Monday, February 10, 2014

NRA offers extreme makeovers, digitally speaking

As more consumers use technology when making decisions on where to dine out, it is important for restaurants to stay one step ahead in boosting web presence.

To that end, the National Restaurant Association has launched a members-only “Extreme Digital Makeover” contest that helps operators expand their businesses online through enhanced web presence, text messaging, online ordering and local marketing platforms.

The Association kicked off the program Feb. 12 with a contest for restaurants that will help create or reinvigorate their digital presence. Nominations for the promotion are being accepted through March 14.

“Our contest is one of the many ways the NRA is helping its members promote restaurant innovation,” said Phil Kafarakis, chief innovation and member advancement officer. “As consumers make reservations, look up menus and place their orders online, technology is becoming increasingly vital to our industry and we want to educate operators and suppliers on best practices regarding web presence, email marketing, text messaging and social media so they can reach new patrons and maintain customer loyalty.”

According to recent NRA research, restaurant technology is on the rise. More than two in five diners have used a smartphone to find restaurant locations and directions, or viewed menus and 43 percent have ordered takeout or delivery orders online. Further, 36 percent of the adults surveyed said they would like to receive notification of specials or events through social media like Facebook or Twitter and 61 percent said they would like to receive email or text notifications of daily specials.

To participate in the campaign, contestants must fill out an application online explaining why they deserve a digital makeover. Once it is completed, members will have the ability to check off which prizes they’d like to be considered for. Four different winners will be eligible to receive one of the following prizes:

·     A two-year membership/package from digital media expert MoPro, that includes the creation of a custom HTML5 website, as well as video, photos, social media and an e-commerce shop
·     A one-year, free membership to CMSText, a text messaging platform service
·     One year from EatStreet of free online ordering services, website development and credit-card processing for online orders and associated marketing for a single location; and
·     One year access to a free local marketing suite from online marketing provider Fishbowl

The NRA also will host a webinar focusing on digital best practices for restaurant operators on Thursday, February 27th at 2 p.m. EST. Register here.

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