Project the ROI in Digital Knowledge Management for your Restaurant Brand

Restaurants can receive up to 10x more web traffic on maps, apps, directories, and voice assistants than on their own website. The challenge for a restaurant marketer is understanding how to invest in those channels and convert that into tangible returns. Optimizing these third-party channels for customer conversion is part of a Digital Knowledge Management strategy.

Digital Knowledge Management, at its core, means managing all of the public facts about a brand and its locations — everywhere they might appear online. This ranges from search engines like Google, to restaurant-specific sites like TripAdvisor and Zomato. Public facts include everything from basic information like restaurant name, address, and phone number to details including local events, menus, photos, online ordering links, reviews, and local restaurant attributes. Maintaining these public facts dramatically impacts a restaurant’s ability to appear in unbranded searches like, “ice cream near me,” and, “restaurants near me good for kids with outdoor seating.”

Of course, this sounds important in theory, but how much value is it actually driving for your restaurant brand?

Let’s start with something we know how to measure — the existing marketing funnel that drives online consumers from awareness to purchase. From a digital marketing perspective, marketers look at impressions (or eyeballs on a page) and high-intent clicks (e.g., clicks to call, to get directions, to visit a website, to see a menu). Defining what percentage of those initial clicks drive down to the actual purchase is the most significant part of creating your Digital Knowledge Management funnel.

For an example of how to calculate this, look at a key goal for your organization. This might be app downloads, loyalty program registrations, or clicks to get driving directions. What’s one of the highest-intent actions your customer could take on a discovery site or map?

Google says that 76% of local searches result in a customer visit. Through a third-party attribution study, Yext found that 25% of local page views result in a visit. We suggest picking the midpoint of 50% as the online-to-offline conversion number for driving directions. Other metrics worth measuring, and that might be more important to fine dining restaurants, are clicks to call and clicks to make a reservation. Based on that conversion, and a restaurant’s average order value, it’s easier to evaluate what an increase in impressions on maps, apps, and directories could do to drive in-store traffic.

Once the funnel is built, it’s simple to complete calculations on impression to conversion. Here’s a breakdown of the incremental lift a restaurant brand could expect,* per Digital Knowledge Management investment strategy, to the top of their funnel:

  • Fix inconsistent or inaccurate local listings: 5% – 20% lift in listings impressions
  • Suppress duplicate listings: 5% – 10% incremental lift in listing impressions
  • Add structured menu data in search: 5% – 20% incremental lift in listings impressions
  • Build hyperlocal landing pages with Schema: 5% – 20% incremental lift in listings impressions
  • Add order online/reservation links to hyper local landing pages: 9.8% click-through rate from landing page impression to online order or reservation
  • Respond to reviews: .1% – .3% lift in click-through rate
  • Generate and publish reviews: 1.5x – 2.5x lift in click-through rate for calls to action (e.g., online order, app download, reservation) on local pages

*These calculation ranges are based on a review of results for certain of Yext’s food service clients, which may not be representative of any specific brand . Results may vary.  Yext does not guarantee returns on any Yext product.

By using this conversion funnel, Qdoba fixed its core data, suppressed duplicates, added structured menus, and built hyper-local Schema marked up landing pages with online ordering buttons — and saw a 14.45x ROI on their investment in Digital Knowledge Management (defined by digital ordering).

Huddle House has used the same conversion funnel to confirm a 7.89x ROI (based on in-store sales) by managing their listings, suppressing duplicates, publishing structured menus and creating hyper-local Schema marked up pages.

As consumers shift how they find and interact with restaurant brands, it’s critical to maintain brand control and optimize the customer conversion funnel across the many AI-driven discovery services that people are using to search. This approach to Digital Knowledge Management is proven to drive revenue growth for restaurant brands online and offline.

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