There are so many restaurants these days and no two are alike. The question is, when someone calls your place of business, how do you differentiate yourself from all of the others? Your on hold message can be an effective tool on many levels. It can be used to not only convey information, but also to generate a “taste” for your food and atmosphere – making a connection that helps your callers make a decision.
“Food establishments frequently need to attend to both customers and callers during high volume times; so, chances are, most callers will be put on hold,” says Jim Mathis, President of On Hold Marketing and Communications. “You couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to tempt those potential customers with details about your fabulous food, first-rate service and unique ambiance.”
In the restaurant business, in particular, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Make sure you choose a “persona” and musical background that fits. For instance, if you are a sports bar, you may want to select an upbeat tone for your voice talent and stimulating music to support it. You callers will know they are in for an energizing experience. On the other hand, if you are a Chef-driven restaurant with a reputation for high end cuisine, fine wines and elegant atmosphere, your callers should hear that in your voice and music selections.
“The on hold messages we provide for Smith & Wollensky or The Capital Grille are markedly different from our productions for Uno Chicago Grill or Bareburger. Mathis notes. “But all successfully capture the “persona” of the respective establishments and satisfy the marketing goals.”
It’s important to emphasize any convenience or benefit that will make your establishment more appealing. What features define your restaurant? Are there vegetarian or vegan options on your menu. Do you offer take-out, free delivery, online ordering or coupons and specials? How about live entertainment or large-screen TVs? Do you have a website you can direct callers to where they can view menus, make reservations and follow you on Facebook?
From deli counters to private dining rooms, catering is a profitable part of food service industry. Tell callers on hold what you have to offer in terms of menu selection, room size, event planning services or delivery options. Are corporate accounts available? Do you have a program that rewards frequent customers?
“When someone is planning a personal, holiday or business event, they are obligated to satisfy a lot of people,” Mathis points out. “They need to trust that the food will be great, the service top-notch and the venue appropriate. Let callers hear that in your message. Let them know that you will make their event unique, memorable and stress-free.”
Seasons change and so should your on hold message. Plan ahead for the special days that are important to your business, such as Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day or the winter holidays. Be sure to update your message in plenty of time for callers to make reservations.
“It’s the early bird that gets the reservation in this case,” says Mathis. “Updating your on hold message to target these marketing opportunities is smart and simple.”