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Blog WhatsApp Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

Sonakshi Deb Roy

Now let’s say you've got an amazing restaurant, your food is top-notch, and the ambiance is unbeatable. But, there's a catch – most of your potential customers are lost in the sea of online marketplaces, making it a tad tricky to connect with them directly. It’s just amazing to think about how the restaurant industry has evolved over the years, especially with the influx of various platforms. It's wonderful to witness the growth, at the same time we have to acknowledge the fact that finding a way to engage with customers directly has become finding a needle in a haystack.

In a world where everyone's glued to their phones, tapping into the power of WhatsApp can be the secret that transforms your restaurant’s engagement strategy. We're diving deep into the ways of engaging customers directly, cutting through the noise, and reaching your target audience directly.

Innovative ways to use WhatsApp for engagement

Let’s look at some ways in which restaurants can use WhatsApp to market their business and engage with customers

Primary Use Cases

  • QR code Subscription: Send a small thank you note along with a QR code with every online order and ask your customers to scan the QR Code to subscribe to your WhatsApp updates and claim their free dish or coupon. Once a customer claims their deal you can send them regular updates. This incentive not only adds value for your customers but also helps in building a loyal customer base.
  • Automated Welcome Messages: Set up automated welcome messages when customers first interact with your WhatsApp business account. This can include a warm greeting, a brief introduction to your restaurant, and instructions on how to place an order.
  • Menu Updates and Specials: Regularly update your customers about new menu items, promotions, and special offers through automated messages. This keeps your customers informed and interested in trying new dishes. Offer discounts for restaurant dine-ins.
  • Daily Specials: Use automation to send targeted promotions and special offers to segmented customer groups based on their preferences, order history, or location. Create a segmented lists of customers, make the messages visually appealing by including images of the featured dishes and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of exclusivity and encourages customers to check in regularly to discover new and exciting menu items.
  • Exclusive Discounts for Subscribers: On your website, encourage customers to subscribe to your WhatsApp updates by offering exclusive discounts or promotions. Share unique discount codes or special offers that are only accessible to those who are part of your WhatsApp subscriber list. 
  • Personalised Recommendations: Segment customers based on their ordering patterns. For instance, categorise customers who frequently order pizza, those who prefer vegetarian dishes, or those who enjoy trying new items on the menu.If they usually order pizza, send a message about a new pizza topping or a combo deal.
  • Interactive Reservation Management: Enable customers to make reservations seamlessly through WhatsApp, leveraging the platform's user-friendly interface. Integration with a reservation system can streamline the reservation process and provide real-time updates to the restaurant staff. 
  • Reservation Reminders: Set up an automated system to send reminder messages on WhatsApp a day or a few hours before the reservation time. Include a call-to-action, such as a quick reply button, to confirm or modify the reservation. This can help in managing table availability more efficiently and reduce no-shows.
  • Waitlist Notifications: Set up a smooth waitlist system at your restaurant. Use technology to manage the queue efficiently, ensuring that your customers have a pleasant waiting experience. If your restaurant has a waitlist for peak hours, use WhatsApp to notify customers when a table becomes available. Include a link or button for customers to confirm or decline the available table directly from the message.
  • Customisable Reorder Forms: Develop customisable reorder forms that allow customers to quickly select their favourite dishes or previously ordered items. This could include a list of popular menu items or their order history. Enable customers to customise their orders by adding special instructions, specifying portion sizes, or choosing preferred ingredients. This level of personalisation can enhance customer satisfaction. Implement quick-order buttons or shortcuts that customers can use to instantly reorder their favourite meals without having to go through the entire menu selection process.
  • Order Tracking and Delivery Updates: Upon receiving an order, send an automated message confirming the details of the order. Include information such as the items ordered, total cost, and estimated delivery time. Keep your customers in the loop about their orders. Send real-time updates on the status of their delivery or let them know when their takeout is ready for pickup. 

