Restaurants of the future: Social WiFi and marketing automation.


Your restaurant is very likely connected to some sort of delivery tool such as, Foodora or Deliveroo. There, your guests choose from a number of restaurants by type of food preference, build an order via smartphone, initiate a delivery, add an item to the order before it leaves the kitchen, and pay and tip all online – plus see real-time updates on delivery status as their food approaches.


Or you receive your reservations via a booking platform, where your shift manager simply gets a notification for a new reservation, and sets the table accordingly waiting for guests to arrive. All these applications are by themselves impressive, but when a restaurant owner manages to incorporate multiple applications at once, you can truly create the next-generation guests experience that helps to build more revenue in the long-run, and improves chances of survival in the ever so competitive restaurant business.


One channel that is underrepresented in the restaurant business is email marketing. Patrons are acquainted with reservation sites and daily deal sites promoting restaurant deals, but what over 40% of guests actually want is to hear from a restaurant once a month or more.

What guests want the interaction to be about:


  • 80%: Discounts and special offers
  • 36%: Menu- related news
  • 34%: Personalized message
  • 21%: General content
  • 12%: Forum to provide feedback


A Deloitte survey (2016) found that 85 percent of responding guests use a restaurant’s official website to gather information on location, menu, and pricing, and use that information to determine where to visit. At the same time, 64 percent say they prefer to receive opt-in emails from a restaurant more than once a month. These two means of outreach—one that relies on the customer to take the initiative, one that pushes a message out—tend to work better together, as part of a plan, then either of them would as a one-off.


For restaurants, this means that using technologies such as automated email marketing brings plenty opportunities that will lead to more loyal, better guests.


One way to reach those guests – especially in the age of GDPR where personal data is hard to come by, is to offer patrons some benefit that encourages visitors to leave their personal data if they get something in return. Technologies that prove to work are for example offering free WiFi. Make sure to let your guests know that they can (and don’t have to) leave their contact details for your direct marketing and special discounts when they log onto your free WiFi. What we’ve seen in practice and what the Deloitte research further proves is that if your guest likes your place, they actually are looking forward to receiving your special offers and event invitations. It keeps your restaurant top of mind, and the guest gets a few benefits, too. Make sure to use the insights you gathered from your guests to make sure your offers stay as personal and relevant as possible.


Creating the restaurant of the future to serve the next-generation customer might not be such a challenge if the demand weren’t here today. Competition is intense, guests already expect these experiences, and the time is now.


For restaurants that recognise that change is upon them, and take the broad view of the customer experience, this is a tremendous opportunity—to wisely integrate the new digital capabilities people expect with the traditional comfort and value they have associated with restaurant experiences for generations.


This article is based on the article: Restaurants of the Future by Deloitte (2016)  – To understand the digital and customer trends of the future, Deloitte surveyed approximately 4,500 restaurant consumers and conducted interviews with more than twenty restaurant industry executives.


Talk to one of our sales managers to find out how Social WiFi and email marketing automation can be implemented in your restaurant of the future.