Why Omnichannel Marketing Is Crucial for the Future of Restaurants
Consumers have never had more information at their fingertips — and all that access is changing the way people discover restaurants.
While relying on third-party marketplaces like OpenTable and Resy used to be standard practice, consumers now use Google, social media and influencers to choose where to eat. This means applying a single-channel marketing approach that centers around marketplaces no longer makes sense for operators who want to grow their brand.
To compete in 2023 and beyond, restaurants need to adopt omnichannel marketing.
Omnichannel restaurant marketing focuses on being present everywhere your guests are (social media, Google, your website, email, etc.). But it’s also about creating a seamless, consistent customer experience across those channels. Consistent, positive experiences strengthen your brand’s reputation which is key to attracting and retaining guests.
Why You Need to Transition from a Single to an Omnichannel Marketing Approach
Single-channel marketing platforms, such as OpenTable or Resy, used to be enough — but times are changing. According to our research, only about 12% of consumers use those reservation channels to find and book restaurants.
Single-channel marketing focuses on attracting customers via one consolidated source. This strategy is by no means useless, but single-channel marketing is limited in scope because it:
Limits your exposure instead of cultivating a widespread internet presence
Creates dependency on a single resource
Omnichannel restaurant marketing leverages multiple channels and allows operators to take back ownership of their channels. This, in turn, helps expand their potential reach since it:
Relies on multiple sources like social media, Google, marketplaces and direct booking
Combines both organic and paid strategies
Accounts for today’s layered, integrated web experience
Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing for Restaurants
A range of benefits come from not putting all your metaphorical eggs in one basket. Diversifying your marketing strategy can help put more money in your pocket in two ways — by saving you on third-party cover fees and commissions, and by driving business.
Helps You Meet Your Guests Where They Are
Your customers hang out on every corner of the internet, which means your restaurant needs to be everywhere, too. Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or Google (especially Google) you need to ensure your brand is visible no matter where potential guests’ internet journeys may take them.
Our survey data found that referrals from friends & family (61%), Google (33%) and social media (29%) were consumers’ preferred methods for discovering new restaurants, compared to just a combined 12% who use reservation marketplaces like OpenTable and Resy. Diversifying your marketing strategy to include different channels means you’re less likely to miss out on expanding your customer base.
Creates a Better Guest Experience
As a restaurant operator, you know how important it is to curate a memorable customer experience for people once they walk through your doors. But it’s equally important to apply the same thought process to the digital journey that leads people to your restaurant. If you make finding, exploring and booking a table online easier, your guests enjoy a seamless dining experience long before they’re ready to order cocktails.
Ensures Cohesion Across All Customer Touchpoints
You can think about creating your brand image the same way you think about your menu — your goal should be for every element to work in harmony. Your guests should be able to recognize your voice, tone and messaging whether they’re browsing your website, reading your emails or scrolling through your social media channels.
Allows You to Discover Which Channels Drive the Most Business
If you don’t look at all the potential avenues through which you can drive business, you won’t know where you need to increase or decrease your marketing efforts. Omnichannel marketing lets you look at your overall strategy through a wider lens, so you can ramp up what’s going well, and determine what needs to be re-evaluated based on key analytics.
Pro tip: Leveraging data is the only way to ensure you market with intention. SevenRooms’ integrated marketing automation software gives you quick visibility into the performance of every marketing campaign on a channel-by-channel basis, so you can track success with less effort.
Exploring the Digital Guest Journey With Omnichannel Marketing
The best way to conceptualize the omnichannel marketing journey is to think about it from your customers’ perspective. Below we’ll explore the places you’ll need to meet your guests before they make their way to your tables.
A whopping 45% of people have tried a new restaurant based on what they’ve heard on social media, so making your virtual presence known is paramount. Consumers find restaurants on social media in various ways. They may follow your accounts directly, or discover your brand via influencer marketing.
Whether people find you on TikTok, Instagram or Facebook, the key is to make the jump from social media to your website easy. You can do this by adding a “Reserve Now” button to your profiles that points users to your direct booking pages.
