important for Restaurants?

As we mentioned earlier, customers are no longer happy with broad, generic marketing, they expect personalization. 99% of marketers in Evergage’s study agreed that personalization helps build better customer relationships, which is the key to improved guest retention. Why does that matter? Because regular customers are a restaurant’s bread and butter. Just a 5% increase in regular customers can increase restaurant revenue up to 95%. They also spend up to 67% more money than a new customer

To add to that, the cost of acquiring new customers is 7-8 times higher than that of retaining an existing one. Repeat guests provide a steady revenue stream for your restaurant that helps improve profits significantly. 

A lack of personalization in your marketing messaging will likely lead it straight into a customer’s spam folder, and eventually, a lost customer. Tailored, targeted content is what helps restaurants hold on to their regulars by showing them that they are not just another name in your database. A simple message that is tailored to their choices and preferences helps them feel important and tells them that you know who they are and what they like, and helps build strong customer relationships. 

Advantages of Using Marketing Automation for Restaurants

  1. Efficiency
    With the automation system taking charge of repetitive processes, your staff can use their time for other important guest-related activities and provide a better experience to diners.

  2. Standardization
    Automation of processes creates a more streamlined and standardized system that will consistently record data and trigger messaging based on the same set of rules every time. This not only helps record more guest data but also reduces human error.

  3. Personalization
    By helping collect more data, automation allows restaurants to identify their key customers and target them with personalized marketing messages. It also enables them to provide a more tailored dining experience based on the guest's preferences which lead to stronger customer relationships and more loyal customers.

  4. More Data-Driven Decisions 
    With all the accurate data collected by automation at their fingertips, restaurant owners can dive deeper into their customer base to better understand their behavior and make strategic decisions accordingly.

How to Use Marketing Automation at Your Restaurant

  1. Create a good first impression
    Reach out to first-time diners right after their visit with an email thanking them for their visit and requesting feedback to show them that you care about your customers. Include a booking link from your reservation system to make the process of booking again seamless.

    Setup this campaign at your restaurant

  2. Build better customer relationships
    Automatically message your guests on or before special occasions (like birthdays or anniversaries) to wish them and encourage them to visit your restaurant for the occasion (change word). There’s often high competition from other restaurants for birthday business so consider including a special occasion discount in your email.

    Setup this campaign at your restaurant

  3. Send targeted, personalized messaging
    Capture your guest’s attention by sending hyper-targeted messaging based on their past behavior and preferences.

    For instance, instead of sending a generic response email to every customer that has left a review, you can send out customized ones based on their review rating using Eat App’s automation system. With a simple automation rule in place, a guest who has left a 4+ review receives a thank you email with a discount for their next visit, while one with a lower review rating receives an email asking them to share what went wrong during their dining experience.

    Setup this campaign at your restaurant

    Learn more about how you can use Eat App’s automation system to improve your restaurant’s efficiency - 


  4. Retain your guests
    Easily segment guests based on their last visit to keep track of your regulars. This will help you identify customers that may be slipping and help retain them with timely, customized messaging.

    Setup this campaign at your restaurant

  5. Gather guest feedback
    Know exactly what diners think about your restaurant by setting up an automated guest feedback system. This system sends customers an automated request for feedback email within 24 hours of their reservation and encourages them to leave a review about their experience. This increases the likelihood of guests filling out feedback and helps restaurants understand their customers better and take strategic decisions.

    Learn more about Eat App’s automated guest feedback system.

    Interested in trying out Eat App’s automation system for your restaurant? Get started with a free 14-day trial now.

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