Viewing entries tagged
#food

Tasty Travels

Tasty Travels

               There is no debate that food can tell the story of a person’s (or peoples) culture, and history; which is why when it comes to travel, culinary tourism has grown to become so mainstream. In fact, a recent report by the University of Florida estimates that 39 million U.S. travelers choose a destination based on the availability of food related activities, and another 35 million seek out culinary activities after a destination is decided on. This sudden obsession with food and travel is driving destinations and hotels to introduce services that cater to the market. For example, cities like Philadelphia and Houston are upping their restaurant scenes partially in hopes to expand tourism.

               When it comes to food tourism authenticity is key. In the past, many travelers opted for 5 star hotels and restaurants that presented them with options like gourmet wine and cheese pairings, but now people are much more interested in local food experiences that actually represent the country or city they are visiting. This new way of thinking about food can not only be cheaper for tourists but it has also helped local restaurants and markets stay in business. Authenticity is not the only piece of the puzzle. Culinary travelers also seek to explore tradition, artistry, and heritage surrounding the food they are eating so it is a great advantage for chefs, farmers, and other artisans to offer tourists a behind the scene look at their operations.

               Everyone has to eat so this increased interest in culinary tourism is not going away any time soon. Food tourism is interesting because not only does it shape the way we as tourists travel but it also affects and shapes the way cities think about food. As I mentioned earlier, lesser known food destinations are finally discovering that food can help attract more visitors so seeing a place like Charleston turn into a foodie city is not surprising. I don’t know about you, but food is always the highlight of my vacations so I am more than thrilled to see others getting excited about culinary tourism too!

One Nation Under One Food?

One Nation Under One Food?

              Now that everyone’s Fourth of July celebrations are over and the hangovers are out of our systems, it feels like a good time to discuss food and nationalism. It is not uncommon for people to associate food and identity, as I’m sure the phrase “you are what you eat” rings a bell, but in the modern world, do food preferences really play a role as an anchor of personal and national identity, and should they? In a recent eater article called “Why Food has Become a New Target for Nationalists” the author, Tove Danovich, delves into how European cities, like Florence, feel their culture is being watered down through the rise of foreign food. European governments are even going as far as barring foods from different countries because they do not want their culture to be “diluted or Disneyfied.” To me, and many others this notion of banning foreign foods seems ridiculous, and at the end of the article Danovich makes a great point that no culture has just one history or one food, and if we try to isolate food culture we are just going to keep it from evolving.

               Clearly places like Italy and France have very distinct food identities which is why they want to preserve this idea of their “food nationalism,” but in a place like the United States, which is a country built from different cultures and cuisines, it’s hard to pinpoint one specific food identity. Although something like 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, which is a pretty large percentage, this once-a-year event hardly constitutes as a full identity. Personally, I don’t think having a lack of food identity is a bad thing at all. In the modern culinary world we see fusion restaurants, and all types of new trends that allow us to explore other communities and cultures through food. I’m not saying that food doesn’t play a big role in who we are and what we are as a nation, but in the United States I don’t view food as simply the glue that bonds individuals to their community, I view it as a bridge that brings different communities together.

Food of the Future

Food of the Future

               It’s the year 2017, and although flying cars haven’t been invented yet, three dimensional printers have. These 3D printers, which can fit on a desktop, can form objects from plastics, metals, and even FOOD! Food printing is a more recent frontier that could potentially improve nutritional value of meals, or help solve hunger issues in regions of the world that lack access to fresh, and affordable ingredients.

               First, let’s talk about the basics of 3D food printing. Most 3D food printers are deposition printers, which means they deposit layers of raw material, while a newer category of 3D printers binds together materials with a kind of edible cement. The latest generation of 3D printers is also the most complex, combing nozzles, powdery material, lasers, and robotic arms to create things like sugar sculptures and latticed pastry. Although much more complicated, these newer printers can create food, like pizza, with fresh ingredients loaded into stainless steel capsules, pretty cool if you ask me.

               Now that you have a slight background on 3D printers, how can they actually help? 3D printing can help increase sustainability. The global population is always growing, which means food production is going to have to increase as well. Although 3D printing won’t fully solve all our sustainability problems, it will definitely contribute to the solution. Renewable materials like grass and algae could be used in 3D printing making it easier and more sustainable to feed parts of the ever growing population. Another issue that 3D printers could help with is nutrition. The future of 3D food printers could make processed food healthier. According Hod Lipson, a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia, “food printing could allow consumers to print food with customized nutritional content, optimized based on biometric and genomic data, so instead of eating a slice of yesterday’s bread from the supermarket, you’d eat something baked just for you on demand. This may be the missing link between nutrition and personal medicine, and the foods that’s on your table.” Sustainability and nutrition only scratches the surface of what 3D food printing could do for our society.

