Author: Kathy Hartman

Can LSM Drive 12.1 Billion Visits?

Can LSM Drive 12.1 Billion Visits?

Kids visited quick serve and fast casual restaurants around 12.1 billion times from July 2018 through July 2019* and LSM has the power to drive these kids to your individual location

There is no doubt that kids have the power to make a huge impact on your business.  In today’s world, Local Store Marketing (LSM) is now a data-driven science, and if you put this science to work for your locations, you’ll win the battle with kids and ultimately their parents.

To maximize this impact for your restaurant, you need to understand what is going on in your trading area with kids and their families.  Not just the demographics and traffic generators in your marketplace, but the events and activities that kids and their families are participating in.  And while there are literally thousands of data points relating to kids around each individual location, the new frontier of LSM allows you to harness this data and better understand the tactics you can use to keep both kids and parents happy.

You’ll want to focus on engaging kids and parents in ways that are relevant, modern and entertaining.  This is what will help you win the war in this very competitive landscape and grab your share of these visits that help you build lifelong customers, loyal to you because of the great memories you’ve provided them and their families.

The information found around your trading area can be leveraged to lead you to the most appropriate, successful LSM tactics.  More than 75 percent of parents say they would change their decision on a dining location depending on how much their child likes a brand*.  Parents with younger children search for restaurants with a kid-friendly vibe and if you deliver activities and events that allow families to feel connected to you and their community, you have the opportunity to gain a distinct competitive advantage.

Let’s look at an example from my local neighborhood.  There is a local quick serve restaurant that clearly was built with families in mind, as it has a large play area attached to its dining room.  A closer look at this particular trading area reveals that there are several competitors in the area that also provide play equipment for kids.  This local restaurant has used the latest data-driven technology to analyze what’s happening around the location, what might be missing and what opportunities suit this location best.  A key tactic recommended for their location was a bi-monthly Family Fun Night, which encourages habitual, repeat visits that families count on twice a month to keep their kids happy and occupied.  The activities they implement on these nights vary…. from karaoke, to i-pad family trivia, to holiday crafts.  The results have been an increase in transactions of over 20% on the nights these activities occur.  They are working hard to capture their share of the 12.1 billion visits.

Selecting the best tactics that capitalize on the opportunities in your trading area and that drive connections with families will make sure your location is a family’s first choice.  There are a multitude of family focused LSM ideas and selecting the ones that will be most successful for your location will help you win over the kids and if you win over the kids, you will win their parents.

The availability and use of LSM deep data analysis is now essential for anyone looking to drive family visits.  As LSM continues to evolve as a data-science, all restaurants will need to look at how they can maximize the latest in technology to increase sales and transactions.  LSM continues to be a key differentiating factor and it is critical to long-term success at each individual location.  Make certain that you are leveraging this important sales building weapon and that you own your local marketplace with your share of the 12.1 billion family visits.

*NPD Group Data

LSM in the Age of Delivery

LSM in the Age of Delivery

6 Ways Restaurants Can Improve Connections with Delivery Customers

Does restaurant delivery mean the end of close connections with your customers?  Absolutely not!    Today, more than ever before, data-driven local marketing plans are essential for capitalizing on all the opportunities in your local trading area, including delivery to your customers.

Restaurants’ delivery sales are projected to grow at more than three times the rate of on-premises revenue through 2023*.  Some restaurants manage their own delivery force, but many are using third-party delivery services, which means that the “face” of the restaurant is a third-party employee.  This makes building loyal connections with delivery customers very difficult for restaurants using third-party services.

Yet, customers still long for community and “personal service”.  Making them feel valued and special can make the difference in which restaurant they select to order from time and time again.  Understanding who your customers are…their demographics, the traffic generators within your trading area and the activities they are engaging in on a daily basis will allow you to attract them with specific tactics targeted to capitalize on your restaurant’s opportunities.  Here are six potential tactics restaurants can implement to build strong connections with delivery customers:

  • Let your delivery customers know about the events and promotions going on at your restaurant. Create specific data-driven plans based upon the opportunities within your restaurant’s trading area.  Include flyers with information on upcoming restaurant activities with every delivery order.
  • Promote your restaurant’s involvement with the community. Show them that you are a locally owned business.  Understand what activities and organizations are most important to your specific customers.  Sponsor local groups that rank highest in interest with your customers.  Host fundraising events for key organizations.  Showcase your restaurant’s sponsorships and fundraising results on your delivery packaging.
  • Encourage repeat orders to build frequency and loyalty. Include targeted coupons that are good on their next delivery order or on-site purchase.
  • Build a relationship with delivery personnel. Drivers can be a very positive ambassador for your restaurant.  Offer them the occasional free meal or treat.  Understand what motivates them.  Engaging them and making them feel “part” of your team can help ensure that they will convey the same attitude to your customers on your behalf.
  • Include surveys that customers can complete after delivery to share details of their delivery experience. If you accept delivery orders directly, consider personal phone calls to a select number of delivery customers each week.  Showing customers that you care about the service they receive can go along way in building a strong connection.
  • Add a little “extra” to your customers’ delivery order. Based on your trading area’s specific data, you might include activity sheets for orders that include Kid’s Meals or a small treat as a thank you for their order.