You probably already know from personal experience that Google is many people’s go-to source for information. This search engine’s prevalence extends to the restaurant space, as there are approximately 6.2 million searches related to restaurants each month.
Users may discover your restaurant through organic search, Google’s “Near Me” feature or through a paid Google ad. Optimizing your Google profile and doing everything you can to improve your Google ranking can do wonders in terms of driving business. Many people also book through Google reservations.
Once a guest has reached your website, it’s essential to make it easy for them to access the information they need with just a few clicks. Your website should give guests an idea of the type of dining experience they’ll have at your restaurant, and everything from your menu to your “About Us” page should speak to your brand’s ethos.
When a guest is ready to book, your goal should be for them to be able to access your reservations seamlessly. Not only do you want the booking experience to feel natural from a technical standpoint (no long wait times, broken links, etc), but you also want the verbiage, tone and style to match the rest of your brand assets.
Email or SMS Confirmation
After your guests have booked a table, the next point of contact is a reservation confirmation email or text message. Convey your information clearly and keep your content short, sweet and to-the-point. Once again, your branding should feel consistent on every lander, so customers know they’re interacting with your restaurant.
FYI: Third-party marketplaces often add their own logos and branding to booking widgets and confirmation emails. This competing messaging dilutes your restaurant’s brand and makes the customer’s experience feel less cohesive.
Post-Visit Follow-Up and Special Offers
Sending a follow-up marketing email or text message not only makes your guests feel appreciated, but can also encourage them to make another booking in the future. Including personalized offers to revisit your restaurant adds a special touch that will keep people coming back.
How to Implement Omnichannel Into Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve considered all the channels through which people can find your restaurant (and you understand why making the most out of multiple channels is important), it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of how to turn your omnichannel vision into a reality.
Take Ownership Over Your Owned Channels
The difference between providing a smooth, fluid pathway for your guests to get from the internet to real-life dining and a disjointed experience comes down to taking ownership over all your channels. The best (and most financially savvy) way to do this is to encourage your guests to book directly through your website instead of through a marketplace.
Encourage direct booking on your marketplace profile (for example, you can let customers know that if reservations aren’t available or if they have questions, they can visit your website or call your restaurant directly)
When guests are dining with you, add a “book direct next time” insert into your check presenters and include your direct booking link for them to use
You’ll also want to conduct an audit of your website, Google listing and social media profiles to ensure the information is updated and consistent across platforms. Which channels don’t you have a presence on? Maybe you’ve been thinking about joining TikTok or testing out paid social ads. Now is the time to take ownership of those channels to find out what works best for your business.
Consider a Direct Reservation Platform
Once you’ve broadened your overall marketing reach and implemented an omnichannel strategy, you may find that reservation marketplaces are no longer the best channels for driving business. In that case, consider using a direct reservation platform like SevenRooms.
SevenRooms integrates with Reserve with Google and allows you to take ownership over your brand and guest data. Restaurants have saved thousands of dollars by transitioning from third-party to direct. Learn more about how New York’s IGC Hospitality group saved over $4M by transitioning from third-party marketplaces to direct reservations with SevenRooms.
Taking advantage of the wealth of marketing opportunities that exist in today’s technology space helps you drive revenue while leveraging organic channels. You don’t have to do away with marketplaces altogether, but expanding beyond these channels will benefit both you and your guests.
SevenRooms suite of integrated restaurant solutions makes it easy to implement an omnichannel restaurant strategy. To learn more, book a demo today.
Ominchannel Restaurant FAQs
Why Is Omnichannel Marketing Important for Restaurants?
Omnichannel marketing is important as it expands a restaurant’s presence across multiple channels while ensuring a cohesive, seamless guest experience at every touchpoint. This is important for driving business and building brand awareness and loyalty.
What Is the Difference Between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing?
Multichannel marketing utilizes several channels, but they operate independently from one another. Omnichannel marketing also utilizes multiple channels but focuses on making the overall customer experience cohesive.