               As exciting as this all is, especially with all the recent advancements in 3D food printing, the industry has many challenges to overcome before making any of these dreams a reality. Currently, most ingredients have to be turned into paste before the printer can work with them plus the printing process takes a very long time. Also, as of now most 3D printers are restricted to dry, shelf-stable ingredients because products like diary and protein have a high risk of spoiling. Even with all the challenges scientists and engineers have to face, 3D food printing could become our future, times change and as Lynette Kucsama, CEO and founder of Natural Machines said, “when people first head about microwaves, they didn’t understand the technology- now 90 percent of households have them.”

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Culinary Edition

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Culinary Edition

               If you ever took a middle school environmental science class you have probably heard the term “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” This “three R” mantra of environmentalists everywhere is also very applicable to restaurants, and chefs around the country. According to the U.S. Department of agriculture, an estimate of 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste each year. That’s a lot of food, and a lot of money going straight in the trash. These days, restaurant owners, and chefs are making a conscious effort to minimalize their food waste, let’s take a look:

               One popular and effective solution is composting. Composting, which is the process of making food or other matter into compost, or decayed organic material, is a great solution for anyone trying to reduce waste. A compost station is not only easy to set up but they can be as large or small as one wants, making it the perfect solution for a single restaurant, or an entire city. For example in 2015, Seattle made it a law to fine people who don’t compost their food waste. Although most cities haven’t placed fines on composting, they have jumped on the composting bandwagon. From San Francisco to New York City, composting has become a popular trend. Not only is composting effective because it reduces food waste, but it also creates rich soil that can be used to grow fresh ingredients, proving to be a win-win situation for any chef or restaurant trying to reduce waste while simultaneously serving the freshest ingredients.

 

               Another solution being used by chefs and restaurants across the country seems pretty obvious, but if actually applied can effectively reduce waste. This solution is simply to rethinking what is waste and what is not. The old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” definitely applies in this case. There is a huge variety of dishes you can cook with food items that may seem like they should be discarded. For example, bones can be used to create broth for soups and stews, or the skin of the potato can be used to make “alternative French fries.” Simply thinking outside the box, and rethinking what is waste and what is not is a great way for chefs and restaurants to save a ton of food and money; and who knows? Maybe your recycled dish will become your most popular.

               Lastly, it is extremely important to plan ahead. Whether you order your ingredients on a weekly basis, or biweekly basis take the time to see if you are buying a surplus of food. While some waste is inevitable, take note of how much food was thrown out the week before and then decide if you have ordered too much. This process might take a few weeks to figure out and is not always the most effective, but it does show an effort to reduce food waste.

               The amount of food wasted in the United States is a huge issue that has been around for a long time. Although it is unrealistic to think that chefs and restaurants will be able to eliminate their food waste completely, it is crucial that we are conscious of this issue and are always trying to reduce as much waste as possible. Composting, rethinking how to use ingredients, and being aware of how much food is being ordered are only a few examples of how to fix this issue. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” shouldn’t be taken lightly in the culinary industry. Being mindful of food waste not only helps the environment, but it will also help increase annual profit for chefs and restaurants; which in my book is a very valid reason to be aware.  

Will Travel for Food

Will Travel for Food

If you have kids in school or are a kid in school, you probably know we are in the midst of Spring Break season. This crazy time where college kids hit the beach for multiple nights of drunken debauchery (they still do that, right?) and parents with kids still living at home, try and figure out where to take the family so they don’t kill each other sitting at home all week with nothing to do.

Since I have two young kids, the only natural thing for us to do for spring break this year was embark on an 8 hour drive to Williamsburg, VA. About two hours into our drive I heard a noise that wasn’t the radio; it was my stomach telling me it was almost time to stop for food! As we were driving down the highway looking for a good place to stop, I started thinking about the importance of food as part of the travel equation and how technology, and food & travel TV shows have changed and enhanced the way we eat while on the road. 

