Woman eating from takeout container


• Deals are influential in bringing customers back for more.

• Customers tend to be impulsive when they are choosing a restaurant.

• Marketing strategies should take advantage of increasing guest demands for convenience and personalization.

It has been a long road for restaurants through 2020 and 2021. As eateries try to keep their collective heads above water, they are faced with wave after wave of change. Our new 2021 Restaurant Report shows that customer demands are changing, and restaurants can build loyalty with insightful marketing moves.

While dining plummeted in March and April of 2020, diners have steadily been returning to restaurant tables. As of October 2021, the number of American diners is back to levels reported in 2019.

Even though the numbers are hitting the same volume as pre-pandemic, the atmosphere of the restaurant setting has changed.

A good deal is hard to refuse

One thing that hasn’t changed is that many restaurant-goers love a good deal. According to Vericast’s 2021 Restaurant Report, 54% of potential guests are willing to try a new restaurant if they receive a coupon or discount. Additionally, 61% of respondents indicated that coupons, discounts or promotions are influential in their decision on where to order from. Forty-five percent have a more positive feeling toward restaurants that offer coupons or discounts.

Respite offers spark last-minute decisions

Many Americans in today’s world are caught up in managing their work-life balance. To reduce their workload, people frequently look for a place to eat out so they can take a break. This has led to many restaurant-goers making last-minute decisions for things like ordering pizza (69%).

Good marketing, pricing and quick service are all qualities that will help make your restaurant more appealing for impulsive decisions.

Mobile solutions provide convenience within reach

Loyalty program platforms, to-go ordering apps and other digital tools allow customers to access your restaurant on a whim. A smart digital tool will keep your brand icon right on their screen for repeated visual reminders. Relevant pop-up alerts can provide helpful reminders to customers to consider your spot for their next meal.

Connect all app offers to your site, since many people browse the internet to find deals for restaurants (46%). Forty-nine percent use their smartphone or mobile device to save on restaurant dining, and millennials are the generation most likely to download restaurant apps to receive coupons and discounts.

Multi-channel messaging offers easy access

Today’s customers are using apps, looking through print ads, watching social media and searching the internet to make choices on restaurant dining. Using a multi-channel strategy allows your restaurant to get in front of more customers to help increase impact and build authority. For example, nearly a third (32%) of customers go online to review the menu after seeing a restaurant print ad.

For more information on gaining loyal customers, download our 2021 Restaurant Report

Matthew Tilley is executive director of content marketing for Vericast and leads content marketing for the company. He has more than 20 years of experience in digital advertising and consumer promotions to develop, communicate, and distribute ideas to make modern marketers more effective.