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5 ways restaurants can use technology to attract Hispanic consumers

woman cell phone restaurant technology

Whether running several franchise eateries or maintaining a local mom-and-pop location, all restaurant owners face two common challenges in keeping their businesses thriving: They must reach current customers in a way that builds loyalty, and they need to create a system that keeps new diners coming in for a trial.

When it comes to tapping into the booming Hispanic dining market, both of those goals can be satisfied with one tactic: Effective technology.

Recent research from Univision Communications, Inc. and Burke Inc. noted that Hispanics continue to be QSR’s best customer. For example, nearly 40 percent of Hispanic millennials—the heaviest QSR users among any ethnic group—dine out 10 or more times per month.

"If you'd like to attract this group, you need to understand these consumers better than your competition," says Peter Filiaci, vice president of strategy & insights for restaurants at Univision. "You need to know what drives their decisions, especially for trying a new restaurant. And you have to make sure you're engaging them across the media and content they love."

Hispanics are more engaged with technology than other groups, he adds. Reaching out to them through social media and apps can pay off in a major way through increased traffic and more trial. Here are five ways restaurants can use technology to drive Hispanic consumer visits:

1. Offer Wi-Fi

According to the new research, Wi-Fi was a major reason for restaurant choice among Hispanic customers (56% Hispanic vs. 29% non-Hispanic). Making sure you offer robust connections can be a smart investment, and operators should consider letting Hispanics know Wi-Fi is available in their marketing messages to these consumers.

2. Appeal to kids

More than other ethnic groups, Hispanics choose restaurants based on the level of family-friendly service and food offerings. Their restaurant choices are also more likely to be influenced by their children’s input. Offering more fun, kid-centered content on an app or online—for example, a game that offers prizes that can be redeemed in the restaurant—can help to win over those junior diners.

3. Use mobile coupons

Hispanics tend to use their mobile devices more frequently than other consumer segments, and offering mobile coupons may be a great way to get them through the door. According to Univision’s research, 57 percent of Hispanics said that receiving coupons on their phone would definitely or probably make them try a new QSR, compared with only 30 percent of non-Hispanics.

4. Offer social “check in” incentives

Hispanic customers are three times as likely as non-Hispanics to have used an app to “check in” to a restaurant. Operators should consider offering incentives for repeat visitors via those apps to build loyalty.

5. Develop full-function apps

Restaurants don't need to hand over all of their profits to an app developer or build the next Uber app, but they can often discover a good return on their spending from a restaurant-specific app, according to Jodi McInerney, senior vice president at Burke. "If you already have an app, keep developing it and adding functionality," she advises, noting that Hispanics tend to download these apps frequently. In particular, Hispanics are interested in apps that allow you to find locations and order food for pickup or delivery (55 percent of Hispanics vs. 25 percent of non-Hispanics).

Filiaci added that digital content doesn't necessarily need to be in Spanish—although that would be a nice next step—but it does need to be meaningful and useful in order to drive traffic. Meet Hispanic customers where they are in the online world, and you'll likely increase loyalty and trial as a result. 

This post is sponsored by Univision Communications, Inc.

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