Incorporating these marketing efforts directly into your Local Store Marketing (LSM) plan is key to creating a positive delivery experience.  LSM continues to be a key differentiating factor in restaurant sales and critical to long-term success at each individual location.  Make certain that you are leveraging this important sales building weapon.  LSM builds both customer and employee satisfaction, which in turn results in sales and transactions at the individual restaurant level.

*2019 Study by L.E.K. Consulting



The NEW Universal Truths About Local Store Marketing

The NEW Universal Truths About Local Store Marketing

The interesting thing about Local Store Marketing (LSM) is that it’s even more relevant with today’s technological advancements.  Technology is often best used when it’s a complement to a traditional form of marketing.

The emphasis in that last statement is on “complement”.  In today’s world of mobile apps and chatbots, some franchisees feel that they can rely on mobile apps and national advertising to do all of their marketing for them. After all, they are often contributing a significant amount to a national marketing fund!  Why would they need to create an LSM plan?  Other franchisees are responsible for all aspects of creating a marketing plan for their individual locations, from grand openings to awareness building to promotional messaging.  They know that they need LSM, but they are often perplexed as to what tactics should be used to achieve their objectives or how much they should spend to market their locations.

I want to share what I consider to be the NEW Universal Truths about Local Store Marketing.  These are truths that are extremely relevant today, and they are exhibited in large global organizations, in smaller regional chains, and in start-ups alike.

Truth #1:  Everyone Needs LSM

Why?  Because direct customer relationships build loyalty, which results in success.  No matter how much money is spent at the national or regional level, you MUST create true loyalty through direct contact with your customers.  Mobile apps don’t create a relationship—they convey information.  Television ads help to create a national brand image that customers expect to see when they visit their hometown location.  It’s LSM that delivers on those messages.  Customers will go out of their way to patronize businesses that they appreciate.  Only through direct LSM will you and your employees create that bond that will keep your customers coming back again and again.

Truth #2:  LSM is a Balance of 3 Key Things

There are three key components to all successful LSM plans:  Promotion, Experience and Community.

  • Promotion is price and variety related.
  • Experience is a fun, enjoyable environment with genuine interactions.
  • Community is local engagement and presence with potential customers.

Your LSM plans should be a balance of all three components.  Some activities will provide short-term returns, while others will result in mid or long-term returns on investment.  I call this your Customer Investment Portfolio.  To ensure that you have a healthy, robust portfolio, you want to maintain a balance of all three components.

Truth #3:  Marketing is no longer an Art, it’s now a Science

For years marketing was more of a tapestry of tactics, driven through experience and “best guess results”.  Data has changed all of this.  Used appropriately, technology can drive sales at the individual local level.  Artificial Intelligence allows technology to get smarter over time and know exactly what’s needed to drive success at your location.  You can now depend on science and not on doing what has worked for the operator down the street.  You are most likely operating a multi-million-dollar business while wearing a lot of hats — from Equipment Repair, to HR Director, to Groundskeeper.  And, you are most likely not a trained Marketer, so let the science and technology do the work for you. This will free up some of your time to focus on other key areas of your business.

Truth #4:  A Small, Smart Investment Can Have Big Returns

LSM has the power to build your brand, your business, and your sales and transactions.  You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on LSM, if you take a more targeted and strategic approach you can be much more cost effective and have major impact.  Technology can bring you that smarter, more efficient approach.  Technology can do the “leg-work” for you and with today’s machine learning capabilities, the right system will get smarter and smarter over time—bringing you expertise that grows to support and build your business.

Truth #5 Always Assign a Designated Hitter and Give Them an Awesome Bat to Hit With

You wouldn’t dream of running your business without a Manager, or without someone assigned to ring in your customer’s orders, or without someone assigned to clean your location at close. Likewise, you need to assign someone who will be held accountable for implementing your marketing efforts at your location. It’s important for this person to have the proper tools and resources to effectively implement your marketing plan.  Today’s technology world gives you the “bat” you need to organize, scale, strategically plan, optimize, measure and drive your marketing results with.  Make sure your team is delivering at the point of customer contact, and make sure that you’ve provided your team with the resources needed to properly create and implement your plans.

Where Do You Start with Your LSM Plan?

I’ve spent my entire career working with the local franchise world—helping them to create LSM plans tailored to their locations.  And now, this expertise and strategic thinking is available to all franchisees.

HubKonnect is the world’s first Machine Learning Local Store Marketing platform. HubKonnect creates customized LSM plans, based on key trading area data points that are constantly fed into our continuously learning AI Brain.  You set your objectives and time periods, and the AI creates a marketing plan that is specifically targeted to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in your individual trading area, at that specific point in time.

For more information on how HubKonnect can help shape your Local Store Marketing efforts, visit