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Build a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy For Your Restaurant

Cory Plachy | May 7, 2024 |

Build a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy For Your Restaurant

Whether it was passed down to you or you're just starting out, the survival of your restaurant depends on filling those empty seats and securing that all-important monthly profit. Living in an age of technological innovation and shifting customer behaviors, restaurants must move with the times to stand out and reach out to new markets.

From online ordering platforms to food subscription services, direct consumer strategy is transforming the global restaurant industry by giving restaurants the freedom to sell directly to new customers with ease and finesse.

With more than half of the global population online, digital consumers crave a personalized experience to keep them coming back for more. Which is why savvy restaurant owners are taking their direct consumer strategy to the next level by incorporating modern cross-channel marketing strategies into the mix. Here’s how they’re doing it.

Direct consumer strategy | What is cross-channel marketing?

First things first, it's important to understand the difference between multichannel marketing and cross-channel marketing business models. Multichannel marketing uses multiple digital channels of communication to interact with potential customers that operate independently of each other. Sharing various similarities, cross-channel marketing is different as it aims to connect and integrate different online channels for a more unified customer experience.

D2C Companies | What is an example of cross-channel marketing for restaurants?

A typical example of multichannel marketing strategy for restaurants is building separate email lists for receiving updates and promotions for each individual channel. Whereas cross-channel marketing uses targeted emails based on customer preferences and historical dining history, along with links to their restaurant's social media profiles and website to boost brand engagement even further.

With consumer demand steadily increasing, collaboration and consistency are crucial elements to achieve an effective direct consumer strategy.

Offering a seamless customer journey and higher ROI, done right, cross-channel marketing campaigns can forge stronger customer relationships to improve customer engagement and brand loyalty too. Coupled with innovative technology like AI appointment setting, restaurants can prioritize sales and customer service by turning after-hours calls and texts into sales opportunities.

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay

10 ways to cook up an appetizing cross-channel marketing strategy for your restaurant

Whether you're looking for more phone calls or more website visits, here are ten top tips to build an effective cross-channel marketing strategy and take your restaurant’s direct consumer strategy up a notch.

  1. 1. Get to know your audience

No matter the industry, it's important to remember that you can't appeal to everyone - and restaurants are no different. Before you can cater to your target market, take the time to understand your target audience. Ask yourself:

    • Who are your ideal customers?
    • What are their menu preferences, behaviors, demographics (age, gender, location), and psychographics (lifestyle, interests, values)?

Once you have this info, you can tailor your messages effectively. Centralizing your customer data and creating customer segments, like age and location, will help identify patterns and customer behavior trends too.

  1. 2. Set clear goals

What do you want to achieve with your cross-channel marketing strategy? Set SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

 Goals restaurants tend to focus their energies on include:

    • Creating buyer personas.
    • Increasing foot traffic.
    • Boosting online orders.

  1. 3. Identify key channels

As well as your website and social media, online review sites, email marketing, and SMS and instant messaging are all effective cross-marketing channels to consider. Weigh-up the marketing channels available and carefully evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, e.g. conversion rates.

For example, Baby Boomers prefer direct phone calls whereas Millennials and Gen-Z prioritize mobile messaging platforms to stay connected. Once you have this key age-related data, you can use this information to hone-in on key channels. A proven technique for effective competitor analysis, social listening can also be used to create juicy buyer personas too.

Free to use image sourced from Pexels

  1. 4. Create consistent branding

From large consumer brands to small restaurant start-ups, reinforce your restaurant's identity and messaging by sticking to the same logo, color scheme, tone of voice, and imagery across all channels. This will help tell your story and ensure a cohesive brand experience throughout. Consistent aesthetics also foster a sense of security that can boost trust and customer loyalty too.

It is essential to understand ‘what is customer experience?’ within this context. It encompasses every interaction a customer has with your brand, ensuring that each touchpoint is positive, memorable, and consistent. This includes everything from the initial engagement to post-purchase support. 

Essentially allowing internal staff more time to focus on the customer experience, restaurant call centers are becoming increasingly popular for building brand awareness too. But be wary! Cutting costs with “free” call center software might seem like an economical decision for your restaurant but may end up costing more in the long run. Do your research thoroughly and ask questions like is VICIdial free? How reliable is the technology?


