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Omnichannel marketing for restaurants: Definition, best practices, and strategy


An omnichannel marketing strategy provides a smooth, connected experience across all the touchpoints a customer has with your restaurant, both online and offline.

The restaurant industry has proven to be highly adaptive. Year after year, restaurateurs and marketers continue to find innovative ways to improve on-site and off-site experiences for their customers, even when it means rethinking their services.

Restaurants have, during recent years, changed drastically in how they view that people can dine with them as a means to survive and adapt. Most restaurants adapted by becoming reliant on online ordering during the pandemic. Restaurants are still increasingly shifting towards an omnichannel approach, giving room for new ways to interact with a restaurant besides just dining in person.

According to a McKinsey study, more than half of customers engage with three to five channels during each journey they take toward making a purchase. Restaurant marketers and managers that do omnichannel marketing create a seamless brand experience that leverages in-restaurant, mobile, and desktop channels to engage customers further and nurture them along their decision journey.


Multichannel marketing vs. omnichannel: What's the difference?

People often mix up multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing. They're, however, quite different. At the most basic level, multichannel marketing is a restaurant's distribution strategy. It's how restaurants use various channels to push out marketing messages to customers.

A straightforward example of multichannel marketing is a restaurant brand releasing its seasonal holiday campaign. The campaign is shared on social media posts, ads, in restaurants, and through email marketing, all in parallel.

Omnichannel marketing is at the core about connecting all dots between the different channels and mediums. It brings all the channels together instead of just pushing out a message through a funnel of channels. When you've succeeded with omnichannel marketing, all your online and offline touchpoints work together in harmony.


The omnichannel consumer

The average person considers more than four restaurants before deciding where to eat. Today, people browse the internet to find out which place they want to visit.

Consumers today expect convenience and a seamless experience at a whole new level. We're also more connected than ever through various social media channels. The modern consumer hops from social media to the website and the physical location.

People look up reviews, photos of food, or the menu on their mobile phones when sitting at a restaurant or paying for coffee at a coffee shop. They check social media and Google Business profiles, compare offers, and read what others say about the brand and its service. Consumers today want flexibility, an option to dine in, order, or pick up food.


Implement a customer-centric approach

Most importantly, the experience should be pleasant, seamless, and personalized according to their needs and profile. Not only have retailers understood the importance of omnichannel, but savvy restaurant owners are also investing increasingly in omnichannel solutions and digital integrations.

Investing in omnichannel marketing for restaurants pays off. By collecting data and insights about the consumer across all various channels, restaurants can get an in-depth picture of consumer preferences and patterns. Restaurants can better understand their guests and potential visitors, allowing them to target the right content and engaging content that targets their specific needs.  

Prioritize communication with your customers. Start reaching out to and meeting customers where they are, which is mainly on the Google search engine looking for the nearest lunch spot or café, on Maps or social media. Keep customers informed by ensuring that opening hours and your menu are up to date in your business listings, engage with customers by replying to their reviews, and display good-quality photos of your restaurant.


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How to build the omnichannel strategy

Leaders must first identify and prioritize essential cross-channel journeys to capture the sizable rewards that an omnichannel can create. Then design custom omnichannel experiences for the consumer journeys, and embed a customer-centric mindset throughout the organization.

The number one priority is to design a strategy for the channels that truly matter. For restaurants, business listings are, for example, a channel to be prioritized due to the extensive usage by customers. When all the channels are identified, it's essential to ensure the information flows across them to provide the omnichannel experience.


Have the basics in order

You must have a few things in place to have a successful omnichannel strategy for your restaurant. Make sure to implement the following:

Manage your business listings

What's the first thing you do when searching for a product or service for a new business? You look them up on Google. As previously mentioned, the average person looks up four restaurants before deciding. You will only have success in getting new customers if people can find you online.


Also,  More than 60% of customers check Google reviews online before they visit a business. That's why your business listings are crucial for your omnichannel strategy. By managing your business listings, you'll appear in relevant searches across search engines and maps online. Forbes wrote a helpful article on using your Google Business listings to level up your SEO campaigns. Mobal makes it easy to manage all your business listings from one sleek dashboard.


Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. SEO is one of the most fundamental parts of digital marketing. People conduct millions of searches yearly to find information about products and services. Search is often the number one source of digital traffic for brands.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing is one of the most widely used paid strategies to ensure your business's products or services are visible in search engine results (SERPs). When a person types in a particular keyword, search engine marketing enables your business to appear as a result of that search query.


Mobile-optimized website

Mobile optimization is adjusting your website content to ensure visitors who access the site from mobile devices have an experience customized to their device. Mobile-optimized content flows easily between desktop and mobile devices without compromising user experience.


Social media

Mobal makes it easy for customers to discover your business on Instagram and Facebook. With the integration, you can manage your local pages on Instagram and Facebook, thereby getting new customers and increasing your sales. Answer reviews and ensure all information always is up-to-date with Mobal.


Create an ecosystem

Omnichannel marketing is about creating an ecosystem, but many restaurants are still today organized around siloed channels. There's most likely one team responsible for email newsletters, another for customer service, another for events, and another for content production and marketing. If these teams work together closely, it's impossible to implement an omnichannel strategy.

You should also think about the tech stack that your restaurant is using. To support an omnichannel strategy, you need to implement technology and platforms that consolidate vital data and allow you to manage various channels from one place. Technology will enable customers to book a table online, leave feedback about their experience, and follow your business for updates and offers.

Bring the actual physical experience and online experience together by ensuring your business listings are up to date and reflect your business. Emerge the data and insights from all your listings to understand customer behavior better, how they find your business online and what they write about you in the review sections. Use the review sections as a valuable source of feedback for what you could improve and what you're doing well.

Businesses that get the omnichannel experience right can stay ahead of the competition by being among the first to adapt to an increasingly digital world. Not managing your restaurant's business listings yet? Sign up to Mobal to get started.



Start managing your business listings today

Manage all your listings in a single sleek dashboard and easily update multiple locations with a few clicks

Create a free account

Automate your business listings management

Manage all your listings in a single sleek dashboard and easily update multiple locations with a few clicks

Start today

Turn reviews on Google into in-store sales

Manage all your listings in a single sleek dashboard and easily update multiple locations with a few clicks

Learn more

Learn how to increase discovery and sales on Google

Download guide

Learn how to turn your business listings into active marketing channels

Download guide

Everything you need to know about Instagram Local Pages

Learn how to reach more local customers on Instagram with our comprehensive guide

Download guide

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