First let’s discuss app technology. As we all know there are apps for everything these days, there is even an app called Yo., that’s sole purpose is to send someone a voice-note saying “yo;” so when it comes to food and travel there is no shortage of apps either. Jetzy, the world’s first geo-location based, user-to-user social app connects people with a passion for all things travel, like food. Allowing users to connect with one another and share their favorite restaurant, hotel, or site is one aspect of this app that makes it great for finding the most popular spots at or on your way to a destination. To make Jetzy even more appealing to consumers the app offers “JetPoints” that can be redeemed and used towards things like dining out, or going to the spa. Jetzy’s motto is “Travel like a Local” and it really does allow travelers to get connected to all the best native places. Another great recourse for food and traveling is Citymaps. Similar to Jetzy, Citymaps allows users to mark and share maps of all the places they have traveled. This app is extremely customizable and has endless amounts of data for users to engage in. Both Jetzy and Citymaps aren’t strictly food related apps but they can provide consumers with just as much, or more insight on where to eat while traveling than sites like Yelp.

Travel TV shows are also a great outlet for travelers who are looking for good places to dine on the road. Anthony Bourdain, “bad-boy” chef and best-selling author, starred in the Emmy award winning Travel Channel show called “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” which hit all the culinary hotspots and out-of-the-way gems around the globe. Similarly Andrew Zimmern travels around the world in a quest for the strangest foods he can find in his show, “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.” You can even tune into Guy Fieri on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” which focuses more on lesser known hot spots around the United States. Although harder to utilize on the road, these shows are great to watch in preparation of travel.

Apps and Travel TV are helping turn the average spring break road trip into a foodie’s dream drive. Also, these resources aren’t only great for consumers, restaurant owners can benefit from them as well. For example, a month after Guy Fieri featured Brick House Café, a small café in Cable, Wisconsin, on his show their sales were up 500%. Being able to easily locate and share stand out destinations has changed the way people view traveling. Don’t get me wrong, I know no one ever complained about going on vacation, but the process of actually getting to your destination can be a drag, with travel apps and shows like the ones discusses above, the once dreaded excursion can actually feel like part of the vacation.

A Corporate dinner table?

A Corporate dinner table?

The creation of brand focused restaurants such as Kellogg’s Pop Up (http://kelloggsnyc.com/) and Cadillac branded restaurant got me thinking, how far could the idea of co-branding go in the culinary industry?  As it currently stands, there are a few examples (some seen below) of larger restaurant chains who have successfully integrated other brands into their own menus, creating new buzz for both of the businesses involved.

Taco Bell and Frito-Lay:

These two came together to create one of Taco Bell’s best-selling menu items, The Doritos Locos Taco. This collaboration had fans guessing via social media for weeks about what the next flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos would be, which created huge media buzz before the item was even announced. Eventually the introduction of Doritos Locos Taco’s became the brands third most successful product platform, and even brought Chris Brandt, the old chief marketing officer of Taco Bell to say, “The partnership continues to prove the power of two mega brands working together to create firsts in restaurants and on the grocery aisle.”

TGI Fridays and Jack Daniel’s:

This duo partnered together to create a smoky glaze for the TGI Fridays menu that hit the jackpot. “This partnership has synergy for both brands,” explained Robert Byrne, manager of market insights at Techonomic. Jack Daniel’s was one of the first spirit labels to make a strong connection to a large restaurant chain, and beyond great brand recognition, this partnership also lead to a huge hit on the TGI Fridays menu. Deciding to work together was a success for TGI Fridays and Jack Daniel’s because it was a thought out partnership on both ends. TGI Fridays played to the fact that they are a festive restaurant, positioned around a bar, making a spirits brand tie-in the perfect co-branding partner for them. 

Outback Steakhouse and Stewart-Hass Racing:

This co-branding partnership is relatively different from the other examples provided, but it is just as successful. Rather than creating a new menu item, Outback decided to create a promotion involving Stewart-Hass and NASCAR’s Kevin Harvick. This promotion is called “Happy Bloomin’ Monday” and it lets fans receive a free Bloomin’ Onion on any Monday during NASCAR season where Harvick finishes in the top-10 of a Sprint Cup Series. Like TGI Fridays, Outback made a very smart decision based on their demographic they chose a partner that they knew would get customers excited and coming back Monday after Monday.

Looking at some of the larger chain restaurants that have been successful through co-branding partnerships led me to my next few questions- will we ever see brands begin to infiltrate the dinner tables at higher end restaurants across the country? Is that something we want?

