Independent marketing in online ordering systems - discount codes, SMS and e-mail messages

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Many restaurants struggle with the question of how to conduct marketing to attract customers and make a profit, but not spend a fortune. Online ordering systems equipped with the ability to generate discount codes, sending text messages and emails give you the opportunity to conduct independent marketing without incurring large costs. With such a system we also have access to a database of customers who have consented to marketing and we can target them with content encouraging them to visit the premises or place an order online.

With so much competition in the market and highly developed marketing in the catering industry it is not enough to generate a discount code and give it only on Facebook by writing "This weekend after with discount code PIZZA you will get a discount of 10%". Sending a text message saying "Today we are open from 11am to 11pm - You are welcome" is definitely not enough. Unfortunately, a short and concise email message saying "Our restaurant is changing its opening hours. We will be waiting for you every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. You are welcome" will probably end up in the trash or in the spam.

So it's not enough to have access to marketing opportunities, but you have to use them skillfully, which is something the owner or manager of the restaurant has to learn. Using a comparison, it can be said that such functionalities of online systems are just a fishing rod. To catch a full bucket of fish, however, you need a fisherman who knows how to operate the equipment, what bait to use, and where the fish are biting.

Discount codes - how to use them in a restaurant

We all love discounts - whether buying furniture, grocery shopping or ordering food at a restaurant. Discount codes set up for in-store orders at a restaurant or generated in online ordering systems allow you to market yourself and encourage your customer to order food. Who wouldn't be tempted by a free coffee to go with a delicious homemade dessert? Who wouldn't take advantage of a 20% discount on their entire order when purchasing a two-course dinner?

Generating discount codes online or offline does not generate any cost. Some might say that it is not profitable, because by giving the customer something free or for a lower price, the restaurant loses money. However, with discount codes, more customers will use the restaurant's services and purchase more food. If a married couple comes for dinner at a restaurant they will eat one dish and go for ice cream or cake at a coffee shop. But if customers get a discount code for free coffee with dessert they will order both dinner and dessert. Even by giving free coffee the restaurant earns more than it invested and additionally gains a satisfied customer who will come back and recommend the restaurant to friends.

It is important to use two types of discounts to reach more customers:

  • discount codes for using a service on the premises. These can be given to customers on flyers, Facebook, or the website. An example would be the following messages:
    • Welcome to our restaurant this weekend from 12 to 11 p.m. When you order a homemade dessert and give the waiter the discount code AROMATIC COFFEE you will receive an espresso or latte coffee for free.
    • Summer is a time of fresh and healthy vegetables. During the summer from June to September, we will be preparing delicious vegetable cream soups for you from local vendors. With discount code ZIEMNIAK given to the waiter you will get aromatic soup for only 5 zlotys.
  • Discount codes for online orders given to customers on the website, on Facebook (it's worth linking the order page), on flyers or even on the paper bag with the order. A big plus is that after the promotional action in the FooDeliver order system you will find information about how many people used the code. This way the owner will know how much profit the marketing action brought in. The message can read as follows:
    • This weekend only, when you enter the discount code SMACKY into our ordering system you will receive a 10% discount on your entire order!
    • Romantic Valentine's Day at home? Don't make your other half do the cooking. On our online ordering page, you can order all dishes and desserts with a 14% discount on February 14 only when you enter the discount code LOVE.

Mail messages - sending marketing content to restaurant customers

Customers should provide an email address when ordering online. By agreeing to send marketing content, they allow the restaurant to conduct online marketing and provide various content. But what to do so that emails from restaurants don't end up in the trash or spam of the customer's email inbox:

  • The title of the email should attract attention but also carry a message.
  • Messages should be sent not more often than once every few days or even every week. A customer going to the e-mail box once every few days and seeing 5 messages from the restaurant will not even want to open them.
  • The content of the message should contain unique, interesting or important information. Inform customers about changes in opening hours, new menu items, promotions or discount codes. The message should be interesting and encourage the customer to visit the premises or order online.
  • In the body of the message it's a good idea to include a link to the restaurant's website, Facebook or to the online ordering page, so that the customer can immediately be transferred to a page where they can see the menu, photos, or have the ability to place an order.

The following is an example of an interesting, encouraging and marketing email to a restaurant customer.

Subject: Romantic Restaurant invites you to dinner under the stars

Dear Guests,

We are pleased to announce that Romantic Restaurant has prepared a summer garden for the holiday season. The place is full of greenery and flowers. For the comfort of our guests we have equipped it with rattan armchairs with pillows and blankets for cool evenings. After dark, thanks to candles and lamps, we guarantee a wonderful atmosphere under the stars. Reserve a table today by calling 123-456-789.

Please check out our holiday menu on our website - you will also find photos of our beautiful garden. However, if you feel like having a delicious lunch or dinner eaten at home, feel free to order online at our website.

Greetings and see you there! Romantic Restaurant Team

SMS messaging - sending marketing content to restaurant customers

Not everyone checks their email inbox every day - many people do it once a week. A large group of people go to Facebook once every few days and some simply don't have a Facebook page. But the vast majority have a phone, whether it's an older generation or a smartphone. More than 90% of these people don't leave home without taking their phone with them.

SMS is a very good marketing tool, because in the age range of 15 to 70 years only individuals do not have a cell phone. Thus, such messages allow you to reach the largest group of customers and the restaurant can be sure that 95-99% of people will open the message and read it. Despite the fact that SMS messages are short they can contain the most important content and reach a large group of recipients. It's even worth adding a link to the website with the online ordering system, so that customers with one click on a smartphone can be transferred to the appropriate page. With a customer base of online ordering system restaurant can send marketing content and thus earn money.

Sending text messages from a phone can be disadvantageous because the customer will see a foreign phone number as the sender. It will be more advantageous to send text messages from the online ordering system, where you can personalize the sender with the name of the restaurant, such as ROMANTIC.

Example text messages that can encourage customers to visit the premises or order online:

  • Today only, receive a 10% discount on the entire menu by entering the code LATO in the online ordering system. Visit the website and order now!
  • This week is a pizza holiday. For each large pizza ordered in the restaurant or online (order here) we give a liter of Coca-Cola and two sauces for free!

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Izabela Praska

Editor of FooDeliver.pl, passionate about gastromarketing and good cuisine, marketer. FooDeliver.pl product specialist.

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