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The restaurateur’s guide to the mobile galaxy

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The way we pay for food and beverages is changing. Many people don’t bring wallets out with them anymore. But they always bring their phones. Cafés and restaurants are adopting mobile payments. People are more and more comfortable with paying by mobile phones or even watches at the table or counter, with online ordering as well as paying on the go before visiting your place.

The Ultimate Question

What’s a mobile wallet? Yep, that’s the right question. The mobile wallet is an app that securely stores your payment details. Once people store information in the app, they can tap the payment terminal the same way they would do with a plastic card. The technology behind mobile payments is the one behind the contactless payments – the near field communication (NFC). Nevertheless beyond payments, the mobile wallet allows people to add, view, and manage other digital content such as boarding passes, customer cards, event tickets, discount coupons, and much more.

The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Mobile payments often go hand in hand with rewards programs. The secret of mobile marketing is actually to make connections with people where they spend their time. Cafés, restaurants, pubs and breweries, ice cream shops, why don’t you try to retain customers with a digital loyalty card for mobile wallets that grabs peoples’ attention? People are already there. Your competitors are not.

The paper punch card is an old fashioned loyalty tool still utilized in many places. However, I keep saying that you really can’t talk to a piece of paper. People rely heavily on their mobile phones and if small businesses want to reach them effectively and efficiently, this is the place to do so. Let’s take a digital punch card. It is a simple and speedy way to identify a person as a participant in your loyalty program and to get and redeem your loyalty points or rewards. People can view loyalty program details and their account current status on the go.

People can easily enroll in your program by adding your digital punch card into their mobile wallets such as Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Being your guests, they may earn various rewards with your digital stamp cards in their mobile wallets. People could earn dining vouchers by collecting digital stamps for every €100 or so they spend at your place. Or people could get rewarded with a complimentary drink for every 9 they have purchased before.

You might also want to distribute a digital discount coupon to all people who enrolled in your program from time to time. Now, a family looks to enjoy an evening out together this weekend. One of them already has your digital punch card. Suddenly, a push notification with your special offer pops up on his or her lock screen. The timing and convenience of this are exactly how loyalty programs should operate. No one needs to dig through emails. You can notify people in real time making the likelihood of redeeming that coupon much greater.

Communicate Well

Building a relationship with people takes time. Get to know them, listen, and take note of what they are telling you. And choose the best way to communicate with your customers. The more you talk to them, the more likely they will remember your business.

Got an event coming up or maybe running a weekly special at your place? You can broadcast on social media. You can send an email, make a phone call, or send a text message. However, I want to focus on another avenue you can use to tell that to people. The push notifications.

The push notifications pop up as banners on a lock screen of a mobile phone. They can only reach people who have added your digital punch card or your digital discount coupon into their mobile wallet. People love loyalty programs. And they belong to many. So talk to people to keep them coming back. Provide people with utility, benefit, or delight. Keep them aware of your content in their mobile wallets.

Also, location-based notifications can do a lot. They are extremely relevant delivering information in exactly the place and time your customer needs it. You can broadcast a notification when your customers are within a certain distance of your place to remind them about your digital coupon or loyalty points on your digital punch card. If you have last-minute deals, just alert your customers who are close enough. You can also get very creative here and run for instance a campaign targeting your customers at “wrong” places utilizing location-based notifications outside your competitors’ places across the town.


Ladislav Poledna inspires readers to “Become Digital” by publishing materials about digital marketing in his Prague Monitor column and aptly named blog. He has built a career around developing successful customer relationships for the past two decades. At present, Ladislav manages the Power Solutions division of a Fortune 1000 company in Central and Eastern Europe and also oversees operations of the producer’s regional office in Prague. Recently, he co-founded a B-to-B software service company making mobile marketing affordable and easy to use. Ladislav’s philanthropic contribution consists of a long-term relationship with a charity focused on funding dreams for people with muscular dystrophy.
Mobile phones are long becoming the main “screen” in peoples’ lives. Mobile marketing is no longer an innovation but a part of important decisions. Read articles on mobile marketing to get inspired on how to connect with people where they spend a lot of their time. Become Digital.

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