“Beacons” – A New Technology That Is Quickly Becoming Popular in the Restaurant Industry
The restaurant industry is poised to make substantive use of beacon technology to not only build relationships with potential clients, but, and perhaps more importantly, to better serve existing customers. Beacons are part of what is called “Proximity Marketing.”
So What are “Beacons”?
Beacons (also called Stickers) are highly cost effective devices that can transmit information directly to a customer’s mobile device. Beacons use smartphone Bluetooth connections to transmit information to a mobile app. Once consumers download the app and choose to receive your information, their devices will be listening to your beacon which will automatically begin pinging their smartphone. Your marketing messages will be delivered each time a connected smartphone passes by your beacon. The incoming ping will sound whether the app is open or not.
How Do Beacons Work?
Beacons are tiny computers with powerful processors and large memory capabilities. They are powered by a coin battery and have built-in antennas and motion sensors. Beacons broadcast tiny radio signals which customers’ smartphones can receive. A downloaded app allows customer devices to receive and interpret micro-locations and contextual messages. Connecting with customers through beacons allows you to collect data and build a new generation of consumers that are connected to your brand, via their devices, in the real world.
These small wireless beacons can be attached to any location or object and are small enough to be placed anywhere in a restaurant or nearby location. When smart devices come within range of the beacon, they will receive your messages. Some beacons can allow consumers to respond to the message, other beacons can enable security protection or services such as automated check-in or paperless payments.
What Can “Beacons” Do For Your Business?
Today’s consumers value their mobile devices as sources of information. Studies have shown that consumers also appreciate personalized mobile engagement based on their interests, locations, and buying preferences. Integrating beacons with your other mobile strategies will facilitate timely responses to the contextual content needs of your consumers. Mobile marketing with beacons can result in more customers, higher consumer satisfaction, and greater loyalty.
The uses of beacons are seemingly endless. Here are just five ways you can use this new proximity-detection technology to tailor your customers’ experiences with your brand directly to their wants, needs and desires:
1. Beacons can allow diners to order their drinks and meal choices on their way to your restaurant or from their table once they get to the restaurant, tapping into today’s customer’s desire for self-service options. Connecting through a beacon can let QSR customers order ahead to help reduce waiting time. A long-range beacon can also ensure that a specialty order is ready for pick-up by alerting the kitchen staff when the customer is within a certain distance from the location.
2. Placing beacons close to a restaurant’s location can incentivize potential customers to come to your restaurant by offering special offers or other promotions such daily lunch or dinner deals. This technology eliminates the need for giant signs outside your restaurant or passing out flyers in the parking lot.
3. Beacons placed in the parking lot or down the street can inform customers as to current wait times. Customers don’t like long wait times, but if they alerted to the wait time ahead of them they can plan accordingly, perhaps to take a leisurely walk around the area or enjoy a drink at the bar. Customers will appreciate your transparency and effort to give them a good dining experience.
4. Beacons can remind diners as they exit to provide their comments and opinions in real-time. This eliminates the additional step of diners having to go to a computer to access your online customer satisfaction survey. Bringing the survey directly to the customer in this ultra-convenient way can increase the chances of their participation.
5. Beacons can deliver personalized menu offerings to regular customers based on previous orders, send rewards to frequent visitors, and deliver discount offers to entice first-time customers to come back again.
Use Beacons to Connect with Your Customer
The restaurant industry has a lot to gain from proximity marketing which allows establishments to build meaningful and personalized relationships with their customers. Beacons collect massive amounts of behavioral data that can shed light on restaurant traffic, such as the number of hits for a particular offer, the length of time that customers dwell on the marketing messages, the busiest date and time ranges for message reception, etc. All this analytic information can result in better allocation of staff and other resources and improvement of customer services, such as menu adjustment and types of promotions offered. Ultimately beacons can help provide your customers with the best experience possible, resulting in increased consumer loyalty.
The Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security Association (formerly NFSSC) is an exclusive community of loss prevention professionals focused on helping its members minimize losses and reduce liabilities within the restaurant and food industries.
We are industry leaders sharing our collective expertise, knowledge and solutions to the challenges we face every day. Our goal is to make our members more efficient and successful in their careers by serving as the “go-to” resource for restaurant and food industry loss prevention and security professionals.
As a member-run organization, we share information about industry trends and connect a network of peers who understand the unique challenges of the job, and who collaborate to find the next best solution. We create a forum for discussion and problem-solving so that our members benefit from shared expertise. We provide professional development opportunities that are designed to meet the specific interests and concerns of restaurant and food industry professionals, and we advocate for regulations that will make our workplaces more safe and secure.
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