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Casual Dining Restaurants: Whose Marketing Menu Is Most Appealing?

Millennials have been accused of killing many industries. Diamonds. Beer. Marmalade. Even concepts like consumerism and countries (RIP America). But one of the constants on these lists of millennial destruction: casual dining restaurants.

The fact of the matter is casual restaurants just aren’t getting the same traffic they used to and millennials are (at least in part) to blame. The percentage of millennials who visit restaurants multiple times a week has dropped from 59% to 55%, and that’s just in the past year. 

It’s why some chains have taken drastic measures just to get butts in seats. So what can these restaurants do to attract such a finicky generation (in addition to the remainder of the population)?

Technology is a great way to start making inroads with younger generations and casual dining establishments have made strides in this department. Different technological advancements have made their way into the restaurants. Olive Garden, for example, provides tablets at certain locations to make the ordering and bill pay process more efficient.  

Effective growth marketing for casual dining has, thus far, lagged behind in adopting modern technologies. Personalization is the key to generating loyalty. If a brand is able to mirror a person’s values while driving a one-to-one conversation, the chances of retention increase drastically. 

With that in mind, we wanted to see how three leaders in the casual dining space are faring in building personal relationships with their customers.

User Engagement Teardown: Casual Dining Restaurants

In our latest teardown, we take a look at three leading casual dining restaurants: TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, and Chili’s Grill & Bar. We wanted to understand how each restaurant personalized the user experience and incentivized transactions. 

Our research consisted of subscribing to each restaurant’s communications for a two-week span in September 2019.  

During these two weeks, we registered for an account on each site and increased our level of activity. We completed our profiles, downloaded their mobile apps, opted into SMS, shared our location, and abandoned online orders.

After analyzing the content of all messages received, we identified what these businesses are doing well and what areas could use improvement.

(If you can’t see the embedded SlideShare, make sure to turn off any ad blockers!)


Note: TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, and Chili’s Grill & Bar are not Iterable customers.

You can also see our past comparative teardowns (including a look at U.S. Broadcast News and U.K. Retailers) on our Resources page.

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