Readers respond to the perennial question: How do I convert third-party diners to first-party regular?
In last week’s Expedite Q&A, I kicked a question to readers of this newsletter, who I knew had better answers than I did. You showed up, and I am grateful for all the responses I received.
How do you convert restaurant diners from third-party channels (like delivery and reservations services) to first-party repeat business?
The tl;dr is that there’s no magic formula for success here; just slowly chipping away at what might work, or, more likely, learning what won’t work. I will say that these answers hit differently in August 2023 than they did in, say, May 2020. It’s a testament to the hold that third parties have on the dining public and how hard it is to go up against a well-capitalized behemoth.
Have an answer to share? Comment below or respond to this email.
Humans are creatures of habit.
It’s hard to persuade them to do something that they perceive to be less convenient, like entering payment info on a native website when that info is already stored in UberEats, DoorDash, or Grubhub. But people also love free stuff. An aggressive promotion on a website to start is always a good idea, but you also have to connect with people on a human level. I believe in a short and sweet note on nice card stock thanking your most loyal customers on third-party, but also kindly asking them to order from your site and explaining why they should, plus adding a $20 gift card is a very worthy marketing investment.
-J.B., New York City
Ed. note: Agree on the free stuff!
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