  1. 5. Develop compelling content

What is customer experience? Incorporating this aspect ensures that every interaction a customer has with your brand is positive, memorable, and consistent across all touchpoints. It encompasses every aspect of the customer's journey, from initial engagement to post-purchase support. By prioritizing customer experience, restaurants can build stronger connections with their audience and foster long-term loyalty.

Now that you know your audience, it's time to engage them in something they love to really get them talking. Engaging content is the driving force behind your direct consumer strategy, especially in the restaurant industry.

Incorporating dropshipping for merchandise or specialty ingredients showcased in your content can not only enhance your revenue streams but also provide customers with unique offerings that they'll be excited to engage with.

Ideas to get you started include:

    • Mouth-watering imagery of your food.
    • Behind-the-scenes glimpses.
    • Customer feedback & testimonials.
    • Discounts and promotions.
    • POS loyalty programs.

Don't forget, more than half of consumers prefer video marketing over any other form of content - with 50% of TikTok users buying something after watching a TikTok Live.

  1. 6. Optimize your website

The best restaurants are accessible, easy to find, and deliver a personalized and memorable shopping experience to each potential customer. The same goes for your website. To stand out, it needs to be mobile friendly, easy to navigate, and designed with search engine optimization in mind (SEO).

Free to use image sourced from Pixabay

Getting your restaurant domain name right is also a key piece in the cross-channel marketing puzzle. For example, .io domains have become popular with the restaurant tech industry and restaurant tech startups. Helping build stronger brand identities, a domain name that reflects your restaurant brand can also improve trust and reliability in your establishment. So, it's worth investigating what does .io mean with OnlyDomains too.

  1. 7. Harness the power of social media

From exploring new menu options to even ordering directly through social media, with 62% of the global population using social media (2024), a restaurant without a social presence is like an establishment without serving staff. Your team is on hand to answer any queries, upsell offers, and essentially make your customers feel welcome - and your social channel marketing should follow suit.

As of 2024, the top 5 social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly active users are:

  • Facebook (3.049 billion)
  • YouTube (2.49 billion)
  • WhatsApp (2 billion)
  • Instagram (2 billion)
  • TikTok (1.56 billion)

Sharing engaging content regularly, interacting with followers, target advertising, and encouraging user-generated content can all help to amplify your reach further.

8. Implement email marketing

The average email open rate for restaurants stands at 40%. So, make the most of your first-party data by building a list of loyal customers and prospects and incorporate email marketing into your direct consumer strategy to drive cross-channel marketing results even further.

You can also utilize fundraising software to streamline donation campaigns or community involvement initiatives, leveraging your email campaigns to not only promote your restaurant but also support causes important to your audience. 

Whether it's newsletter updates or restaurant promotions, personalizing your email campaigns will help take your customer engagement rates to the next level. Email marketing platforms can be utilized here to build segments, automatically send, and/or schedule marketing emails with ease. Have a look at the best affiliate marketing programs for further information on effective marketing platform ideas.

Screenshot sourced from Mailchimp

9. Monitor and measure results

Tracking the performance of your cross-channel marketing efforts will help refine your direct to consumer strategy and optimize future campaigns.

Important first-party data and metrics to keep an eye on include:

    • Customer engagement and satisfaction.
    • Website traffic.
    • Conversion rates.
    • Menu item performance.
    • Customer lifetime value.

Additionally, consider creating and regularly updating knowledge base articles to provide your team with valuable resources for understanding customer engagement trends, optimizing menu item performance, and enhancing overall customer satisfaction.

10. Stay flexible and adapt

The digital landscape is constantly changing, and the restaurant industry is no different. Remain competitive by staying on top of emerging trends, consumer preferences, and industry developments, and always be prepared to adapt your cross-channel marketing strategy appropriately.

Proactive ways to stay up to date with new restaurant trends and technology include:


By combining these steps and prioritizing customer feedback and insights to refine your approach, building a successful cross-channel marketing strategy that fuels business growth for your restaurant should be a piece of cake!

Author Bio

Cory Plachy - Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications

Cory Plachy is the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Convoso, the leading contact center software for powering sales and lead generation. As an adaptable and naturally curious Marketing Communications Manager, Cory channels years of content creation, marketing and sales experience into the world of SaaS communication. Cory has written for other domains such as PushFar and Divante. Here is her LinkedIn.