Restaurant Owners: Digital Channels Might Not Be As Important To Consumers As You Think – The Buyer’s Journey 86

A new report shows a discrepancy between what restaurant owners think consumers want from digital, and what consumers find useful.

Order Up

Greg Sterling reports on Search Engine Land that, “[r]estaurateurs are more likely than restaurant patrons to say digital marketing channels and reviews influence customers’ restaurant choices.” A new report by Toast, a restaurant point of sale and management system, gives some interesting insights on the digital landscape for restaurants. The report features surveys from about 1,000 consumers and 1,200 restaurant owners and staff collected between June 2018 and March 2019. 

Toast Chart Titled, "How Do Guests Choose a Restaurant To Dine At? Guests and Restaurateurs Shared Their Thoughts."

Source: Toast Restaurant Success survey

The top three platforms were agreed upon between respondents, however it’s the percentage difference that are important. However, both overwhelmingly agreed that “Recommendations from Friends & Family” were the top most reason for restaurant decision-making. Online reviews and Facebook took the second and third spots for both groups, respectively.

Interestingly, restaurateurs favored Instagram at 22%, while customers only gave it 8%. That’s below custom ordering platforms (12%) and even newspapers (13%). On the show, Josh and I discuss this discrepancy. We believe the reason is that, while Instagram is fantastic for aesthetic content, when making a decision you probably want to know more info. For example, hours of operation and a menu.

A Toast chart entitled, "Usage of The Top Three Social Media Platforms For Restaurants Over The Years."

Source: Toast Restaurant Success survey

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter ranked as the top three social media platforms for restaurants. Unsurprisingly, Facebook takes the top spot and is the top hit for customers.

Social Ad Buys

Sterling reports that paid media social was a top focus with 67% of restauranteurs saying “they are buying or will buy social ads (read: Facebook).”

Following that are sponsored local events, SEM, traditional print media, PR, direct mail and TV.

Toast Chart Entitled, "Which Of These Advertising And Promotion Methods Will Your Restaurant Pay For In 2019?"

Source: Toast Restaurant Success survey

Sterling also reports that restaurateurs (90%) valued customer feedback. Online reviews and/or social media were the most popular, used by 30% of owners. Comment cards, verbal feedback and responses to digital receipts are a few of the other additional methods.

Check out our next episode where we’ll discuss Pinterest’s earnings report.

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