WhatsApp has become a go-to communication tool for many businesses in the food and beverages (F&B) industry. Thanks to its easy-to-use interface, this channel is a great option for connecting with customers and streamlining operations in the restaurant industry. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of using WhatsApp Business for restaurants. Then we’ll explain how integrating it with a platform like respond.io can improve efficiency. We will also share some helpful tips for using WhatsApp in the context of the F&B business.
What is WhatsApp Business for Restaurants?
WhatsApp offers an easy-to-use interface and diverse functions. It is a great option for connecting with customers and streamlining operations.
Restaurants can offer personalized customer support using WhatsApp's direct messaging channel, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. In the following section, we will explore the advantages of using WhatsApp for restaurants and how it can improve the overall dining experience for customers.
Benefits of Using WhatsApp for Restaurants
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps worldwide, with over 2 billion active users. Using WhatsApp for restaurant communication means tapping into a platform that a large portion of the global population is on the app.
WhatsApp enables personalized communication between restaurants and customers. This includes sending customized messages or offering recommendations based on customer preferences, leading to stronger customer relationships and ultimately more business for the restaurant.
Unlike email, WhatsApp provides instant messaging capabilities, allowing immediate and direct communication between restaurants and customers. This empowers restaurants to effortlessly share promotions, menu updates and other information to boost sales.
Additionally, the instant nature of messaging on WhatsApp also enables quick problem-solving, such as resolving order issues or addressing customer concerns that may arise.
When using traditional channels like SMS, additional costs may incur for customers. However, messaging on WhatsApp is completely free for them. This cost advantage makes WhatsApp an even more attractive option for them to engage with your business.
Next, we will examine a real-life example of an F&B business that employs WhatsApp to improve its communication with clients.
How Color My Plate is Winning with WhatsApp
Color My Plate, a Dubai-based weekly meal subscription service faced the challenge of finding a scalable business messaging platform that could accommodate a growing volume of chats and support the expansion of their sales and support teams. They also needed a solution to reduce resolution times for inquiries and issues.
Color My Plate enhanced communication by connecting WhatsApp API, Facebook and Instagram to respond.io’s central inbox. They utilized respond.io’s Workflows automation to route and assign customers to the right agent. Meanwhile, managers gained real-time visibility and supervision capabilities for improved outcomes.
The implementation of automated routing and assignment has significantly reduced the first response time from 3 minutes 15 seconds to 1 minute 56 seconds. Additionally, improved internal collaboration using respond.io’s tools has led to a remarkable 90% reduction in the resolution time.
In the next section, we will take a look at some methods that restaurants can adopt as their top practices when using WhatsApp to engage with customers.
How to Use WhatsApp for Restaurants
To leverage WhatsApp for your F&B business, it's important to understand the distinction between WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp API. WhatsApp Business App is tailored for small restaurants, allowing you to connect up to 5 devices for free. Its automation is also limited to welcome and away messages.
For restaurant franchises and chains, these may not suffice. To enhance business processes and cater to multiple users, a WhatsApp API account is needed. However, do note that WhatsApp API does not provide a user interface and requires a messaging inbox to send and receive messages.
To start using WhatsApp, apply for a WhatsApp API account through a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) and connect it to a messaging inbox. Respond.io is both a WhatsApp BSP and an omnichannel customer conversation management software, enabling you to manage WhatsApp accounts and conversations in a single platform.
Now, let's explore how WhatsApp enhances communication between your restaurant and potential or existing customers.
WhatsApp Restaurant: Order Placement
F&B businesses can use WhatsApp Catalog on the Business App to showcase their items. This allows customers to browse the menu, add items to their WhatsApp cart and confirm orders by messaging your business.
However, in most countries, businesses must direct customers to a third-party payment gateway like Stripe to complete the transaction as the in-app WhatsApp Pay is currently only available in limited countries, including India, Brazil and Singapore.
Furthermore, WhatsApp enables effortless order placement for pickup or delivery. Customers can send orders and receive updates, enhancing the experience and satisfaction.
WhatsApp for Restaurants: Table Reservation
You can also send reservation reminders to customers on your WhatsApp Business App. Customize the message to include the reservation date, time and location. Set up reminders to be sent a specific number of hours or days before the scheduled reservation.
Or better yet, integrate your preferred reservation software on an open API with WhatsApp API on respond.io. With this integration, you can update customer data, create contacts and add reservation details, all while chatting with the customers.
WhatsApp Business for Restaurants: Event Planning
WhatsApp streamlines event planning by facilitating efficient communication between customers, event organizers and restaurants. Now, you can seamlessly coordinate with hosts, event planners and stakeholders, ensuring alignment on every aspect of the event.
