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QSR: driving diners into physical restaurants is still on the menu

The Drum 26 May 2020 10:00
By James Rogers-26 May 2020 11:00am

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The quick-service restaurant industry has changed significantly over the last few years. The way customers interact with restaurant brands has evolved to reflect increasingly busy lifestyles, a search for instant gratification and the wish to combine dining out with the comfort of home.

Many brands have had to rethink their customer experience to actively engage with diners online, while also attracting them to physical dining spots. From equipping physical restaurants with tech like tablets and touchscreens to turning to off-premises business with food delivery apps like Foodpanda or Grain, playing on all fronts is the new normal.

Why should you focus on driving customers to your physical restaurants?

Changing digital advertising tactics from a branding focus to a drive-to-store campaign is a sensible solution. Drive-to-store is any form of advertising with the direct intention of increasing foot traffic to physical store locations. Leveraging drive-to-store doesn’t mean forgetting about online delivery services – far from it. It simply means developing a marketing strategy that focuses on ad spent that drives visits to restaurant locations first and foremost.

Singapore has a growing drive-to-store market – predicted to amount to 67% of all local retail advertising spend by 2023. What’s more, restaurants will overtake cosmetics and beauty as the leading drive-to-store retail industry with 27% of ad spend – nearly SG$130 million – by 2023 according to an IHS study. This is no small feat considering the size of the beauty industry in Asia.

Knowing this exact number of incremental visits is a decisive argument in favour of drive-to-store for restaurant brands. It represents a direct return on their ad spend, and is an effective way for them to measure the success of their campaign.

Although Singapore is traditionally a strong TV ad market, retailers have expressed a preference towards digital media, which is set to outpace it to represent 58% of the drive-to-store market by 2023. This is because digital can measure both overall visits and incremental visits, giving brands a detailed view of the performance of their ad spend. Mobile will take the lead as the most effective drive-to-store channel to reach 14% by 2023. Combined, TV and Digital will take an 80% share of this market by 2023 according to IHS Markit.

QSR brands' number one priority is to drive customers to their restaurants. The improved quality of customer data and insights provided by drive-to-store is a capital argument in its favour for brands looking to get ahead. Leveraging mobile has become a key strategy to engage with customers easily and drive incremental store visits all the while hitting measurable targets like increased visits and sales. While quick-service restaurants might be ramping up their digital branding and performance strategies, their priority remains driving customers to their restaurants.

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IHS MarkitSingapore
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