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The restaurant industry has changed a lot over the last few years. For one, there is more competition than ever before. The rise of food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash have made it even harder to keep customers satisfied with their restaurant choices – they can order from multiple restaurants in just minutes! This means that restaurant owners need to keep adapting their marketing strategy to stay ahead of the curve.
You’re a restaurant operator and you want to know what the future holds. What will happen in 2022 and beyond?
We’re taking a look at restaurant trends and sharing our 11 restaurant marketing predictions for 2022 so your restaurant can keep profits up and customers satisfied.
1 – Prioritizing the Collection of Zero-Party Data
Even though Google pushed back its deadline for phasing out third-party cookies to 2023, restaurant owners should start preparing for a future without them. Google has been vocal about its plans to get rid of third-party cookies, which are used by advertisers to track users’ online behavior. This means that restaurant owners will need to find other ways to collect customer data and target them with ads.
How do I get zero party data?
One way to do this is through “zero-party data.” Zero-party data is information that’s voluntarily shared by customers, such as email addresses or contact information. Restaurant owners can ask customers for their contact information in exchange for things like loyalty rewards or discounts. This allows restaurant owners to build customer profiles without using any tracking cookies.
Zero-party data is becoming more important as people become increasingly concerned about their privacy online. Restaurants that start collecting zero-party data now will be better prepared for the future and thankful they decided to own and control their data as privacy concerns make things more restrictive in the restaurant industry.
While it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen in 2022 when third-party tracking becomes obsolete, one thing we know for sure is that restaurant owners need every advantage they can get if they want their business to succeed online.
2 – Messaging & Chatbots Dominate the Conversation
Imagine the growth your restaurant would see if you had a way to market to and gain new customers even when the restaurant is closed.
Messaging and chatbots can make this a reality and connect restaurants with their customers in a way that is much more interactive than a simple social post. Customers place restaurant orders, ask questions about menu items and make restaurant reservations all without picking up the phone or leaving their house – they simply message online.
In 2022, we expect messaging apps and chatbots to be one of the top ways that restaurant operators reach out to and connect with their customers.
Messaging apps stay on the rise
Messaging apps are already popular in today’s world and their popularity only increases as time passes. Forecast data published by Statista predicts the number of total mobile texting apps users is expected to grow to over 3.51 billion in 2025.
Chatbots are also becoming increasingly popular as restaurant owners start using them to provide customer service. With chatbots, restaurant owners can automate things like answering questions and relaying messages from customers – saving restaurant employees time they could spend doing other important tasks!
What does this mean for restaurant owners?
It means that restaurant owners need to start using messaging apps to reach out to their customers. With restaurant customers spending more time on their phones, it’s only natural that restaurant owners will need to adapt.
Messaging apps and chatbots are the perfect way to communicate with customers because they’re fast, efficient, and convenient. They allow restaurant owners to send messages quickly without having to wait for a customer to call back. And since many people already use messaging apps every day, it’s a familiar platform that customers are comfortable using.
Chatbots are also becoming more popular as they become more advanced. Chatbots can now answer customer questions, take orders, and even recommend menu items. They’re the perfect way to provide customers with fast, accurate information without having to wait for a human representative to be available.
Using Chatbots To Collect Zero-Party Data
Utilizing chatbots as a way to collect zero-party data is another trend restaurant owners should be aware of. Chatbots can be used to ask customers for their contact information and other personal data in exchange for rewards or discounts. This is a great way to get data, increase customer engagement and strengthen customer relationships.
3 – Keep Taking Text & Email Marketing Seriously
In 2022, restaurant owners will need to start using text and email marketing to communicate with customers. Text and email marketing are two of the most effective ways to reach customers. They’re fast, convenient, and can be used for a variety of purposes such as announcing new menu items, promoting special events, or simply sending out a thank-you message.
By having a direct line of contact with your customer, you’re able to keep them updated on what’s going on with your restaurant. And since text and email marketing are so fast and convenient, customers are more likely to read them than they are to ignore them.
Text marketing is a great way to quickly reach out to large numbers of people at once. With text marketing, restaurant owners can send out mass text messages to all of their customers at once. Text campaigns are seeing an average open rate of 98% and clickthrough rates as high as 19%. That’s a lot of potential customers!
Text marketing is also perfect for restaurant owners who want to send out time-sensitive messages. For example, if you’re running a special promotion that only lasts for a few days, text marketing is a speedy way to let your customers know about it.
Text messages are also a great way to increase customer engagement. restaurant owners can send out text messages with links to surveys, contest entries, or even just questions about the customer’s experience at the restaurant. This gives restaurant owners a way to get feedback from their customers and improve their restaurant based on customer feedback.
Email marketing allows restaurant owners to communicate with their audience one-on-one, which means they can create highly customized messages for different types of groups and audiences. For example, if you have two locations – each location could have its own email list. And restaurant owners can set up different campaigns for each location based on their customers’ preferences, locations, age groups – basically anything restaurant owners want to know about their customers.