At The Connect Group we know our way around a dinner table so we personally see the potential of brands infiltrating nicer restaurants.  We also know, however, the integrity of a meal experience is king, so any successful program must enhance the experience, not detract from it.  With that in mind, even at the finer dining establishments, there are ways for brands to naturally fit into the mix.  Here are a few basic examples:

Check presenters:

While presenting customers with a check, almost all restaurants use some kind of presentation method, this could include anything from a classic check presenter, to a clip board, to a more creative application, like a postcard. With that in mind, car service companies, like Uber, Lyft, Juno or others, could utilize check presentations by providing an opportunity or incentive for customers. For example, placing a coupon code on each check, so the diners not only think to use that service to take them home, but they are also getting a good deal. This idea could also be a great place for auto companies, real estate companies, and others in these genres.

Charging stations:

Depending on the brand activation, space, and brand message, charging stations could be offered to charge guests phones during their meal. This is not only a convenience for customers, but is also a great way to combat the ever prevalent problem of people being distracted by their phones during meals. It’s time to take back meal time, and counterintuitive to this post, this would be a good way to do that.

Walk-away gifts:

So, you ordered the steak and loved the spice rub they used? Well, if a brand sponsored a spice giveaway with each order you would be in luck. Giving away spices, or sauces with branded labels or gift tags would be a great surprise at the end of any meal, and an efficient way to for brands to market their product.      

Condiments/Snacks:

What better place to brand than actually on a customer’s table? While not all restaurants have condiments on their tables, most do, so this could be an organic and effective place for brands to integrate themselves into a meal.

Just to be clear, I am not advocating for brand infiltration one way or another, but as companies (and agencies like us) continue to push the envelope and look for ways to engage with audiences, restaurants could be the next frontier.  

- Lonny Sweet

What can Food do for You?

What can Food do for You?

Over the past 7 years, I’ve been fortunate to be on the forefront of some unbelievably exciting campaigns throughout the marketing world.  I’ve orchestrated celebrity ambassador campaigns, led charitable initiatives and run corporate events, and while each have their own measure of success, my tenure in the culinary marketing vertical has given me a fresh perspective on an age old question:  What can be done to make the ordinary, extraordinary?  A loaded question, and yet, the answer has been right in front of us; make food centerpiece. 

Having spent a few days down in Miami for South Beach Wine & Food Festival (my first as an “insider” in the food-space) the palpable buzz throughout the city has left me thinking about just how incredible our industry really is.  To walk around South Beach throughout the week is to see a flock of food-connected travelers excitedly running from event to event, taking in all that SOBEWFF is all about; great food and beautiful scenes in a world-class festival setting.  While the food was incredible and the crowd’s positivity infectious, what really drew me in was the story of SOBEWFF and the corporate partners who were jumping in head first to tell it.  Being there in person was incredible, to say the least, but my mind was immediately drawn to thinking of ways we can bring the experience to the masses, namely those who can’t be there physically. 

No question, eating great food from the best chefs in the country makes for a dream experience and it goes without saying; the application for food in the “event” setting is natural, somewhat obvious and yet, is continuously evolving.  My coworkers and I have gone into great detail in recent blogs about what that means exactly (give them a read!)  While that, in and of itself, is an exciting proposition for anyone in the culinary world, it is time to start seeing food for more than just an in-person experience. 

Food is the great unifier.  Food is a way to tell a story that reaches everyone.  Recently, I’ve been speaking with a number of blue-chip brands and products that most of us use in our everyday lives, but not just about how they can host a dinner for VIPs; we’re discussing how they can tell their story through the eyes of the food-connected. 

When a chef sits down to curate a menu for their new restaurant or tests a new menu item they hope to implement, what are the tools around them that they reach for to help them?  Everything from the music they listen to and the books they read to their own stress-relieving outlets offer a story ready to be told.  Marc Forgione recently did a wonderful piece in partnership with Remy Martin about what music means to him as his go-to relaxation outlet.  While in person dining experiences are obviously a critical element to the partnership, it is the packaged story that makes it relatable for the at-home consumer.  Watching the video and seeing Marc strum his guitar and talk about the parallels between food and music is the different perspective the average consumer wants (or needs) to engage with a brand.  That’s what gets me excited here every day – our goal every day is to help companies tell their own “food stories”. 

Food, and the overall dining experience, holds an inherent meaning that is unique to each and every one of us.  My dream meal may be drastically different than yours, and the holiday dinner table at the Pinkow household almost definitely looks different than it does for your family (just ask my Italian wife about her first Passover sedar with my family).  That said, it is the role food plays that is the constant.  It’s the stories being told and the experiences shared that prove to be the reasons we come back for more.  For all the “marketers” out there, I implore you to think about food as a “storyteller”, a medium on which you can share your message and reach an entirely new audience.  For all our differences, one thing will always remain true; we all eat!

The Perfect Moment

The Perfect Moment

           Sponsoring large events, like the Super Bowl, is a great way for brands to get their name out there, but is it really the best way for brands to make a cultural mark? Being a part of these large events has its pros, but it also has the ability to overshadow the sponsoring brands. Rather than latching on to someone else’s moment, we at The Connect Group think brands should start focusing on creating an experience they can define and own themselves. This can create room for a richer brand experience, and also help consumers start to see brands as a larger lifestyle, not just a product. Many larger brands have already tapped into this idea and have had major success because of it, here are a few examples of these brands and what they have done to create their own moments:

Chipotle

           In 2010, Chipotle launched Cultivate. Cultivate is a one-day, free festival that brings people together to celebrate food and music. This festival offers live music and on-site chef demonstrations, as well as interactive experiences focused on sustainable food. Beyond offering a fun space for consumers to have a good time, Chipotle also uses the festival as a platform to encourage attendees to think and talk about food in an engaging setting.  Now in its six year, Cultivate has partnered with countless other brands including Naked Juice, and California Avocados, and has proved to be a successful marketing tool for the brand. Rather than piggybacking off other brands events, Chipotle has created its own, and the success of Cultivate is a true testament to the power of brands creating their own moment. 

Budweiser

           Budweiser’s Made in America music festival is an event I have been to myself, so I can testify its popularity. This music festival features some of the top artists in the country and attracts nearly 80,000 people each year. Budweiser partners with Live Nation to create this wildly popular show that now takes place in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Budweiser took a risk by creating their own festival, but this moment still has consumers excited and thinking about Budweiser as a brand, making the risk worth the reward.

Bacardi

           Partnering with Swizz Beatz and the Dean Collection, Bacardi produced an event called No Commission: Art Performs. This four-day, immersive brand experience showcased art, music, and of course delicious cocktails. This event had consumers going nuts for the product. Not only did more than 7,000 people attended this event but it also received over 500 million social impressions, including coverage from The New York Times, W Magazine, the Huffington Post, and more. Like Chipotle and Budweiser, Bacardi created their own branding event, and it payed off.

           Since part of our job here at The Connect Group is helping brands get creative and come up with these unique moments, we understand how beneficial it can be to think outside of the marketing box; and although these “moments” can take time to develop, if they are done right the investment can yield a higher ROI than a traditional sponsorship. By creating these types of moments, brands like Chipotle, Budweiser, and Bacardi can display their own unique values and identity while simultaneously selling their products, which is a winning situation in our book.

Food, the Universal Valentine

Food, the Universal Valentine

          Whatever your opinion of Valentine’s Day is, it is undoubtedly one of the most prominent food connected holidays of the year.  Whether you are single going out with your friends for a family style dinner, enjoying an intimate dinner with your partner, or getting broccoli thrown at you during a family hibachi night (yes, that one is me), food is at the center of this holiday.

          For proof, look no further than the National Retail Federation, which estimated that Americans spent just shy of $19 billion on Valentine’s Day-related items this year.

          In response to this, brands (and restaurants) are getting smart and using the Valentine’s Day craze to brand and market their products. Below are a few examples of how brands and restaurants are hopping on this marketing “love train.”

Tesco

Tesco is getting consumers in the valentine’s spirit through a promotion that matches people up according to what items they buy at the Grocery Store. http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/valentines-day-spending-projected-reach-189-billion-year-162568/

Burger King

Burger King took a hint from Christian Grey by offering an Adult only Meal Box with an adult toy inside. http://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/food/burger-king-sex-toy-meal?xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_fw

          We at TCG are romantics at heart so to share some love ourselves, we came up with a few Valentine’s Day ideas we would love to see come to life:

LOVE & FOOD POP UP

For one night only, we would love to see a brand create a full custom Valentine’s Day Pop Up restaurant that offers 100 lucky couples the opportunity to experience love and food in a way they never have before. Partnering with a high profile celebrity chef to design and execute a mind blowing menu in an environment that evokes love and connection would be the perfect setting for a romantic evening.  Reservations for the Love & Food Pop Up would only be available the day before or the morning of Valentine’s Day and via a social media competition, making it a more exclusive and appealing ticket.

