The Dotters don’t only like digital marketing, data and fashion. We’re also real foodies: having dinner at a cosy restaurant, trying some new delicious food or enjoying a good glass of wine or a surprising mocktail, we won’t say no to that. 

Unfortunately, we can only dream of this today because of that one virus. On top of that, it is obvious that the food & beverage industry will change in the upcoming period. And how do we translate this into the marketing landscape? The Dotters are happy to give you an update!

Just get it delivered

As an alternative to going out for dinner, we have ordered a lot of our dinners online in recent months. A whopping 88% ordered their meals online; post-covid this was only 69%. A central principle here is convenience. We want to order our meal easily and quickly, anywhere and at any time. In this context, the role of Artificial Intelligence will only increase in the future. Through these systems, food delivery apps will be able to perfectly predict which meal you feel like having, taking into account your personal taste, but also any dietary plans. Think of intermittent fasting or 1 cheat meal a week, these are all elements that the system will incorporate and based on these preferences will make you a suitable proposal.

Nothing beats a night out 

The ease of getting your meal delivered at your doorstep does not take away the fact that going to a restaurant still has the upper hand. And the most important factor here is experience! Consumers want to go out to eat and, in addition to enjoying a tasty meal, also experience a fun evening: conviviality and uniqueness are key here. Next to this, citing elements such as safety & precautions will also be a continuing trend. 

Show them what they want

Personalization & engagement is and remains key. It starts with reaching the right consumer and enticing them to book a table or order one of your delicious dishes online. An omnichannel strategy is key here: communicate 360° and tell a clear story. In the context of digital channels, Instagram is the number-one channel, especially in the form of videos. Also place particular emphasis on novelties: new branches, modified menu items, etc. The variety of new content remains the trigger for consumers to view, like, bookmark or share your posts. 

Other ways to achieve this level of engagement is through email marketing and/or loyalty programs. Through personalized emails, you as a brand can express your gratitude to the customer and motivate them to pay a visit again or place an order. Previous research has shown that welcome emails, personalized discount mails or online order-follow up mails lead to the best results. If you want to go one step further, you can switch to a branded application, which will be central to your loyalty program. In this way, you can motivate consumers to come back more often to order and also increase their average order value. 

A dish for everyone

Besides the experience over convenience for restaurants & the continuing habit of online food ordering, the introduction of ghost kitchens will also be central in 2021. Ghost kitchens or dark kitchens are restaurants where customers can only order meals online but do not have a real physical restaurant. In China ghost kitchens are already a well-known principle (Meituan Dianping), in Flanders, this is still a fairly new phenomenon. One of the best known Flemish ghost kitchens is Casper, with branches in Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Brussels. Besides the fact that ghost kitchens have many advantages over other delivery restaurants, such as lower rent, lower operating costs and immense flexibility in terms of menu items, a well-thought-out digital strategy is central here. This is often the only way for them to connect with consumers. Here, it is important to emphasize the various benefits, rather than point out the principle of a ghost kitchen. 

Would you like to learn more about digital marketing within the food & beverage industry? Or could you use some help with this? Don’t hesitate and contact the dotters!

This post is also available in: Dutch