As we love to say at Chatfuel, there’s virtually no type of B2C business that can’t benefit from the diverse functionalities of Facebook chatbots. Take the restaurant industry, for example. From fast-food spots to fine-dining locations, any business that serves food can get great rewards from a bot.
How Facebook chatbots can help restaurants
Of course, the goal of all restaurants is to provide delicious food and warm hospitality to customers. That’s why any tool to help streamline other, secondary processes can completely change the game! Messenger bots do exactly this. They can take over a number of time-consuming tasks, allowing your business to focus on what it does best—offering great food and great service.
An easy-to-build chatbot can have a huge impact on any restaurant business. They can help increase the numbers of reservations and orders, attract more guests, and build loyalty among existing customers, just to name a few. Plus, since chatbots are an exciting and engaging new type of technology, using one for your restaurant can help you attract a younger audience, too.
How to improve customer service and boost restaurant sales with a bot
The customer always comes first in the restaurant business, and a bot can help ensure the quality of their experience. The better their experience, the more you’ll see your sales increase as they come back again and again and tell their friends. A restaurant bot can:
- Provide 24/7 assistance. A bot can answer user FAQs at any time of day or night. Your team will save time previously spent answering the same questions again and again, and your customers will be impressed that they can get an immediate response 24/7. You can set your bot to respond to all kinds of common inquiries, such as questions about hours, location and directions, kids menus, specials, and special-diet options, for example.
- Take reservations. On a busy Friday or Saturday night, it’s likely that one or more of your staff members spends most of their time answering the phone to take reservations. The first benefit of using a bot to take reservations instead is that you’ve now freed up that employee’s time. The second is that it’s easier for the customer, too. They can view available times and book their reservation instantly from the Messenger app at any time of day or night, without having to look up your number and wait on hold.
- Accept online orders. A chatbot in the restaurant industry can even accept to-go food orders from customers. There’s no need for them to download a separate app or create an account on your website; they can place their order right within Messenger. Plus, if you get a developer to help integrate your POS with some special code, you can even allow the user to pay for their food within the same app. This functionality can help you increase sales because customers will appreciate how easy it is ordering from you.
How to use a bot to bring diners back to your restaurant
After a diner has enjoyed their dessert and left your restaurant, their customer journey isn’t over! With a bot, you can entice them to revisit your venue in a number of different ways. A restaurant bot can:
- Send personalized promotions. Another especially useful feature of chatbots is that they gather information on users who interact with them, meaning they can function as a sort of mini-CRM. As a result, you can not only send coupons and promotions to your bot’s users, but you can make them personalized. If a user asked your bot about hours for your newest location, for example, you can send them deals and news that pertain to that location only in the future. If a user asked about your wine selection, your bot can notify them about an upcoming tasting event, or weeknights where you waive corkage fees.
- Improve your online reputation. The modern restaurant diner depends heavily on online reviews when choosing a new place to eat. If you’re already providing great food and service, the only missing piece to improving your online ratings is simply to get customers to leave reviews. It’s something a restaurant chatbot can easily facilitate: It can ask customers who made a reservation or put in an order with your bot to rate their experience on review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor.
- Promote your loyalty program. If customers aren’t aware of your loyalty program or how it works, you’re missing a great opportunity for repeat business. With a chatbot, you can send all these details to users via Messenger. Your bot can help them sign up for the program and view the rewards they’ve accumulated. It can even remind them when they have unclaimed rewards, and encourage another visit to come in and use them.
Tips for creating an effective restaurant chatbot
- Choose the right persona for your bot. Your bot may well be a user’s first interaction with your restaurant. Make sure its communication style mirrors the atmosphere. The bot for a casual fast-food joint may crack jokes and use emoji. The bot for an upscale steakhouse, however, would likely be more formal and sophisticated. Consider how you would want employees to portray your business and interact with customers, then build your bot to behave similarly.
- Keep human agents in the mix. It’s true that one of the benefits of chatbots is that they free up the time of human employees. They can answer FAQs and take reservations or online orders without the need for human interference—but you should still offer the option. Make sure that, if a customer asks a question your bot isn’t equipped to answer, a human agent will step in and address the inquiry in a timely manner.
- Get the word out about your bot. Even the most expertly designed bot won’t produce results if it has no users to engage with! Once you create your bot, tell people about it. Notify your email list or make an announcement on social media to let people know that there’s a new way to get information about your restaurant, make reservations, and place orders. If you really want to drive traffic to your bot, you can also consider connecting it to your Facebook ads.
Why use Chatfuel to build your restaurant bot
With the Chatfuel platform, you can build an impactful, fully functioning bot yourself—no special skills or coding knowledge required! We designed our platform to be easy to use, even for those who have no previous experience with chatbots.
Check out the free templates we’ve designed specifically for restaurant bots. Plus, if your restaurant is a franchise or has multiple locations, you’ll also want to make use of our Synced Cloning feature. If you want to make a change that affects the bots for all your locations, this feature allows you to simply adjust the master bot and apply the changes to all, instead of updating each one manually. This feature will save you lots of time, and allow you to keep a consistent flow for all your bots.
Start building a Facebook bot for your restaurant business
If you’re ready to boost sales, improve customer service, and bring in more diners to your restaurant, a chatbot is the tool for you. Watch our intro video to help you get started with the Chatfuel bot-building platform. It’s free and easy to use—no coding skills required!
It’s the perfect time to get started building a chatbot to boost your restaurant business. Bot appétit!