How Beacons can help enhance Restaurant Dining Experience
Last Updated:  December 1, 2021
Editor’s note: If you are looking to build a beacon experience to delight diners, you need an app. However, if do not have one, you can make use of QR Codes. Contactless menus are at the center of contactless dining. If you want a playbook for making and deploying QR Code menus, check out our guide.
With the rise in the adoption of mobile devices, there has been a shift in the way customers want to connect and interact with their favourite restaurants. They expect brands to creatively use technology and harness on the data gathered from their previous interactions to engage with them in a contextual manner.
Being the one device that customers view the most, mobile gives you the ability to fine-tune your messages, and ensure that your target audience can relate to it at that specific location. For example,you can automatically push notifications with an enticing offer on your customer’s favourite dish when he/she happens to walk by your restaurant. Thus, it is highly likely that, integrating beacons with your marketing efforts could result in quicker conversions and greater loyalty.
Although there have been a number of beacon implementations across various verticals such as malls, airlines and stadiums, a lot of marketers are still not completely convinced about the beacon market. One of the primary reasons for this is the misconception that most marketers hold about privacy and security concerns of beacons. We’ve answered a few commonly asked questions about beacons in one of our earlier blog posts.
In this post, we will discuss in detail about how beacons can help restaurants have meaningful interactions with their customers.
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How Restaurants can put beacons to use:
1. Allow your customers to make mobile payments
With the shift in technology and purchase behaviour, consumers have come to expect convenient mobile payment options from their favourite restaurants. In fact, according to a recent study by Latitude, an international research consultancy, 61% of people agree that they have a better opinion of brands that offer a good mobile experience. Thus, enabling mobile payments via beacons can nudge a customer into choosing your restaurant over your competitor. Moreover, in addition to helping restaurants save on transaction fees, it also gives them the ability to boost customer loyalty.
Image Source: engadget.com
For example, Eggcellent, a restaurant in Tokyo recently started allowing customers to order food and make mobile payments via the beacon. To implement this they placed these Bluetooth-enabled devices on each table at the restaurant. As soon as a customer places his mobile device close to the beacon, the menu app opens up. It even allows customers to view dishes liked by their friends, as it links the app to social networking sites that the customer frequently visits. Once done, the restaurant has a cashless checkout facility by paying through the app.
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2. Reduce wait time by offering ‘order-ahead’ feature
According to a recent study by Technomic, a research firm in the foodservice industry, casual dining restaurants, a segment that generally generates around $160 billion every year, saw a mere rise of just 2% last year. One of the main reasons for this downturn, is the inability of this segment to cater to the needs of today’s connected consumer by embracing technology.
Ensuring that you have a quicker service time, will help you fight back. You can get started in this direction by letting your customers order ahead. In fact, a number of mobile commerce apps such as Q app have successfully integrated order-ahead capabilities into their operations to help restaurants increase their average order value by cutting down on waiting time. Beacons can help you here as well. You can install a long range beacon to send alerts to the staff in the kitchen once a customer who had ordered ahead is within a certain distance from your location. This also helps you ensure that your staff has the meal prepared on time.
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3. Reward your customers for spending time with you
Over the past few years, there has been a steady growth in the popularity of loyalty programs that reward customers for staying loyal to their brand. Beacon can help you drive engagements by easily intertwining your customers’ needs and preferences with the rewards offered.
For example, Mook, a German restaurant group recently integrated iBeacon technology with their existing mobile app to reward their customers for spending time at the restaurant. These tiny devices help restaurants precisely locate their customers using the Bluetooth signal from the customers’ mobile phones and thus keep track of the amount of time they generally spend at the group’s establishments. The app then uses this information to assign ratings such as ‘addicted connoisseur’, and ‘guest’ based on time spent at the restaurant. Customers with higher ratings are rewarded with offers such as a free drink or a quick table allotment on their arrival.
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4. Gamify the Pub Crawl Experience
Customers today are bombarded with a plethora of offers and deals. Therefore, in the struggle to be successful at driving customer engagements that pertain to their interests and needs and boost customer loyalty, gamification acts as a crucial business strategy. As in the case of events, beacons help restaurants to enhance connections with their customers by rewarding them for performing certain desired actions.
Image Source: essentialmac.co.uk
Of recent, iBeacon technology was used to gamify the traditional downtown pub crawl night out. The supporting venues in lower New York, installed beacons to allow crawlers to use the Beacon Crawl app to detect beacons, answer the challenges using the hints provided, and gain rewards such as special drinks, perks etc., along the way. The gamification elements were designed to reward crawlers for social sharing. The more the number of selfies or shares the more the number of crawl points earned. In the end, the crawler with the highest number of points won prizes from a string of sponsors such as Karma, Uber and more.
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Thus, beacons empower restaurants with the ability to engage customers better through a real-world experience while gaining a 360-degree view of consumers needs and interests.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!