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4 ways TV gets diners in the door

customers watching TV at bar

Customer traffic is among the biggest problems in today’s restaurant environment. In the face of the competition to bring guests in the door, operators are challenged with setting themselves apart and providing an experience that’s often about more than just the food.

Television can offer that added level of entertainment. More than half of diners (53%) say that the availability of TV programming at a restaurant positively impacts their experience, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by Technomic, in partnership with DIRECTV. But winning with guests goes beyond simply flipping on the tube. Certain marketing tactics and promotions—in addition to what’s playing on the screen—can increase the likelihood of customers choosing one restaurant over another.

Convenience benefits

The option to be served is a leading reason why many diners say they go to restaurants to watch TV rather than watch at home. Plus, restaurants can accommodate groups and handle the clean-up.

In addition to these convenience benefits, guests want to know they’ll be taken care of when they settle into a TV-watching experience at a restaurant. When asked about the ideal environment for such an occasion, nearly half of consumers said that comfort is a top priority—and a quarter are likely to pick a restaurant when the marketing around its TV entertainment emphasizes the comfortable environment. Another 12% respond to messaging about a restaurant’s friendly staff

Good value

Beyond a feel-good experience, guests are looking for a good value from restaurants that provide TV entertainment. According to Technomic, messaging that emphasizes food or drink specials that go along with specific programming is likely to persuade three in 10 guests to choose a particular restaurant over another for a TV-watching occasion. That percentage jumps to 37% for diners ages 25-34 and remains above average for 35-54 year olds. Hispanic diners, too, are especially likely to visit a restaurant for deals that go along with its TV programming.

Tech talk

What’s less likely to draw in guests? Marketing around a restaurant’s overall modern, high-tech environment, respondents say. At this point, HDTVs have become somewhat of an expectation, and guests are less persuaded by mentions of a tech-forward atmosphere overall. That is, unless an operator is targeting younger guests: Nearly a quarter of consumers under 24 years old say they might be influenced by mention of superior technologies such as larger screens and sound systems. Higher-income customers, those with an average income of over $150,000, also are more likely to be attracted by specfic technologies.


Finally, messaging that touts a family-friendly TV-watching environment doesn’t resonate with a large crowd, attracting just 16%—not surprising, as it only applies to diners with kids. However, if millennials (many of whom are parents of young children) are a restaurant’s prime demographic, family-friendly programming may be something to consider. A quarter of the 25-34 year old demographic say they’d be persuaded by a marketing message that promotes a family-friendly spot to watch TV.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠

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