Happy New Year!
In term of restaurant trends, 2012 proved to be a pivotal year as more and more businesses concentrated heavily on online marketing to increase brand awareness and to boost sales. While some major chains such as Dominos and Papa Johns focused more on their already well established online ordering and promotion platforms, others such as Cinnabon and Texas Roadhouse dedicated their resources to venue optimization on platforms such as Foursquare and Facebook Places. Venue optimization is the process of weeding out duplicates and correcting and confirming the information and GPS coordinates of business locations on the various mobile platforms such as Foursquare. This will ensure that the business will be more visible on a given platform as check-ins and reviews will be concentrated in one location, thus increasing its value on said platform. We expect nothing different in 2013 as we predict more restaurants embracing these digital platforms to connect with their customers. We have gathered a couple restaurant trends that we think you should keep a lookout for in this new year (we’ll give you a hint, it’s all about mobile):
With the explosion in use of smartphones, consumers are increasingly turning to mobile search and discovery platforms such as Yelp and Foursquare to decide where to eat next. We recommend paying close attention to such platforms and encouraging customer participation through check-ins and photo posts in the coming year. Increased participation by one customer has a ripple effect through his or her entire social graph, encouraging their online connections to give your business a try.
Expect 2013 to be a big year for mobile payments. According to Mobile Payments Today, an industry publication, small and medium sized businesses should view mobile payments as a competitive advantage by providing more options for customers to pay. The trick here is to decide which one of the many mobile payment platforms works the best for you. Though there are offerings from large players such as Google,Square, Visa and Paypal that may provide a sense of relief in terms of stability and security, there are many smaller (and not so small) players such as LevelUp, Flint, Verifone that may provide better rates or incentives. According a to recent Forbes article “Currently less than one in 10 table service restaurants offers electronic table-side payment or mobile payment and those are some of the things that the industry’s key demographic — 18- to 34-year olds — want.” By becoming a early adopter in this sector, restaurants can get the attention of this key demographic and surge ahead of the competition.