As a restaurant operator you make a ton of decisions on a daily basis. One of those decisions is how to influence what people are buying when they visit your restaurants. Many operators overlook ways they can increase customer loyalty, promote key products and incite last minute sales…right in their own restaurant.
While you are dependent in many ways on the activities of corporate marketing for , no one knows your restaurants better than you do, so it’s important you optimize your in-store signage and promotional areas to your advantage.
Here’s a checklist of a few areas in your restaurant where you can market directly to your customers and increase the likelihood they’ll buy:
Front doors. Let’s start with the obvious, your front doors. This is a great place in your restaurant to promote whatever special is being marketed on a national level. You’ll definitely have received materials from corporate marketing to display here so be sure to do so in order to capitalize on the national promotions your customers are seeing. It may seem obvious but hanging up a promotion that your marketing team has spent millions of dollars to market will trigger recognition with the customer and make they more likely to choose that promo when ordering. In addition to displays on the front doors you’ll obviously want to have POPs displayed throughout the store on windows and hanging from the ceiling. It’s incredibly important that whatever appears on the doors and on POP displays is in sync with what is on the menu—repetition sells and even if the customer doesn’t register the promo they saw on the door, when their brain sees it again on the menu, the likelihood is dramatically increased that they will choose it.
Freestanding POP at entrance to line. Once a customer makes their way inside the next thing they do is get in line. A lot of operators miss out on a chance to use a freestanding POP at the entrance to the line. This is the ideal place to either display what’s being marketed at a national level or to promote one of your highest margin items. It’s also a great area to promote a menu item that is regional and will appeal to your local audience. If you are using a digital POP it’s even better because you can choose what to market at that moment based on what’s happening locally, like the weather or the day part (e.g. iced coffee versus hot coffee, breakfast items versus late night snack items). Again, the items being promoted on this board need to be synced with the boards so it is prominent at the counter and actually influences the customer decision.
Menu boards. Obviously this is what gets the most attention in your restaurant and is key for driving immediate sales and lift. A couple tips here…first, make sure you’re displaying the latest and greatest menus from corporate, whether it’s making sure you’re latest static/printed menus are hung or ensuring all your digital menus are functioning properly. The menu boards must highlight the items that are being advertised on the radio, TV and on the web, if you or corporate are employing such media. Second, do a spot-check each week to look for areas on your board that you should change (e.g. items that are sold out, high margin items you want to push more, special LTOs you want to get more attention). If you’re using digital you should be able to easily swap these out weekly (or daily) and you can empower your store managers to make these changes as well. A big advantage with Digital is that you can have fewer items on the boards, especially if you run multiple day parts. This means customers will focus on the items you want to sell them, and speed of service will increase, too. If you’re using static/printed boards and want a new POP board then be sure to reach out to your corporate team and request it; chances are if you want to market a certain item, then other franchisees do as well, so asking for it from corporate marketing directly is a good idea.
Order pick-up area. Once a customer has ordered their meal they wait to pick it up so your order pick-up area is a great place to use a table-top display to promote something. Since they’ve already ordered their meal this is a great place to promote desserts and drinks. It’s also a place where you can build customer loyalty by promoting your social media channels, website or app. Or you could create a community message here to build loyalty with local customers. Some ideas; share where you source your food (if local), post a note on a local charity you support, share a local community event that’s coming up, post personal pics/stories of your store employees or management supporting local events/causes, etc.
Tables. Everyone knows that tables are a great place to put promotional materials such as table-tent POPs displaying specials or promos. But the new twist with tables is the growing popularity of table-top games, whether on tablets or built into the tables themselves. These games are growing in popularity and, in addition to giving your restaurant a more modern and “with the times” vibe, they are also a great place to promote marketing messages including national web and TV ads. If you have a restaurant design that includes table top games and your guests are engaging with these on a regular basis then be sure your marketing team is incorporating marketing messages into these displays.
One more tip for your in-restaurant signage. Restaurants, especially limited service, can be difficult for paper signage. Between the heat and grease of a QSR or fast casual restaurant, static/paper boards can get dirty fast. Make sure your management teams are swapping out paper signage on a regular basis so old signage is thrown out and replaced with new, cleaner signage. Or, make the switch to digital signage wherever you can and choose commercial displays designed for restaurants that will last longer and require zero staff time to update.
No two industries are alike. That’s why WAND is 100% focused on quick serve and fast casual restaurants; delivering digital menu boards, point of sale and back office systems. Because we work exclusively with restaurants, we understand the unique needs of restaurant franchisees. It’s hard to turn a profit and remain financially solvent in the uber competitive limited service market. That’s why our technology is designed to give you more control over your restaurants so you can make the changes you need to ensure your restaurants are successful. Check us out at wandcorp.com.