Email marketing is also perfect for restaurant marketers who are looking to increase sales or drive traffic back to the restaurant. Since you’re not limited to 160 characters like a text message, restaurant owners can craft longer emails to include more information about restaurant deals, menus, or sales.
4 – Consumers Eat Up Loyalty & Rewards Programs
Everyone LOVES free stuff – especially when it comes from somewhere they already love. In 2022, restaurant owners will need to start using customer loyalty and rewards programs to keep their customers coming back. A report from Paytronix and PYMNTS says that nearly 47% of diners currently use at least one loyalty program. And that number is only going to grow as time goes on.
Loyalty programs are a great way to show your customers that you appreciate them and are perfect for restaurant owners who want to build customer relationships over time. They’re also a great way to increase customer loyalty by getting customers to come back more often and spend more money at your restaurant. Plus, they’re a fantastic way to collect customer data about preferences and dining habits.
There are a variety of different loyalty programs that restaurants can use, but the most common type is a points-based system. In this type of program, customers earn points for each purchase they make at the restaurant. Once they’ve collected enough points, they can redeem them for rewards such as free food or drinks, restaurant gift cards, and more.
Rewards programs are similar to loyalty programs, but restaurant owners can use them to increase customer engagement and drive sales instead of building long-term relationships with customers. If restaurant marketers want to quickly boost their restaurant’s profits they should look into implementing a rewards program as soon as possible.
These types of programs work by rewarding customers for different types of restaurant engagement – like following the restaurant on social media or leaving reviews. For example, one popular rewards program restaurant owners can implement is a check-in offer where customers get discounts for checking in to their restaurant through Foursquare (or another location-based app).
5 – User-Generated Content Makes Things Personal
People love sharing restaurant food photos on social media. It gives them a chance to show off their excellent taste in restaurants and talk about how much they enjoyed the restaurant’s delicious dishes with all of their followers. And there are no signs that this trend will slow down anytime soon – which is why restaurants need to start taking advantage of user-generated content ASAP!
In 2022, marketers will be using User Generated Content (UGC) more than ever before because it makes people feel like an integral part of the restaurant experience (which leads to long-term customer engagement).
Everybody wants to be an influencer and content creator, which means restaurant owners can capitalize on this trend by encouraging their customers to share restaurant food photos and videos with all of their followers. Plus, restaurant consumers love being able to identify with brands that have similar values – which is why using user-generated content will help establish your brand as modern and relevant in 2022.
How to use User Generated Content for your restaurant
One way restaurant owners can encourage customer engagement is by incentivizing people to create content about the restaurant through a contest or giveaway. For example, one popular strategy restaurant marketers are using now is an Instagram photo challenge where they ask participants to take a picture at the restaurant and post it along with three other users for a chance to win gift cards and discounts towards future orders.
UGC doesn’t just work for large restaurant chains either – even small restaurants can benefit from this type of content since it’s so easy to implement!
For instance, if restaurant owners ask regular diners to take pictures or videos of themselves enjoying the restaurant’s food then they’ll likely share it with friends who might be interested in trying out the restaurant for themselves! This will increase customer engagement (and word-of-mouth marketing) while driving brand awareness about your restaurant – which is great news for everyone involved.
6 – Maximize Your Restaurant’s Delivery & Contactless Ordering Options
Online ordering and pickup is one of the best restaurant marketing trends for 2022 because it makes the dining experience much easier and faster for customers.
There are many different ways restaurant owners can go about offering contactless ordering and pickup for their customers. For example, your restaurant can use your custom restaurant app or website to allow customers to order food online and then pick it up at the restaurant without having to wait in line.
In fact, this is one of the best restaurant digital marketing trends because it takes advantage of people’s desire for convenience while also increasing restaurant sales!
And restaurant owners don’t necessarily have to offer contactless ordering through their restaurant’s custom app. For instance, they can also implement a feature that allows people to order food on Google or Grubhub and then pick it up at the restaurant – which is another popular restaurant marketing trend for 2022.
In this post-pandemic world, restaurant owners need to do everything they can to make it easier for people to safely find and order food online – which means restaurants need to start offering consumers the food ordering options they want ASAP.
From contactless pickup to delivery, this is an excellent way to reach more people who might not have time to go out and eat, but still want to enjoy your delicious food!
7 – Social Media Remains A Staple
Since over 60% of adults get their news from social media, it’s important for restaurant owners to have a strong social media marketing strategy. Not only will this help you connect with more customers, but it will also help you build brand awareness, customer loyalty and increase restaurant sales.
By creating engaging and consistent content, restaurant owners can attract new followers who will eventually become customers. And, if restaurant operators are smart about it, they can even use social media to drive traffic to their website or app.
Facebook continues to be the king of social media with nearly 2.89 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2021. This means restaurant owners need to continue using this platform to reach their target market – and that’s not going to change in 2022.
However, restaurant owners should also consider branching out and exploring some of the other social media platforms that their target market might be using. For instance, restaurant marketing teams can use Instagram to share photos or videos with potential customers – which is another great way for restaurants to increase sales!
