Did you know that the timing of the bill is the perfect time to optimize restaurant marketing ? It is however true. Even though it can be a tense and awkward moment at times , it can be turned into a great opportunity to capture and retain your customers.
As a matter of principle, make sure to convert it into a relaxed, simple and cordial moment, paying attention to these basic details:
- Respond quickly to signs customers are making when it’s time to pay.
- Return the bill as quickly as possible so that this step goes smoothly and does not leave customers feeling disappointed at the conclusion of their meal.
- Don’t pressure customers to pay because you need the table for some other service.
- Offer different payment methods to customers , including separate bills for those who request them to keep everything going smoothly.
If you have already implemented all these rules in your establishment, in this case you can go a little further:
1 – Leave a positive impression on your customers
Did you know how grateful your customers will be for you for being creative when you add them up? Verry much ! Here are some ideas …
Present the bill in a fun way, placing it in objects related to the establishment’s storytelling. For example, nest your bill in an anchovy tin if your restaurant specializes in this gastronomic offering. Or, if you specialize in desserts and sweets, put the bill back in cotton candy. Another very appreciated initiative, accompany the addition of candies in the shape of hearts as a gift during your Valentine’s Day dinners .
Hand in the bill with promotional materials for your next events ( live concerts , wine tastings, new dishes, special parties). This is a time when you have the confidence that customers will see the information, and therefore it is ideal for showing them your other offers and thus giving them full satisfaction.
2 – Persuade your customers to leave their opinion on TripAdvisor and TheFork
Internet reviews are essential for restaurant marketing , as customers are very often influenced in their decision to book by comments left by other visitors. The ability to consult restaurant reviews is therefore increasingly essential.
Here is a very effective initiative to convince your customers to publish their opinion: when giving them the bill, offer them sweets or end-of-meal candies, along with a card indicating how to access the profile. restaurant, for example on TripAdvisor, and invite them to leave their opinion there . It’s important that there be something nice about this moment, such as candy as a gift, to make your customers feel like taking action.
One option offered by TheFork to its partner restaurants is to send a message (email and SMS) to customers who have booked on the portal, just after leaving the establishment, inviting them to rate the restaurant and write a comment on their experience.
The idea, in this case, is that the server comes in reinforcement of this marketing action, by warning in advance the customers when he presents them the bill that they are going to receive this message and that it would be very appreciated that they left their review on TheFork . Phrases like “give other customers a chance to have this experience” or “share this moment with other visitors” are powerful enough, because one of the main reasons people post their reviews is because ‘they help other people in their purchasing choices .
3 – Obtain the customer’s email address to send them communications
The presentation of the bill is also an ideal time to kindly ask customers for their contact details (their email address) , which will allow you to keep them informed of all the news of the restaurant, especially if they are customers of passage entered by chance. If these are customers who have booked on TheFork (where they have already left their contact details), the server should remind them of the possibility of receiving the restaurant’s newsletter regularly, with discounts and promotions, customers can thus consent to receive it by email.
4 – Promote your social networks
The end of the gastronomic experience is also a good time to invite your customers to join the community of users of your social networks . We know that the impact of actions on digital channels on purchasing decisions is phenomenal. Therefore, make sure that before leaving the premises, your customers have subscribed, left a like or follow you on your networks.
A good strategy is to accompany the addition of cards or flyers listing your accounts on social networks , and for the server to invite them to share their photos of the restaurant to participate in your contests and win prizes . If you offer rewards, customers will take action.
5 – Know the preferences of your customers
Your customers are constantly giving you information about their tastes. From the moment they book until the moment they leave the establishment, they leave you clues about their dining preferences: for example the type of table they prefer, their food allergies, their favorite brand of wine, and and so on. It is therefore ideal to capture and record a maximum amount of information at any time.
The presentation of the bill can therefore turn into a golden opportunity to get to know your customers better, who are supposed to be very satisfied at the end of the meal. By the time he hands them the bill, the waiter can therefore strike up a pleasant conversation with the customers , especially when it is obvious that they are satisfied, things that their body language betrays, among other things. During the conversation, the waiter can solicit a sincere opinion about their experience, ask them what they liked the most and what they would like to see improved , save this information with a view to retaining them later. It’s also a way to leverage reviews and better understand customers.
Of course, common sense applies when performing these actions: it is out of the question to want to put them into practice all at the same time and risk annoying customers. The secret is to use the ones that best match the style of your business and the type of prospect .
Some establishments have chosen real strategies of seduction when making the addition… how about getting started too?
Some unusual cases of marketing for restaurants at the time of the bill:
- The “ Pay as you wish ” business model, where customers decide on the amount of the bill. These are restaurants where the waiters leave an envelope for customers at the end of the gastronomic experience, and they are responsible for slipping a sum assessed by themselves. Surprisingly, some customers pay significantly more than what the restaurant would actually charge them, others pay less. In the end, the recipes end up balancing out.
- The restaurant Sabor a Campo in Chile gives customers a phone number to allow them to send a message on Whatsapp to request their bill once their meal is finished. This is a service that is offered when there is a high traffic and the waiters are no longer able to take care of all the customers. Each table has a number, so customers can send staff a message like “Addition of table 30, please” and thus facilitate processing. It is essential in this case to offer a free WiFi service .
- Another unusual example is that of a restaurant in Italy which added a 5% discount to a family’s bill because of the “very wise behavior” of the children during the meal. This surprising initiative had a very strong impact on social media and generated free and large-scale publicity for the restaurant.
- Another equally interesting strategy was implemented by a cleaning products brand that launched a promotional campaign in several restaurants in Madrid, asking customers the following question when adding up: What do you prefer, pay the bill or do the dishes? She was able to film several videos showing customers who had actually chosen to put on the washing-up gloves.
Make paying the bill a memorable one for your customers! By applying some of these strategies, we are confident that you will be able to set yourself apart from the competition, retain customers and increase your revenue. Are you ready to turn the most thankless moment of your dining experiences into a restaurant marketing opportunity?