Tech Startup of the Week: Eateria Serves Up Digital Deals Based on Customer Loyalty

Ola Ayeni's business helps restaurant and hospitality entrepreneurs manage social media marketing

Ola Ayeni, founder of Dining Dialog, helps restaurant owners build customer loyalty with his platform, Eateria (Image: Source)

Eateria is the first digital loyalty platform that focuses on the restaurant, food and hospitality industry. The digital marketing platform gives restaurant owners the opportunity to measure the return on investment (ROI) on its social media marketing investments using unique promotions that can be tracked online, via email and social media, as well as with QR codes and text messages.

“We know that over 60% of restaurant owners work 60-80 hours in a week; they don’t have time for somebody to enter customer contact data collected in a restaurant or create an email template,” says Ola Ayeni, founder and CEO of Dining Dialog. “So we have managed services where we do all of the hard lifting for them.”

Eateria sends out marketing messages to restaurant-goers based on their on-the-go lifestyle, says Ayeni.  “If your preference is to receive text messages, that is all you will get because that is what you want. If you want emails, you will get that. If you are always on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter that is the only way you will be reached because that is how you spend your time.”

Eateria also provides ROI reporting by measuring how many people redeemed the discount and what day and time they redeemed it. Similar companies like Constant Contact, or Mail Chimp, do not track redemption. Also, customers can validate and save discounts by making a toll-free phone call, by scanning a QR code with their phone, online or by text message, which prevents them from losing the coupon.

“It gives the restaurant owner a better opportunity to bring their customers back and build loyalty instead of discounting to the masses,” says Ayeni, who suggests daily deal sites like Groupon don’t make good business sense.

Last year, Eateria’s parent company, Dining Dialog, won $50,000 from the Miller Coors Business Plan Competition, $60,000 worth of software from the Microsoft Pack program and $50,000 towards credit card transaction fees for dining dialog customers from Braintree.

This week Black Enterprise honors Ola Ayeni’s  Dining Dialog as Tech Startup of the Week to celebrate the company’s successful launch of Eateria last month. Here, Ayeni provides three tips on using social media marketing to promote your business:

•        Look at ways to promote your business beyond using old traditional ways of marketing. It is not as effective as it used to be. Think about local marketing opportunities, and whether it is possible to partner with small businesses in the area.

•        Collect customer info. Don’t just know them by face. You need to know their birthday, their email, and a little personal information so you can bring them back. That is one way to remain sustainable in this digital age. The key is to own your customer data, don’t just rely on customer data on a site like Facebook.

•   Use this data to build loyalty, not for discounting. That’s not good business. Only 14% of customers come back after using a daily deal site. They are bargain hunters, not loyal customers. We believe that you give customers something to reward them for their loyalty. It’s not discounting, for discounting’s sake, its rewards to thank them for their business. We believe in loyalty building that’s the key. (Editor’s Note: Only 3% of companies saw both profit and return visits from daily deal customers, according to a recent survey by Manta)

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