How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots

Restaurant owners and managers: What are your main business objectives? (Or, for agencies, what are the key goals of your restaurant clients?) If they include any of the following:

  • Get more patrons in the door
  • Keep people coming back
  • Create a seamless, enjoyable customer experience
  • Advertise promotions more widely
  • Gather leads for catering and events

…it’s time you looked into Messenger chatbots. Bots can help you do all of the above on autopilot. They provide a personalized, one-on-one chat experience for past and potential patrons at scale, helping increase customer loyalty and revenue as a result.

Read on for quick-start tips on building a chatbot for a restaurant, bar, café, food truck, or food delivery service. Then, learn about top features and tools for using your bot to boost sales, and to provide a great prospect/patron experience.

Building a Messenger chatbot for a restaurant

Use Chatfuel to build your restaurant bot, and you’ll have access to two built-in tools that’ll make the process easier: templates and Synced Cloning.

🏎 Get started fast with templates

The quickest, easiest way to get your restaurant bot up and running is to use one of our plug-and-play templates. A template provides the framework for your chatbot. All you have to do is customize the information for your business, and you’ll be ready to launch! Head to your Chatfuel dashboard to check out all the templates we offer.

You could use Restaurant, Coffee Shop, or Food Truck, and maybe even incorporate elements from Loyalty Card, Birthday Greetings, or Booking Calendar, depending on your goals. (And if you sell merchandise, you’ll even find parts of our Shopify Ecommerce template useful!)

How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
Browse our free template library in the Chatfuel dashboard to find one that works for the goals of your unique business. Or, take elements and inspiration from several.

👬 Update bots for multiple locations with Synced Cloning

This Chatfuel Premium feature is a game-changer for restaurants that have multiple locations. Synced Cloning allows you to connect the bots for each branch together, so you can make changes in one that will reflect across the rest. For example, let’s say you’ve added a new item to your master menu. Instead of updating the chatbots for each of your restaurant locations manually, you can make the change in one bot and sync to all the others that are linked to it.

Attracting new patrons and gathering leads to boost revenue

Of course, all restaurant owners and managers aim to maintain a healthy revenue stream, and a Messenger bot can help with this. There are plenty of ways to bring new users to your bot, so you can then engage them with promotions and offers and encourage them to visit your location. Plus, a bot can also help you gather lead information for those interested in other services you may offer, like events and catering.

💬 Attract new patrons with the Acquire Users from Comments feature  

A coupon or offer is a great way to get new patrons for your restaurant—but how do you reach new people to distribute it? One great option is our Acquire Users from Comments feature. Set it to apply to a specific Facebook post on your page. Then, anyone who comments(orthose whose comment includes a keyword—your choice) will receive a message from your bot with the offer. Those people can now visit your restaurant and redeem it. Plus, you’ll be able to contact these users via bot with more offers in the future.

How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
Use our Acquire Users from Comments feature to have your bot automatically message those who comment on your posts.

📱 Reach new prospects on Facebook and Instagram

Chances are you’re already running ads for your restaurant, bar, café, or other food-service business on Facebook and/or Instagram. Once you build an effective Messenger bot with Chatfuel, you can design ads that will drive users to it. We recommend click-to-Messenger ads, which will appear on Facebook and send users to your bot in Messenger.

Or, if your primary audience is on Instagram, you can run ads there that do the same thing: direct users from Instagram to Messenger. And again, once they become subscribers of your bot, you can market to them more on this channel in the future.

👋 Reengage inactive users with sponsored messages

Want to get former patrons in the door again? Reengage inactive bot subscribers with new offers. Now, per Facebook’s Messenger policies, you can only send promotional content to users for free within 24 hours of their last interaction with your chatbot. So after that, you can pay to send a sponsored message to reengage inactive users—reopening that 24-hour contact window. You could send one announcing a new menu item, a new location, or a unique promotion, like a special Valentine’s Day dinner or a “kids eat free” deal.

👔 Generate and capture leads for catering or events

Does your restaurant offer other services, like event spaces or catering? You can have your bot capture lead information from users looking for more information on these topics. It can ask questions and accept user answers via the Save User Input plugin. You can even set it to automatically export all answers to a Google Sheet so you can stay organized. Once you have a lead’s information, you or your team can reach out personally to seal the deal.

Creating a great customer experience with your restaurant bot

Of course, you want customers to be satisfied in every interaction they have with your business—not just at the restaurant, but online too. You can use a chatbot to do this, making sure prospects and patrons have the information they need about your business at their fingertips. Plus, you can use a bot to personalize each interaction to help build trust, credibility, and positive customer relationships.

❓ Have your bot answer FAQs automatically

Did you know that a well-designed chatbot can answer up to 80% of routine questions? Create a bot that can answer FAQs about your restaurant, bar, coffee shop, food truck, or food-delivery business. It can do this based on pre-defined questions and answers, or using artificial intelligence (AI) to handle free-form inquiries.

Either way, it’ll allow prospects and patrons to get the details they need about your restaurant (hours, menus, address, etc.) on their own time, 24/7/365—and without any of your staff having to lift a finger. The easier and friendlier you make the process of learning about your food-industry business, the better the customer experience will be.

🌍 Make your bot multilingual

Is your restaurant visited by tourists, or other patrons who speak multiple languages? You can have your bot appear to users in their chosen language. It takes three steps to make your bot multilingual.

How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
You can set your bot to be available to users in multiple languages.

💁🏽‍♀️ Add an extra-personal touch with custom images

Sending a coupon, birthday discount, or some other kind of promotion to your subscribers? Set up your bot to automatically generate a personalized image for each one. This custom touch will catch the user’s eye, helping your business and your offer stand out. (After all, personalization is the marketing word of the year for 2020!).

How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
Have your bot automatically generate custom images like this one for promotions and offers.

Explore real restaurant bots that are powered by Chatfuel

  • Yumi Japanese and Cocktail Bar. This Japanese restaurant in Cyprus offers a discount to past and potential patrons on their birthday, which can only be redeemed if they make a reservation through the bot. If a user begins the reservation process but doesn’t finish, the bot will reach out once more within 24 hours to encourage them to  follow through. It’s a great way to build customer loyalty and promote more visits to the restaurant.
How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
  • UKB199. It’s a Korean-barbecue restaurant with multiple locations in the Philippines. Theirs is a great example of a bot that offers basic information like FAQs, the menu, location information, and standing promotions and offers.
How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
  • Panda Express Guatemala. This is the bot for the Guatemala locations of the restaurant Panda Express. Their bot is super informative, offering everything from menus and locations to details on how to order delivery, how to apply to work there, and even your Chinese horoscope.
How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots
  • Chess Taipei. This bar and restaurant in Taiwan has a bot that tells users about what they offer. It even provides a way for subscribers to book tables. The bot shares the restaurant’s phone number so users can call, or it’ll accept their name, date, and booking information and a human agent will reach out later to confirm.
How Restaurants Can Boost Business Using Chatbots

Build a chatbot for your restaurant business. Bot appétit! 🤖🍴

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. Sign up for Chatfuel for free today, or check out our Pro plan for supercharged features and functionalities. There’s no coding or previous experience required to build a bot with Chatfuel, so you can get started right away!
Looking for guidance? Take our free Udemy course to learn how to get started with our bot-building platform. Or, join our active Facebook community for advice and inspiration from other bot builders around the world.
It’s the perfect time to get started building a chatbot to boost your restaurant business. Bot appétit!

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