Move Beyond Couponing to Build Restaurant Sales

Restaurants rely heavily on couponing to drive traffic and build sales. Couponing and other short-term, discount-driven tactics do get people through the door, but they don't necessarily generate the profits and same-store sales increases that lead to long-term growth. Here's why:

  • Coupons are expensive, whether you send your own paper or mobile coupons or use an aggregator like Groupon or GrubHub.

  • Redemption rates have fallen over the years and now hover around 1 percent to 3 percent.

  • Coupons focus attention exclusively on price and make it hard for restaurants to promote more profitable menu items.

Couponing will always have a place in restaurant and hospitality marketing and advertising, especially for franchise owners and companies with multiple brands and locations.

But, in order to build traffic and sales, better and more focused advertising strategies in print, digital display, email and search offer a longer-term and more profitable path to growth.

That raises an important question: How do you attribute sales from an ad campaign if you can't tie it to a coupon?

Easy – by using call tracking to measure where customers are seeing your ads and which ads are most likely to stimulate customer actions, such as calling for single or group reservations.

Leveraging the data generated by call tracking will help you attribute traffic, sales and profit more accurately. This helps you not just spend your ad dollars more effectively but also create more effective campaigns.

How call tracking works to boost sales

Many diners interact with restaurants digitally these days, whether through the restaurant's own website or email, a mobile app like Foursquare or Yelp, or service sites like Open Table, Groupon or GrubHub.

But, the telephone is still the way many prefer to seal the deal, whether they want to make reservations, check on serving hours or ask detailed questions about organic or gluten-free ingredients.

Call tracking generates data you can analyze several different ways. Here are two popular uses:

1. Determine which ad venues – print and digital display, email, out of home, search and social – drive the most phone calls. With search ads, for example, call tracking combined with web analytics tracks which keywords lead directly to phone calls.

(Tip: Other call-tracking services require you to add JavaScript or other coding language to your websites. UPTRACS' Cloud Hosting feature allows sites to track actions without adding any code. That makes getting started much simpler.)

2. Measure performance for a single campaign, especially one that runs in an offline or out-of-home medium (TV/radio broadcasts, billboards, register receipts, etc.) using a dedicated phone number.

Call tracking for franchisees and multiple-location owners

Running a restaurant with more than one location is a complex operation, whether you operate several franchises or own a company with several restaurant brands in multiple neighborhoods, cities or states.

Advertising to build business at these operations is definitely not a one-size-fits-all deal. Campaigns that drive people in at one location barely move the needle at another.

Measuring foot traffic is one metric but another, and arguably more valuable, is knowing which campaigns drive more sales at specific locations, especially higher-margin and more profitable sales,

Call tracking allows you to tie campaign performance at the store level. As UPTRACS configures it, you can also associate each inbound phone call that responds to a campaign-specific number with visits and spending.

You could do all that manually with a single location, but only call tracking through UPTRACS puts all of that information into a single dashboard.

Want to learn more about call tracking and how easily you can set it up through UPTRACS to drive more sales at less cost to your bottom line? We're happy to arrange a no-obligation demo and conversation. Start your free trial or give us a call at 855-287-8722, we're happy to help.