Adentro technology has helped the likes of Buffalo Wild Wings, Ruth’s Chris, and Bad Daddy’s get new customers through their doors and increase sales even throughout the pandemic. Having seen what works and what doesn’t, we recently asked leaders at Adentro what 2022 restaurant trends we should expect to see and what they believe will be critical for restaurants to focus on this year. 

We hope this collection of ideas inspires your marketing efforts heading into 2022.

Omnichannel Shopping Isn’t Going Anywhere

Adentro’s Chief Executive Officer, Nitin Duggal, says if there’s one thing brick-and-mortar establishments should have top-of-mind in 2022 it’s omnichannel shopping. Though omnichannel shopping isn’t new by any means, it is fairly new to apply that strategy to restaurants. McKinsey & Company found that 60-70% of consumers are now shopping in an omnichannel way, and as they are becoming increasingly accustomed to endless options for brand contact, the expectation that restaurants offer the same is growing.

Since the pandemic especially, restaurants have had to adapt and expand upon their current offering to work within given restrictions. Between curbside pickup, contactless payments, delivery, online reservations, and more, these establishments learned how to use different channels to attract and retain customers.

To stay competitive, it’s crucial for restaurants to pursue and optimize these omnichannel strategies, like owned and third-party delivery services and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup in Store).

Flexibility and Adaptability Are the Name of the Game

The way brick-and-mortar establishments, particularly restaurants, have adapted in the past two years has been extraordinary. We saw fine dining restaurants become take-out restaurants overnight, and we saw a forced embrace of new strategies and technologies to keep the doors open despite all odds. Megan Wintersteen, Adentro’s VP of Marketing, believes 2022 will be no different.

Wintersteen adds, “Flexibility is a mindset, right? It’s a mindset and a practice, and I think that’s got to be step one. But I think step two, especially for long-term success, is customer data.” With the ongoing data privacy changes and regulations, as well as consumer sensitivity to data exchange, third-party customer information will only become more challenging to leverage. So first-party data collection must start now.

For restaurants, that means ditching the old fishbowl on the counter collecting business cards, and truly investing in seamless, non-disruptive ways to collect customer information. One way to do this is through collecting customer data in exchange for free access to the WiFi network. Considering 96% of consumers prefer a business that offers free WiFi, this value exchange for customer data is a no-brainer.

Personalization is More Important Than Ever

It might be surprising to find out that 75% of consumers tried a new shopping behavior during the pandemic. In other words, 75% of people tried a different brand, a different store, a new digital shopping method, etc. As people begin dining out again, they’ll be looking for their new “go-tos” to replace old routines, and effectively marketing your restaurant will play a larger role than ever before. 

So which marketers will reap the most reward? The ones who leverage customer data for personalization. As the fundamentals of marketing include getting the right message to the right customer at the right time, crafting that message starts with a stronger understanding of your customer. In fact, customers are not only more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences, but they also acknowledge that it advances the relationship they have with the brand.

During our conversations with the leaders at Adentro, many hit on the importance of personalized marketing. Duggal explained that “Attention spans are short and personalization matters now more than ever.” 2022 will be a critical year for restaurants to invest in personalizing their communications to stand out above the competition.

Leverage Second- and Third-Party Data

Studies show that 88% of marketers use second- and third-party data as a means of learning more about their target audience. Leveraging this data is a game-changer as it opens the door to an untapped market. Chelsea Nisbet, Director of Client Services at Adentro, encourages restaurants to take advantage of the data that’s available through platforms like Adentro Custom Audiences.

Through the Adentro platform, restaurants can build lookalike audiences of users who haven’t been in their physical location before, but have been in businesses that are similar to theirs. This allows restaurants to launch personalized marketing campaigns and reach an audience who hadn’t previously interacted with their brand.

Optimize Your Value Proposition and Control Your Experiences

In 2021, Adentro launched The National Customer Foot Traffic Report to shed light on the real-time effects of COVID-19 on brick-and-mortar businesses. The data detailed the rise and fall of customer visits to physical businesses every month. 

As restrictions lifted and consumers had more options for dining out, restaurant foot traffic saw increases throughout last year, especially during the summer months. With the increase of people dining out, Hugh McGoran, Adentro’s CRO, suspects there will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for restaurants. “People are ready to shake off the Covid cobwebs, and they’re ready to go out and start dining again. How will restaurants grab these people’s attention?”

“There’s going to be this mad rush of people coming into restaurants again.” McGoran explains, “It’s the work that you do now to capture those people, to build those relationships, to make sure they don’t just come once and not come back.”

Along with optimizing your value proposition, being intentional about improving your customer experience will be critical. What will your restaurant do this year to creatively enhance your in-store experience? Jeff Boughton, Director of Operations at Adentro, believes people are longing for the nostalgia of pre-pandemic dining and will be seeking those unique experiences in 2022.

Boughton suggests restaurants take a step back this year to think through strategies that will increase dwell time. Spend time at a successful neighboring restaurant for inspiration. Start hosting live music or trivia. Whatever it may be, creativity will be essential to recreate those nostalgic moments for guests and keep them coming back.

Invest in Efficiency

With more restaurants offering pickup and delivery, Adentro’s Director of Product, Adam Cowan, says we’ll likely see this trend continue. “Diners want to come back to restaurants, but they aren’t willing to sacrifice their safety or some of the convenience they’ve become accustomed to. To satisfy diners but keep things affordable, restaurants must make these dining methods as efficient as possible.”

Cowan expects we’ll see chain restaurants investing in efficient pickup options, similar to Chipotle’s online-order-only digital kitchen. This drive-through Chipotle location exclusively accepts orders online or through the Chipotle app. Prioritizing efficiency may also look like investing in better technology for data collection. 

McGoran also dives into the benefits of connecting your WiFi with marketing technology like Adentro. “Adentro solves an anonymity problem that many restaurants struggle with. You may have a POS or a Loyalty Program, but the reality is some people will pay in cash. Some people will come in a group where you only know the check-payer. There’s a missed opportunity when you don’t connect with people where they already are: their phones.”

Secure WiFi

FoodTech was a hot topic even before the pandemic, but in the last two years especially, we’ve seen a strong increase in technology that improves the in-store experience. One thing Mathew Rynard, VP of Engineering at Adentro, believes will be important moving forward is taking advantage of better WiFi technology.

How exactly can WiFi technologies help restaurants? Rynard shares, “With secure WiFi, Adentro can start to see people that aren’t necessarily customers of that specific business. So we can now provide more insight into those businesses on who their customers are, without those customers having previously connected and being part of that business.” This is huge for restaurants wanting to gain deeper visibility into their customer base and potential customer base. 

Across the Adentro network, more than 52% of all consumers are actively choosing secure connectivity over unsecured open networks. Restaurants that invest in secure WiFi will have the advantage of accelerated customer data collection, less risk and liability, and more accuracy and visibility of customer visit behavior.

Are you ready to take advantage of these 2022 restaurant trends? Download The Ultimate Restaurant Marketing Guide.

If there’s one thing these 2022 restaurant trends and tips have in common, it’s that the right technology can help. Our goal at Adentro is to continuously innovate and provide restaurants with the marketing technology they need to understand their customers and grow their business. 

Why Restaurants Choose Adentro 

  • Build your CRM with guest WiFi data capture
  • Develop customer profiles & CLV based on visit behavior 
  • Drive repeat visitation with target marketing efforts 

Click here to learn how Adentro can help you or schedule a demo


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