Marketing, meet engagement: 5 simple ways to boost business

napkin dispenser foodservice restaurant marketing

From Tork, an SCA Brand.

As menu trends continue to evolve more quickly than the consumption of a double-bacon cheeseburger, there’s one trend that’s here to stay: Customer engagement, which is key to building a loyal fan base.

But don’t be intimidated by marketing jargon that suggests you need a “customer experience architect” to create a great relationship with your guests. There are a number of easy ways to engage customers that are personable, customizable and, above all, easy. Get started with these five tips designed to get your customers talking—about your business, of course.

1. Create a loyalty program

Incentivize your customers to visit your location more often by offering specials or discounts for return visits through a rewards program, whether digitally or with good old-fashioned punch cards. The Loyalogy 2014 consumer restaurant rewards study found that 76 percent of respondents would visit a foodservice operation they like more often if it offered an appealing rewards program.

2. Go beyond the menu board

Highlight your weekly specials, events and loyalty programs where customers will notice them. Consider using highly visible (but often underutilized) places such as placemats, table tents or napkin dispenser displays such as the AD-a-Glance marketing window in Tork Xpressnap dispensers.

For customers who prefer take out or delivery, consider custom printing for cups, bags and even napkins. These low-cost solutions allow you to reach customers through assets they’re already using. 

3. Go (at least a little) green

Aside from the obvious benefits of reducing operating costs and decresing your establishment’s effect on the environment, going green has a big impact on how your customers talk about you. According to a study conducted by SCA in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, almost half of diners indicated they’re more likely to recommend a restaurant after learning about its environmental efforts.

4. Encourage feedback

Whether electronically, through comment cards or even in person, encouraging guest feedback gives staff a chance to connect authentically with customers, and it can also solicit useful tips and insights into what your guests really want.

For example, one general manager of board-plan operations for a state college encouraged students to leave “napkin notes” on a bulletin board in the cafeteria. From menu items to lighting changes, students were encouraged to leave comments on Tork napkins—some of which resulted in real cost-savings changes for the staff.

5. Put cleaning first

Make it easy for your customers to rave about more than just your food. By having clean tabletops, easy access to napkins and clear floors, customers will notice what really matters—enjoying the experience of dining out.

To learn more about the SCA-sponsored study in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, click here. To request your free trial of the Tork Xpressnap Napkin Dispensing System, with an innovative marketing window that doubles as a tabletop display, click here.
 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
Richard cousins

Compass Group confirmed this morning that CEO Richard Cousins was killed on New Year’s Eve in a small-plane crash off the coast of Australia. He was 58.

Cousins was scheduled to step down as CEO in March, after leading the world’s largest foodservice management company for 11 years. His planned successor, Compass COO Dominic Blakemore, has agreed to assume Cousins’ duties immediately.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” Compass Chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement. “It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for...

Menu Development
to-go meals

Drew Allen didn’t hesitate when asked what he expects of noncommercial dining in the future. “Change,” he says. “We have to change with the times and what our guests are looking for.”

Allen, the director of culinary services at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices in Lebanon, Ohio, says the more the residents and guests at Otterbein change, the more diverse eating habits his team has the chance to explore. One of those changing habits, he says, is diners’ growing desire for portable, made-to-order items . That’s a theme borne out by data, too—and is true across dayparts. Roughly 67%...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
email

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources