With July 4th behind us we’re well into the summer vacation season. Families will be traveling to new as well as tried and true destinations. One byproduct of this is that people will be eating out more often than usual. According to the Houston Chronicle, “The restaurant industry tends to thrive during the summer or warm months. This is due in part to an increase in tourism in many cities, and warmer temperatures typically encourage locals and visitors to venture outdoors.” And we’re talking about a very substantial number of vacationers. A recent survey conducted by AAA found that more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members this year.
This makes this time of the year crucial for QSR and Fast Casual restaurants, as the pool of potential customers is never higher than during this time. Think about the classic American family on the road or at a new destination. Eating out is a given with some combinations of breakfast, lunch and dinner all possibilities. The question that faces many families is deciding where to go. And since they are not at home, their favorite places are no longer on the list. Additionally, given the often hectic pace vacation brings with it, families often opt for something quick and easy for a satisfying meal that they can count on. Those factors make this time of the year a significant opportunity for QSR and Fast Casual owner/operators to capture more than their usual share of diners.
With everyone in the car but the driver focused as much on their smartphones as the sights and scenery passing them by, potential diners have already set the stage for restaurants to capture their attention and entice them to visit their location for their next meal or snack. This is where a strategically planned mobile marketing campaign can be a game changer for restaurants. By establishing a geofence within several miles of their operation, restaurant owner/operators can potentially reach thousands of consumers who may not be within eye shot of their establishment. Then, combining carefully target audience demographic data, rich media creative and real time ad delivery with compelling offers (i.e., come in between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m today and get 25% off your purchase) the restaurant can turn hungry and weary families into happy “full” filled customers.
Besides providing a means to reach diners on their most cherished possession — their phone — one of the best things about a mobile marketing campaign is that unlike traditional promotions – printed ads, television, radio, and even online banner ads — the owner/operator can track and attribute results to specific mobile ads, where they are placed and when they are run. You can determine throughout the course of the campaign how many people your ads are being exposed to; how many are clicking on the ads and promotions and how many are actually visiting specific locations. This real-time visibility into campaign execution enables the owner to fine tune it in multiple ways including increasing or decreasing exposure in certain geographies; running it more often during certain times of the day; changing out ads that are engaging consumers with those that have more traction, and more.
So if you are restaurant owner, particularly one located in a vacation destination or on one of our highways takings families to those spots, you should ask yourself if you’ve been leveraging technology enough to make your establishment a stop on family vacation trips.