The Relationship Saver

Built for a brand with a “saving you money” message (insurance, wireless, etc), this program would be built to “Save” the relationship of those boyfriends/husbands/wives/girlfriends who waited too long to make a reservation and ended up with nothing. The brand (via an agency like Connect) would secure a number of high profile, prime time reservations at the best restaurants across the country on Valentine’s Day with the intent of giving them out to those who need them the most. To participate in the program, consumers would upload video pitches on why their relationships deserved to be “saved”, which would then be posted on a subsite and voted on by the general public. This promotion would be pushed out via the celebrity chefs who own the restaurants, select influencers, and via an aggressive PR/Social campaign.  

The At Home Night Out

For those who don’t want to brave the restaurant scene on V-Day, but still want to do something special for the one they love (and don’t have cooking skills), a brand could create a consumer promotion that involves celebrity chefs in multiple markets cooking Valentine’s Day dinners in the privacy of the select consumers’ homes.

          Food, like Love, is one of the few things that crosses language barriers, unites the soul and truly taps into the emotional spirit of humans across the world (something we all need right now).  It is from that place of love that strong brand affinity is created and brand loyalty is established.  So brands, put on your thinking caps, spread the love and let’s use Valentine’s day 2018 to create programs to reach the ever important food connected audience.   

Much love and eating

- Lonny Sweet

 

How's your Mobile APPetite?

Mobile apps are nothing new. In fact, according to a 2015 survey, 89 percent of the time people spend on media platforms is through mobile apps. Because of their increasing popularity, it should be no surprise that mobile apps have found their way into the food industry through individual restaurant apps. Here are four reason why restaurants should be creating apps:

1.       Loyalty

Mobile-based loyalty programs are much more personal than those that involve a hard-copy punch card. A 2014 study found that, 65 percent of restaurant customers are willing to download a restaurant’s app if it offers exclusive perks or deals, and a whopping 80 percent of those customers will return to the restaurant to redeem.

Effective rewards programs do not have to be elaborate or difficult. Starbucks, for example, has a very simple rewards feature on its app that gives customers a free coffee after they spend a certain amount of money. Beyond giving out points for purchasing items, loyalty programs are also a great way to incentivize customers to refer friends and family to the restaurant.

2.       Easy Reservations and Online Ordering

Apps that allow customers to make reservations without the stress of calling is a sure-fire way to help fill seats. Reserving a table on your phone appeals to costumers because of its convenience.

Online ordering is another valuable feature for any restaurant’s mobile app. Roast Kitchen in New York City has a mobile app that allows consumers to place their lunch order and select their preferred pick-up time so that they can drop by at their convenience and avoid waiting in long lines during the lunch rush.  In fact, my coworkers and I are much more likely to order lunch from Roast Kitchen than almost anywhere else based purely on the ease and convenience of its mobile app!  

3.       Social Sharing

If you want customers to engage with your brand, you’ve got to make it easy on them, right? Mobile apps give diners a convenient platform on which to write reviews, share feedback, or post photos of their experience. Social media is essentially free marketing for restaurants so encouraging people to post regularly through your mobile app is a great way to grow word-of-mouth awareness. Plus, the easier you can make it for a customer to share a good review, the better.  

4.       Push Notifications

Push notifications notify users of new deals, events, or specials, and they allow restaurants to communicate with customers even when the app is not running. Tacolicious in San Francisco started sending out push notifications for its “Margarita Monday” happy hours and now every Monday their bar is fully crowded with people. Tacolicious owner Joe Hargrave said, “We couldn’t be happier with customer response from the Tacolicious app. Online ordering has increased and our Margarita Monday happy hour push notifications filled the house!”

In addition to alerting consumers to upcoming specials and unique events, push notifications serve to just keep your restaurant top-of-mind so that the next time the user is seeking a good place to eat, they’ll know right where to turn.

In a world where cellphones are attached to their owners 24/7, and those owners are spending the majority of their smartphone time on mobile apps, it makes sense that business see a boost when they create their very own applications. There are countless ways to take advantage of these revenue boosters and attract more customers, so it’s a wonder more business haven’t boarded the mobile app bandwagon. You can be confident it won’t be slowing down anytime soon…