How to Use Location-Based Mobile Marketing to Promote Your Restaurant
Location-based mobile marketing can help restaurateurs provide personalized experiences and collect valuable customer data. Here’s how to get started!
Last Updated:  July 22, 2021
On social media, location has become a natural thing to share when taking photos or checking into places. It was only a matter of time until brands caught on to that and started using this to target customers in specific locations. That’s where location-based mobile marketing comes in.
Currently, almost half of the world’s population (48.33%) owns a smartphone.
We use our phones for everything, including receiving information and promotions from our favorite brands. As a restaurant owner, you too can use location-based mobile marketing to reach more customers and promote your food business.
Location-based marketing statistics and trends
Location-based marketing is one of the most powerful ways of targeting your audience in a way that provides them with relevant content with access to their data.
Location-based services have a long history and will continue to grow and shape the way businesses interact with their customers. Nine out of ten people who own a smartphone use it for information related to their location, especially younger adults.
And people are also becoming more comfortable with the idea of sharing their location with apps on their phones.
83% of app users consider the location to be a crucial aspect of their experience. Brands are catching on to that as well. According to a 2017 study of 500 brands, more than 50% were using location-based marketing.
As long as brands are transparent with the fact that they’re using location-based marketing and with what they’re doing with the data they collect, they will reap its many benefits.
In the future, location-based services will deliver more and more targeted experiences to customers. However, the more nuanced the experiences are, the more careful you must be about privacy policies and regulations.
Advantages of location-based mobile marketing for restaurants
But more to the point, what’s in it for you? What do you stand to gain by doing location-based mobile marketing?
1. Learn about your customers
By learning your customers’ location and habits, you can deliver targeted offers that they won’t be able to resist.
Let’s say an old customer who hasn’t visited you in a while finds themselves near your restaurant. You can send them a push notification with a free dessert code that they might take you up on since they’re already in the neighborhood.
2. Provide a highly personalized experience
Because location-based mobile marketing learns about your customers’ behavior and habits, it can provide personalized recommendations and offers without you lifting a finger. This will make customers feel valued and likely to return to your restaurant.
3. Reward loyalty
People who have installed your app and opted in for push notifications have likely eaten at your establishment at least once. Receiving these targeted messages periodically will make them feel like part of an exclusive club with benefits that not all customers can enjoy.
4. Cater to people’s impulse buying tendencies
A limited-time offer shown at the right time can work wonders for people’s impulse buying. Let’s say a customer passes by your restaurant during lunch. You can target them with a special lunch bundle only available within a limited time slot. That will make them more motivated to take advantage of it before it goes away.
5. Increase brand awareness and engagement
Having a dedicated mobile app and delivering targeted messages and offers to your customers is guaranteed to increase engagement as people interact with your brand more. It will also make your restaurant brand a household name in the neighborhood.
Location-based mobile marketing tips for restaurants
#1 Promote online ordering and table reservations
A restaurant app should feature your menu for people to browse. However, you can go one step further and promote your online ordering system by allowing people to order in-app.
If you don’t have an online ordering system yet, you can learn how to set it up in 10 minutes by watching the video below.
The same goes for table reservations. Having the option to book a table directly from the app without calling your restaurant can significantly increase the number of people who make reservations.
Moreover, you can offer them the option to also pre-order their food when they make a reservation. That way, you streamline the entire process, which makes it easier for both parties. You take the weight off your servers, and customers have their food waiting for them when they arrive.
For dine-in purposes, you can also use contactless ordering via a menu QR code. This touch-free solution will make your restaurant safer without users having to download an app. All they need is a mobile phone to scan the code.
#2 Add online payments and multiple fulfillment options
The more personalized the browsing and ordering experience, the more satisfied your customers will be. One way in which you can personalize your restaurant app is by offering multiple payment options.
When placing an order or booking a table with food pre-order, customers should be able to pay in-app either by cash, card, or other providers like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. The same goes for their dine-in experience, where online payments nicely complement QR code menus by minimizing personal contact.
Another feature you should add to your in-app restaurant menu is multiple order fulfillment options. Offer both delivery and pickup, and customize those with options like curbside pickup and no-contact delivery so people can feel safe ordering from your restaurant.
#3 Send targeted promotions via push notifications
Use your app’s push notification feature to deliver special offers, promotions, and discounts to customers nearby. For example, freebies will always be a hit, whether it’s a free dessert or a free drink if they order a main course.
You can also offer percentage discounts like a 15% discount on your pizza menu between 6 and 9 PM. Offers like this can also help you boost traffic when things are slow. If you have primarily empty tables between 2 and 4 PM, invite people nearby to drink on the app. Make it clear that this is a limited-time offer to increase interest.
You can also target your restaurant promotions based on the weather by offering discounts on hot chocolate on cold days or lemonade on hot summer days. The more specific and contextualized your promotions are, the more likely it is for people to be interested in them.
What’s more, don’t forget you can use your push notifications for more than just sending promotions. When people dine with you, use the app to remind them to share a photo on social media and tag you. Alternatively, send them a reminder to leave you a review if they were satisfied with the experience.
#4 Include a sign-up box
One of the first rules of building a restaurant website is to add a sign-up form for email marketing. That is also true of restaurant apps. You can use the app’s pop-up feature to ask customers if they’d like to sign up for your newsletter.
To convert more, have the notification target itself after customers leave your restaurant when they’re at their most satisfied and while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
To motivate them to sign-up, clearly highlight the benefits in the pop-up and think of a catchy CTA. For example, the text could read “Want promotions delivered to your inbox every week?” with a sign-up button labeled “Get special offers.”
#5 Complement your loyalty program
Location-based mobile marketing can enhance your loyalty program by helping you deliver targeted messages to your most loyal customers. If you already have a loyalty program with an extensive list of customers, invite those customers to download your app for even more exclusive offers.
That way, they won’t just receive emails from you every once in a while but also in-app push notifications when they’re in the area.
To make the app as attractive to them as possible, highlight the benefits of using an app over your website:
Mobile-optimized ordering experience
More chances to receive special offers
Location-based mobile marketing is an excellent opportunity for restaurants to shine in this increasingly digital world. Most customers prefer to use their phones for everything, including ordering food. Anticipate this need by creating a restaurant app and using it to promote your business and bring more customers in.
Location-based marketing isn’t going anywhere. It’s becoming quite the trend among business owners from a variety of industries.
There’s no time to lose if you haven’t integrated location-based mobile marketing into your restaurant’s marketing strategy. You are missing out on a vital opportunity to connect with your audience and boost sales. So, don’t wait any longer and use the tips above to get started.
As a marketing specialist at GloriaFood, Laura’s main job is to help restaurateurs put their business on the map through quality online content, marketing strategies, and innovative tools. A bookworm and a perfectionist, she loves to constantly learn new things and challenge herself.