Restaurants in the digital age have been careening toward automation, and only more rapidly in the wake of Covid-19. From remote ordering and delivery apps, customers are quickly growing accustomed to interacting with computers to take their orders and receive their food. As “AI” quickly develops and infiltrates everyday life, there are many more automation opportunities for restaurants struggling to keep up with labor shortages and regulations.

Many businesses, and especially restaurants, are turning to automation for marketing. Consumers are easily accepting this information sharing into their lives and it makes it easier for restaurants to reach the correct audience for new menu items and deals. This targeted marketing can increase brand awareness, customer loyalty—and profit margins.

“One of the biggest opportunities for automation in the industry is marketing. Several digital marketing platforms and other tech vendors are working with AI and adding automated SMS and email features left and right in an attempt to take one less task off a busy operators plate, like BentoBox, which just launched an all-in-one restaurant commerce and marketing platform that, among other things, automates marketing messages to customers,” Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) recently posted.

BentoBox is “a new commerce engine that brings together and adds onto the technology vendors abilities, by adding features like diner data management, menu management, loyalty, and a marketing center that includes capabilities to automatically send SMS and email marketing messages to customers,” NRN explains, though BentoBox CEO Krystle Mobayeni says it isn’t completely AI-driven. 

The platform creates an ideal balance between automation and curation for restauranteurs and owner-operators who don’t have the hours or the experience to manage social media and marketing on top of operations. Operators are not copywriters, and they dont have all full-time marketing people on staff,” Mobayeni said. These automated SMS and email campaigns allow restaurants to keep in touch with their guests outside of the dining room, and doing that in an automated way, based on different audiences or different triggers or different behaviors, lets restaurants just set it and forget it.” This is a useful approach for established restaurants still learning to navigate an industry that is rapidly changing after a pandemic alongside a generational shift in their target markets. 

It’s like another concept, Aro. “Our goal was to develop a platform that could help restaurants better understand their target demographics and tailor their marketing efforts to more effectively engage with those audiences resulting in more traffic and higher conversions,” says Sebastian Brunet, CTO and cofounder of Aro. NRN explains that Aro “claims to add an additional layer of personalization to automated and AI-driven marketing campaigns, as more and more customers demand customized experiences in the post-COVID era.”

Richard Weil, owner and principal of National Restaurant Consultants, says, “While marketing is a crucial part of success in your restaurant business, it can’t—and shouldn’t—consume all of your time. National Restaurant Consultant experts can guide you and provide deeper understanding of techniques and services that provide impeccable marketing resources without being time consuming or confusing.” 

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