The digital realm is a crucial one for restaurants, new data proves. According to a recent study from market research firm NPD Group, online marketing drives an incredible amount of business to restaurants.
Online marketing, typically delivered via a website or smartphone application, is the force behind an astonishing 33% of first-time restaurant visits in Canada, NPD reveals. This triples the number of new visits resulting from other forms of marketing (10%). Across establishments, quick-service restaurants benefit from online marketing most—it drives an insane 60% of their first-time business.
The study shows that Canadians are most influenced by applications that feature a deal or special offer (33%), a recommendation or review (30%) or a loyalty program (19%). Restaurant locator applications are also resonating with consumers and have influenced the dining choices of 17% of Canadians.
“With Canada coming out of recession and consumers once again willing to spend at restaurants, operators are taking advantage of online marketing to successfully ramp up their businesses and improve their visibility,” said Robert Carter, executive director of Foodservice at The NPD Group. “Complementing this is the country’s collective reliance on word-of-mouth promotion, which becomes progressively habitual as the world of social media evolves.”
Though online marketing is an effective approach for Canadian establishments hoping to attract new customers, only 3% of overall visits and 4% of spend are influenced by it.
“There is an opportunity for Canadian restaurateurs to grow their businesses and online marketing, a very affordable method of promotion, should remain part of this plan,” continued Carter. “Since smartphone applications are becoming a fundamental tool for consumers and the web remains a leading resource, marketing efforts in these spaces that will stimulate more than an initial trial should be a point of focus.”
The influence of online marketing on restaurant demand is expected to increase in Canada. As the existing array of social media platforms becomes increasingly sophisticated and new ones are introduced to the market, NPD says that online marketing will need to be a central element in an overarching strategy for businesses to be successful in this industry.