Using Trends to Increase Restaurant Sales
Trends change daily, especially in the world of COVID-19. In addition to local and federal regulations, your customers have expectations when visiting your eatery. Do you know what they are? Is safety the top priority or convenience? By examining search trends, you can learn how to increase restaurant sales. In this article, we’ll show you how you can find what questions or thoughts are trending and how you can leverage this knowledge to increase customer satisfaction and revenues for your restaurant.
The Power of Trends and Data Analytics
Data analytics has become vital for any thriving business. Large corporations are willing to shell out top dollar for employees capable of manipulating data. Why are these insights so valuable?
Understanding consumer behavior can give your business a leg-up in almost every aspect of its operations. You can lower customer acquisition costs by creating highly-targeted marketing campaigns to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time. You can increase customer satisfaction by understanding the service and choices customers might prefer. The use cases for trends and data in your restaurant are endless. By applying this data to your business, you have an opportunity to learn how to increase restaurant sales.
Finding Google Search Trends
Trends have been around for quite some time. The top search engine debuted its’ popular Google Trends tool on May 11 in 2006. This easy-to-use tool has become a go-to instrument for marketers across the globe to identify what consumers are searching for at any given moment. Input the term for which you’d like to see search history, and you’ll be presented with the trend of that term across Google over time. Below is an example of my search for the query “restaurant takeout.”
You’ll notice a drastic spike in search volume throughout March, April, and May. This spike was due to the COVID-19 pandemic as customers searched for safer methods of getting their favorite foods, but the utility of this tool extends further. Below the search volume, you’ll also see “interest by sub-region,” “related topics,” and “related queries.”
These narrower searches can help you identify specific locations where your query might have elevated searches or other relevant searches. You’ll notice that the United States’ northeast regions had the most volume of searches as it was hit hardest by the pandemic.
In addition to analyzing a single trend, you can also compare search queries. In the example below, you’ll see the results when comparing “restaurant takeout” and “restaurant eat in.”
Notice the dramatic shift throughout the peak of the pandemic. Using Google trends is a great way to find new opportunities for your restaurant operations and marketing initiatives.
Finding Social Media Trends
Google Trends isn’t the only method of identifying trends, however. Today, social media plays a massive role in branding and marketing your business for growth. For example, to find trends on Twitter, you’ll want to navigate to the “Explore” section of the navigation. You can then select “Trending” to find the latest trends in your area and worldwide.
Like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram also use hashtags, making finding trends simple. By clicking on a hashtag within a post, you’ll discover all posts containing that hashtag. While there may not be an exact number associated with it, you should be able to identify which trends are more popular than others. Keep in mind that unlike Google Trends, social media trends will change more frequently. Social media a great way to promote your restaurant in the moment’s height, spurring demand for your top entrees.
Making Decisions With Trends
Once you’ve identified trends that might apply to your restaurant, you’ll want to ensure they are worthwhile. Will this research pay off for you? While there is no definitive way to know how long a trend might last, it’s up to your judgment to determine a trend’s longevity. Consider starting with small, easier to achieve trends and building out from there.
For example, in our analysis of the trend “restaurant takeout,” we notice a massive spike in traffic at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we might think this trend will be longer-lasting. That is why investing in off-premise restaurant technologies is critical to keep your operations running smoothly.
Using Trends to Increase Restaurant Sales — Conclusion
Trends come and go. You should ensure that your restaurant is keeping up so that you can maximize guest satisfaction. While there are many different ways to identify trends, utilizing Google Trends and social media hashtags are free and effective methods to stay up-to-date. It’s important to remember that some trends may not be permanent or appropriate for your brand, so you should always weigh the costs and benefits of making changes to your restaurants’ operations.
By utilizing Google search data and social media hashtags, you can find what items people are searching for and talking about the most. This knowledge gives you a leg up on the competition by driving traffic and informing your next steps on increasing your restaurant sales.
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About the Author
Forrest was the Digital Marketing Manager at QSR Automations, where he oversees all things in the digital realm. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s in Marketing. Forrest enjoys the challenges of the evolving digital landscape. In his free time, he has strong passions for both fitness and finance. You can find him running in the park or keeping up with the latest financial trends.
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