By sharing new content on a regular basis restaurant owners will create brand awareness while increasing customer engagement (and word-of-mouth marketing) which will ultimately lead to increased restaurant sales.
Is It Too Late For My Restaurant To Start Marketing On Tik Tok?
No, it’s not too late for your restaurant to start using TikTok! In fact, this social media platform continues to grow in popularity among various demographics and could be a great way to reach more people who might not be reached through other platforms.
TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with others on the app, so restaurant owners could use it to show off their food or restaurant atmosphere. Additionally, they can also run contests and giveaways on the app to attract more followers.
Bottom line: social media remains an important part of restaurant marketing in 2022, so make sure you’re using the right platforms to reach your target market.
8 – Customer Feedback Becomes Even More Valuable
Another restaurant marketing trend for 2022 is focusing on customer feedback. By paying attention to social media comments, listening to customer feedback, and getting out of the restaurant to check on customers in person restaurant owners can do a better job at understanding what people are looking for – which will ultimately lead to increased restaurant sales.
In fact, restaurant owners should start going out of their way to get more opinions from customers about the food and service at their restaurant. They can do this by providing a quick survey after people have had a chance to eat (or even when they’re waiting in line). This will help your restaurant understand what people like – which means restaurant owners can make changes accordingly! And this will also give your restaurant’s marketing team valuable insight into what you need to improve upon or change in order to attract new customers.
Do restaurant owners need to ask for feedback every time a customer eats at the restaurant?
To make this strategy as effective as possible, restaurants should focus on asking customers for their feedback regularly. However, restaurant owners should take into account that some people will forget or not have enough time during their busy schedules.
With a chatbot system in place, your restaurant can ask customers for feedback after their meal in a more convenient way. This will help restaurant owners gather feedback from customers who might not have given them feedback otherwise, and it will also keep track of customer satisfaction levels over time.
By allowing customers to answer surveys about their recent experience while placing orders directly through the restaurant’s custom mobile app, you can also provide valuable insight into what needs improvement.
9 – Video Marketing Is The Visual King
The restaurant marketing trends for 2022 are pointing to video marketing as one of the most powerful ways for restaurant owners to attract new customers.
In the restaurant industry, video marketing is the new king – and they’ll need to learn how to implement it into their restaurant marketing strategy if they want to stay ahead of the competition.
Video has become an incredibly powerful way to connect with potential restaurant customers as phone screens continue to get bigger. HubSpot says that studies show 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support. And that number is only going to continue rising in the years to come.
In order to make sure your restaurant’s marketing team is on top of this trend, they’ll need to start creating videos that show off the restaurant’s food, ambiance, and culture. They can also do cooking demonstrations or interviews with the head chef to give potential diners an inside look at what their experience will be like if they choose your restaurant.
10 – Customer Experience Is More Important Than Ever
In 2022 restaurant marketing trends show that restaurant owners will need to focus on creating a positive customer experience. In order to keep up with the competition, restaurant owners will need to focus on creating a unique customer experience that cannot be found at any other restaurant.
This means restaurant will need to explore innovative ways to get people in the door by using strategies like marketing automation, search engine optimization (SEO), and modern restaurant website design.
Once someone becomes a customer, restaurant owners will need to make sure they’re kept satisfied through things like providing personalized service, remembering their orders, and sending them special offers. If restaurant owners can keep their customers happy, they’ll be more likely to return and also recommend your restaurant to their friends and family.
11 – Mobile Is Made Mandatory
With so much competition, restaurant owners are going to have two restaurant marketing options for 2022: be left in the dust or FINALLY embrace the popularity of mobile device usage.
From choosing where they’re going to eat and online ordering to paying their bill and leaving a review, customers are using their mobile devices throughout the entire dining experience. This isn’t going to change anytime soon and consumers expect restaurant owners to follow the trends with them.
That’s why restaurant marketing in 2022 is going to require a mobile-first mindset.
Make sure your restaurant website is optimized
A 2019 report from Upserve says 90% of diners will research a restaurant online before actually going there. This means restaurant owners need to make sure their website is mobile-friendly and looks great on all devices.
If your restaurant website isn’t mobile-friendly you will lose out on potential customers who aren’t able to access your website and may choose to take their online ordering to another restaurant.
Accepting mobile payments
Mobile payments are becoming more and more popular, so restaurant owners will need to make sure they’re able to accept mobile payments in order to compete. From paying their bill by scanning a QR code to using Apple or Google Pay, customers are looking for ways to pay without having to fumble through their wallet.
The restaurant marketing trends for 2022 are going to be very exciting as restaurant owners continue to improve the dining experience and create new ways of engaging with customers.
One thing restaurant marketers should always remember is that they need to offer their customers something different – otherwise, there’s no point in even trying! So, get creative and explore all of the different restaurant marketing trends that are available to you.
Is your restaurant ready to make the most of 2022?
Want to learn how Local480 Media can help? Let’s talk