Secondary Use Cases

  • Event Announcements: Use WhatsApp automation to notify customers about upcoming events, such as themed nights, live music, karaoke nights or special promotions. Send special festive invitations for customers to have a meal and celebrate their day at your restaurant. Make your event announcements interactive by allowing customers to RSVP or express interest directly through WhatsApp. Set up a dedicated phone number or chatbot that can manage responses and provide additional information.
  • Loyalty Program Updates: Keep customers informed about their loyalty points, rewards, and exclusive offers through automated messages. Send them information about the number of times they have dined at your restaurant or the number of years they have been associated with you. Foster a sense of community among loyalty program members through WhatsApp. Encourage them to share their experiences, food photos, and recommendations, creating a space where they feel connected to your brand and each other.
  • Birthday/Anniversary Wishes and Discounts: Set up automated birthday and anniversary messages with special discounts or complimentary items to make customers feel valued. Segment your customer lists based on occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. This allows you to send targeted messages to specific groups and tailor your offers accordingly.
  • Personalised Thank You Messages: After a customer dines in, shoot them a personalised thank-you message on WhatsApp. Addressing customers by their name adds a personal touch to your messages. Mention specific items the customer ordered in their recent purchase. This not only shows that you are paying attention to their preferences but also provides an opportunity to suggest complementary items or promote new additions to the menu.
  • Feedback Collection Forms: Use WhatsApp to send automated surveys to customers after their dining experience. Gather feedback on various aspects such as food quality, service, ambiance, and overall satisfaction. Design interactive and easy to fill forms by clicking on predefined options. Capture their sentiments while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
  • Review Requests: Automation enables you to send review requests at strategic times, such as shortly after the customer has dined at your restaurant. This ensures that their experience is still fresh in their minds, increasing the likelihood of them providing feedback. Send automated messages requesting customers to leave a review on popular review platforms like Google, Zomato, or TripAdvisor. Include direct links to make the process convenient for customers. 
  • Review Aggregation: Use automation to collect and aggregate reviews from various platforms into a centralised system. This can help the restaurant management easily monitor and respond to reviews from a single platform. If a customer provides feedback about a specific issue, use automation to send a follow-up message addressing that particular concern.
  • Feedback Contests and Incentives: Run periodic feedback contests where customers have a chance to win prizes or receive exclusive discounts for providing feedback. Encourage customers to leave feedback by offering exclusive discounts or special offers. Use automation to send these incentives to customers who have completed feedback forms.
  • Suggestion and Polls: Use WhatsApp to gather opinions on potential menu additions, special events, or any new features customers would like to see. Conduct polls to involve customers in decision-making and make them feel more connected to the restaurant.
  • Review Highlights: Create automated messages that showcase positive reviews received on various platforms. Share reviews, along with a link to read the full review, to build credibility and trust. Instead of simply stating that the restaurant has received positive reviews, share specific snippets or quotes from the reviews. These can be impactful phrases that praise the quality of food, excellent service, or any unique features that set the restaurant apart.
  • Re-engagement Campaigns for Inactive Customers: Identify and segment customers who haven't visited in a while and send re-engagement messages. This segmentation can be based on factors such as the time since their last visit, frequency of visits, or specific products/services they've purchased. Offer them a discount or a special promotion to encourage them to return.
  • Best Selling Dishes: Use engaging and mouth-watering visuals to showcase your best-selling dish. You can create high-quality images or short videos that highlight the preparation process, ingredients, and the final presentation of the dish. Visual content tends to grab attention and can increase the chances of conversion. Allow customers to place orders directly through WhatsApp, providing them with a convenient and efficient way to enjoy your best-selling dish.

Finally

  • Customer Queries and FAQs: Chatbot to handle frequently asked questions (FAQs), set-up automated responses for common customer queries. This can include information about your restaurant's operating hours, location, menu options, and reservation policies. When customers ask frequently asked questions, the system can automatically generate relevant responses.
  • Problem Resolution: Provide a quick link for customers to reach out directly to customer support on WhatsApp if they encounter any problems. Use automation to acknowledge and address customer complaints or issues. 
  • Timely Updates: One of the key benefits of WhatsApp automation for restaurants is the ability to provide timely updates to customers. This feature ensures that customers are kept informed about various aspects of their interactions with the restaurant. Send timely WhatsApp updates to let customers know their queries or complaints are all being taken care of.
  • 24/7 Support: Customers no longer have to wait for the next day or deal with automated voicemails. Customers can chat with the restaurant whenever they have a query, and WhatsApp bots are ready to assist them round the clock. It's like having a personal food genie at their fingertips.
  • Escalation to Live Support: In cases where automated responses may not address customer concerns adequately, implement a seamless escalation process to connect customers with live support. Ensure that customers can easily transition from automated interactions to speaking with a customer service representative.

Added Advantages with WhatsApp Automation Tools Like Peach

  1. Multilingual Support: If your restaurant caters to a diverse audience, Peach supports multiple languages. Send campaigns and responses in relevant language to ensure effective communication with customers from different linguistic backgrounds for a personal touch
  2. Shared inbox: With a shared inbox, restaurant staff can access a centralised platform where all incoming messages from customers are collected. This helps in streamlining communication and ensures that no message is overlooked. Capture and make all customer conversation history to have more contextual conversations.
  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM integration allows restaurants to manage and organise customer data effectively. It centralises customer information, including preferences, order history, and contact details. This centralised data can be used to personalise interactions with customers on WhatsApp, providing a more tailored and engaging experience.
  4. Payment Integration: Integrate your payment system to allow customers to complete transactions through WhatsApp. Ensure that payment processes are secure and comply with relevant regulations.
  5. Tailored Dashboard: Get tailored dashboard to analyse your campaigns and see specific details about campaign engagement. See which messages are working and which ones need modification. Know your customers, their preferences, and tailor your messages for maximum impact.\ I hope these ideas help you in achieving your marketing goals with WhatsApp. To find out how Peach can help your restaurant with engagement and marketing on WhatsApp, Schedule a Demo with us today.