If you google how to increase restaurant sales without advertising, you will find a lot of different approaches from giving free samples to better SEO, adding catering services to social media presence, and more. All of these suggestions may in fact increase your revenues somewhat, however, they involve specific knowledge of, for example, catering business, or social media experts to be paid in order to increase awareness or are not scalable. What everyone seems to be missing, restaurant sales can be increased through a more defined strategy by using technology, and no not just any technology, through an effective, individualized marketing platform. If you are using a tech stack that does not integrate or talk to each other if you have to search for information to find it if you are missing parts of the puzzles, how are you going to up-sell to existing customers or bring in new customers?
The problem in the restaurant and retail industry? Technology.
I have yet to see a brand that can in a matter of seconds and in real-time tell me the Return on Investment (ROI) of any campaign or better yet, the ROI of an individual customer. I have asked the question many times but the answers are always guesswork or some more complex brands, can dig up the information in days. So we ask if you do not know who your customers are if you do not know the ROI of each campaign if you are spending countless man-hours generating reports, how do you plan and market to the unknown?
You started with your 30-year-old NCR Aloha or Micros POS (in our opinion, Aloha is the enemy to your growth), then upgrade to the exact same version but now on a tablet, called Toast POS, then added a loyalty program, online ordering, email marketing and you are in the 21st century? Do not fool yourself, after all, the more you fool yourself, the sooner you will be out of business.
Wake up, this is not the year of 2000
The easiest way to increase your sales in your restaurants, coffee shop, or retail shop is through your existing clients. We have all heard that it is cheaper and easier to get your existing customers to spend more than it is to gain a new customer, but everyone seems to mostly ignore this or just simply slack off in absurd ways. How do you ask? We are glad you asked. Let’s go through some examples to show you that even those who think they know their customers, only know at best, 30% of their customers, and know some info about them, not the whole picture.
Implement a loyalty program? No.
The first thing a restaurant brand does is go after a loyalty program to solve the problem of up-selling to existing customers. We initially thought that these restaurant owners, CEOs, CFOs, COOs are just uneducated and honestly make stupid decisions, but then we started digging more and found that no, they are far from it. They clearly are aware of the operation, are educated and understand their business extremely well, however, they live inside a box and don’t know what they don’t know. If you don’t know that a solution exists, you continue with the old ways of doing things and do not question it. Did we found that the best operators, CEOs, and owners always ask the toughest questions and start with Why?
Implementing a loyalty program gets you at the very best, a 30% insight into your customers’ behavior. A typical brand with a few hundred locations does not even have the marketing budget to even get to 30%, to put your mind at ease, Starbucks is at high 20% range. We found that the best CEOs challenge this and ask why not more? What about the other 70%?
Customer Analytics must be at the heart of your business operation. Simply put, you have to know who your customers are, how often they order from you, how much do they order every time and you have to have the means to consistently, individually, and effectively market to them with the right content, meaning content that they respond to. With Milagro’s Ai powered marketing platform, you get exactly this, we build a profile of nearly every guest automatically and more importantly, take action based on that data. We do not just provide you the data and say figure it out. Our system automatically targets and markets to each customer and more importantly keeps track of everything to better understand that customer in order to increase sales and profitability.
Start an E-Mail Marketing Program? No.
We have a million users in our email list, we send out a coupon, the open rate is 10%, click-through rate is 5% and everyone uses the same coupon code. The guest brings the coupon into the restaurant and redeems it and we see some spike in sales but not really know why. Improved version of an email marketing is where the email uses a unique coupon code per each email address and we track the redemption rate of that coupon so we now know that firstname.lastname@example.org redeemed the coupon but we have no idea how much he spent using that coupon and worse yet, we have no ROI on Richard. To drill down further, the only information we have is the email communication, if Richard shows up from a social media page or a local magazine ad, we would not have that data centrally integrated to make sense of it.
So how do you increase restaurant sales and profitability without advertising?
Change your POS system
Start from your locations and change from your POS system from the useless NCR / Aloha or Micros or even your Toast Tablet POS system. Why? Because they are holding you back. A POS system is the epicenter of your marketing, think about it, all of the transactions happen on your POS system, so why would you not include this in your Marketing Campaigns? This is where your marketing campaign must begin. Through Milagro’s POS system, after six months of data, you should have a complete list of all your customers broken down by returning and new. Furthermore, you will have the entire transaction history of every customer automatically regardless of them being a loyalty member.
If you send out a coupon, if you send out an email, if you print an ad in a magazine, if you post a discount on social media, track everything. If you do not measure it, you cannot manage it. You must have an effective marketing platform that allows you to individually assign, track, and redeem coupons so you can track that back to Richard Parker. At Milagro, this is what we started with, we set out to build a marketing platform that allows a business to track every transaction.
Furthermore, track how many customers are first-timers, how many are repeats, how far they live from your location, do they have kids, how much do they spend per visit, and everything else in order to make relevant decisions.
Automatically Up-sell to existing customers
When you have the data, then it is so much easier to reach out to existing customers and up-sell to them. While your competitors are still trying to figure out who their customers are, spend countless days running reports from their multi-platform software to make a decision, you are making real-time changes to your campaigns based on the facts and data. Your competition does not stand a chance.
About Milagro Marketing Automation Platform
Before we started Milagro, we have a simple goal in mind, how do we help restaurants and retail industry increase their sales? Through our engagement in the space and extensive knowledge, we quickly realized that restaurants have no idea who their customers are, they have scattered customer information with no central management platform to help them make decisions. With that vision, we built a marketing platform to the server as the core foundation of any restaurant or retail shop where all of your customer information is housed. We automatically build a profile of every customer and keep track of shopping history, customer feedback, online ordering, loyalty points, and everything else in order to effectively reach them and market to them using relevant content that they respond to. Sign up for a free trial today and be up and running in hours.