food delivery restaurant marketing

Promote Your Restaurant’s Virtual Brand with Traditional Advertising

With the onset of Covid-19 drastically changing the landscape of the restaurant business, to survive restaurants have had to beef up their curb-side pickup and delivery offerings. As a result, it became necessary to develop relationships with third party deliver platforms such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. These delivery apps can successfully open up your restaurant’s offerings to a large audience and help drive consistent revenue, but their double-digit commissions can cut into your bottom line.

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The Virtual Restaurant Brand

marketing for restaurant food delivery apps

To open up their restaurant’s offering to new audiences, many ambitious restaurants have created virtual brands on third party delivery platforms. These virtual brands promote items that are already featured on the restaurant’s existing menu but are branded under a new virtual entity that is more focused on a specific market segment.

Some of the more high-profile examples of these virtual brands offered on delivery apps are “Cosmic Wings”, a virtual brand launched by Applebees to focus on it’s wings menu. Denny’s has also launched the virtual brands “The Burger Den” and “The Melt Down. “Just Wings” is the virtual brand launched by Chilis and is anticipated to bring in $150 million in annual sales.  Also there are the virtual brands launched by Smokey bones called “The Wing Experience” and “The Burger Experience”.

All of these brands have had a high level of success and have increased each restaurants revenue on the food delivery platforms. Most importantly, each one of these virtual brands were created to focus on a particular area that the restaurants already had a high level of culinary success, so speed to market was relatively quick and smooth. The end result is that through these virtual brands, brick and mortar restaurants are finding ways to attract new customers to try their existing menu items, but under a new brand that tightly focuses on particular food channels.

The Challenge of Marketing a Virtual Restaurant Brand

marketing for restaurant delivery apps

One of the biggest challenges to overcome when launching a virtual brand on a restaurant delivery platform is that your brand’s exposure is greatly dependent on how it is featured on the delivery app. Bringing awareness to your brand can take a significant investment. A restaurant has to consider how they can best leverage the third-party marketing space and to drive business and create a great user experience.

Though your restaurants marketing on third-party apps is limited to food photography, menu descriptions, and pricing and deal information, apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash to offer restaurant marketers access to consumer data that they don’t otherwise have. Taking advantage of this valuable data is key, as it provides great intel on your delivery customers that you can leverage.

A great tactic for taking advantage of this data to use traditional marketing tactics such as a restaurant direct mail promotion that is mailed within the deliver radius. The mail piece can provide valuable exposure and awareness for your virtual brand. Included in the direct mail piece could be messaging about your core offerings and a call-to-action that drives customers to your order. Including a QR code will enable the customer to go directly to your brand’s page on the delivery app is also great to include.

Direct Mail Postcards have always been one of the best restaurant marketing tools to drive in new business, create awareness, and increase profits. Promoting virtual brands that expand your restaurant’s market share on third-party delivery apps is just another example of how this time-tested traditional marketing tactic can help your restaurant business grow.

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