Moreover, the integration of WhatsApp API with third-party platforms enables seamless management of crucial tasks such as handling contracts, agreements and order fulfillment. This integration enhances the efficiency of event planning, offering a comprehensive solution tailored to the catering and events industry.
Next, we’ll delve into how restaurants can use WhatsApp API connected respond.io to make the most out of WhatsApp’s capabilities.
WhatsApp for Restaurants: Quick Wins with respond.io
To maximize the utilization of WhatsApp for restaurant chains or franchises, opting for WhatsApp API connected to respond.io unlocks advanced messaging capabilities.
This section will explore how restaurants can use WhatsApp API to their advantage with respond.io.
WhatsApp Business for Restaurants: Consolidate All Communication Channels in an Omnichannel Inbox
Restaurants need a centralized inbox to handle all communication channels and avoid missing customer inquiries. Since restaurants may receive messages from different channels or multiple WhatsApp accounts for different branches, having a single inbox can help prevent missed messages.
Respond.io’s omnichannel inbox offers a solution for managing all customer inquiries across popular channels like Google Business Messages, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and more from one location. This guarantees a smooth customer experience while effectively managing restaurant inquiries.
Drive All Conversations to One Inbox
Use respond.io’s link generator or QR code generator to encourage customers to initiate conversations. Restaurants can also use a WhatsApp widget or an omnichannel widget to convert website visitors to leads, ensuring all conversations flow into the centralized inbox.
Recognize Returning Contacts on Any Channel
Restaurants need to keep track of communication history and preferences when dealing with customers who have multiple inquiries. On top of that, customers may contact different branches or use various messaging channels, making it hard to organize their information and identify the same contact.
Respond.io provides a solution that can recognize returning customers, no matter which account or channel they use to message. It merges customer profiles and conversation histories into a single thread, so restaurants can provide personalized service every single time.
WhatsApp Restaurant: Automate Tasks with Advanced Automation
Many of the processes performed by restaurants can be automated with WhatsApp API and respond.io, especially if you’ve integrated your existing CRMs or third-party systems. Here are some examples you can use.
Send Order Updates with WhatsApp Notifications
Send automated updates whenever there’s a change in the order status, such as when the order’s confirmed, being prepared or out for delivery in real-time with WhatsApp Business notifications.
Using integrations like Zapier or Make.com, you can trigger these notifications based on events in your restaurant's order management system to ensure that customers are always up-to-date about their orders. Plus, you can update customer information like their names and order details.
Integrate a Reservation System with WhatsApp to Simplify Table Booking
Through the Workflows automation builder, businesses can easily integrate their preferred software with WhatsApp API via HTTP Request. By automating the reservation process, you can handle a surge of bookings with minimal agent input, making it one of the most effective methods for managing reservations.
Answer FAQ Questions with a WhatsApp Chat Menu
Restaurants can also utilize a WhatsApp chat menu to address customer inquiries and enhance their dining experience. With the help of respond.io’s Workflows, restaurants can automate responses to commonly asked questions, such as operating hours, menu offerings and reservation options.
With a chat menu, customers can select the information they need or be routed or assigned to the appropriate team or agent. This streamlines the customer support process, ensuring all customers are connected with the right person who can promptly address their needs and provide relevant assistance.
Gauge Customer Satisfaction via CSAT Surveys
With respond.io’s CSAT Workflow template, restaurants can seamlessly send surveys to customers who have dined in, ordered takeout or booked the venue, enabling them to rate their experience and provide valuable feedback.
Restaurants can leverage the Workflow to store feedback in Google Sheets or their data warehouse. This allows for easy tracking and analysis, enabling continuous improvement in the quality of support services provided to customers.
WhatsApp Business for Restaurants: Send Promotional Messages
Finally, restaurant owners can use pre-approved WhatsApp Message Templates to send promotions or updates in bulk to customers. This includes seasonal promotions, limited-time offers, new menus or exclusive discounts for regular or inactive customers.
These Message Templates have to be submitted to WhatsApp via a WhatsApp partner like respond.io for approval. Having the right WhatsApp inbox simplifies the process and lets you create and manage your Message Template natively.
Respond.io’s Broadcasts Module also allows you to import contacts, segment audiences, schedule broadcasts, clone recurring broadcasts and gain valuable analytics and insights for campaigns to make sending promotional messages easier than ever.
In summary, incorporating WhatsApp API into restaurants can enhance the communication process by catering to customers’ needs. Leveraging the capabilities of respond.io, restaurants can benefit from advanced automation and other valuable features, leading to a more efficient and seamless experience for all parties involved.
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