The restaurant industry is increasingly competitive, and in the fight to rise above the rest, out-of-the-box ideas are necessary. It’s no longer enough to capture carefully curated pictures of your food or to rent a billboard for advertisement purposes — now, marketing efforts have extended to the olfactory system.
Scent is becoming a strategic tool for restaurants who want to improve brand recognition and sales. The appeal to smell over visuals or audible marketing is undetected by most customers, but it’s highly effective in creating a food-friendly mood.
Scent marketing can help generate better cash flow for your full service or quick service restaurant. Let’s cover what scent marketing is, how it entered the food service, and what its main benefits are.
What Is Scent Marketing?
Have you ever wished you could condense an advertisement into an aroma? Sometimes words don’t adequately communicate what you have to say. Fortunately, other sensations can take over to pass on a message.
Scent marketing does just that by administering natural and artificial scents to draw in customers, enhance their experience, and establish an ambiance. As a marketing method, companies can set themselves apart with this subtle move.
Depending on the restaurant, it’s possible to entice customers with scents in several ways. Restaurants can bake goods at a particular time of day to emit their best smelling foods at hungry people. They can also use a synthetic blend of smells in a diffusing machine to micro-mist their chosen aroma around the clock.
Smell and taste are closely linked because flavor engages them both. The smell of food can also determine how much of it someone decides to eat. If you flood the entryway with hints of chocolate, your chocolate products become more attractive to people who walk in your coffee shop, bakery or restaurant, and you can watch the sales of chocolate-flavored goods rise throughout the day.
How Scent Marketing Has Expanded Into Restaurants
Multiple industries have harnessed the power of smell for years. For example, real estate professionals have been baking fresh cookies during open houses for a long time, and this maneuver has led to closings time and again. The “new car smell” is another result of scent-based tactics in vehicle sales. However, the restaurant industry has gradually been adopting scent marketing in recent years.
In cooking, a dish’s taste has been the leading concern, with aesthetic plating not far behind. But now scent aroma is catching up in fine dining, too, and inventions like those of Grant Achatz are showcasing flavor through bursts of complementing smells. This attention to scent is evidence that it’s finally at the forefront of food service.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of scent marketing because bakeries have let the aromas of their pastries and loaves waft through the air for centuries. A modern day example of the scent marketing trend is Starbucks, which had a battle between their rich coffee scent and their sandwich cheese odor in 2008. Their ingredient choices transformed due to their scent goals because the Starbucks executives deemed the savory smells harmful to customer satisfaction.
Now, restaurants are pairing their feature dishes with recognizable scents. They select various types of scents to make sure it doesn’t clash with the dish’s aroma.
Benefits of Scent Marketing for Restaurants
Since noses and taste buds work together to make a meal delectable, it’s surprising that the food industry hasn’t led the lead in scent marketing. Restaurants already produce large amounts of scents from the kitchen, but when restaurateurs control the smell, they can observe immense growth.
While the advantages of aroma marketing for restaurants are numerous, data-backed reasons can show why scent marketing is ideal for pubs, bars, eateries, and coffee shops.
1. Increases Revenue
Profit is the driving factor behind marketing decisions for your restaurant, and manipulating scents can be a lucrative financial move. The right smell can encourage consumers to buy more than they usually would.
Since smell extends appetite past normal boundaries, customers are more likely to spend, which benefits your bottom line.
The Brooklyn food market NetCost mounted scent machines around their store and pumped delicious smells through their aisles. After coordinating the scents with store sections, like rosemary close to freshly baked bread, they saw at least a 7 percent sales increase.
While you’re presenting food in a different context than a supermarket, the concept still applies. You can direct customers toward appetizers, entrees, or desserts to jolt your sales.
2. Seals Your Brand
Another commercial flashing across the screen does little to pull in a modern-day customer. We’re overrun with advertising images and branded logos. Brand recognition is multi-faceted, and the sense of smell can be a new level to your business vision.
An excellent example of aroma branding is Cinnabon. Cinnabon has secured their signature smell over the years, and now, cinnamon flavors can be uniquely tied to the company. They created their scent brand by installing their ovens close to customers rather than at the rear of stores, and Cinnabon keeps their baking schedule around the clock to steadily release cinnamon-sugar smells.
The aroma-based branding of Cinnabon is so distinct that when former Cinnabon president Kat Cole made business cards with a scratch ‘n’ sniff element, people immediately knew the scent was off. They told her it veered away from the recognizable Cinnabon smell.
You probably have your visual branding down to a science, but is scent branding a part of your restaurant’s goals yet? If you take an identifiable smell and align it with your establishment, your customers can have a deeper impression of your brand. Whether you serve Mexican or Italian food, you can construct a trademark smell for any cuisine.
3. Takes Advantage of Foot Traffic
Getting customers through the entryway of your restaurant leads them one step closer to completing a transaction and filling up your tables. Your restaurant may be in a valuable location, but scent marketing can draw people inside.
In South Korea, Dunkin’ Donuts misted a coffee scent on buses when their jingle would play over the speakers. Due to this scent-targeting project, walk-ins to the nearby locations of Dunkin’ Donuts around the bus stops shot up 16 percent.
While misting machines aren’t installed on typical buses in America, you can still disperse scents to coax people into your business. Other restaurants cook their strongest smelling foods at an active time of day when a large number of people will be walking by. Alternatively, you can also propel aromas into the air conditioning systems or use food aroma dispensers next to entry points like windows.
When people arrive on-site, they experience your restaurant holistically, and scent marketing can hook hungry passersby.
4. Inspires Returners and Loyal Regulars
Scent is favorable on its own, but with context, it’s powerful. It can set the stage along with the lighting, music, and decor. Restaurant atmosphere influences satisfaction, and subtle smells can lock in the continued business of customers.
Acquiring new customers costs as much as five times more than retaining existing customers. Loyalty at your restaurant is essential for your business to thrive, and a welcoming ambiance can build up customer feedback. Even if customers aren’t expecting to smell a distinct odor, they can appreciate inviting smells.
Repeat customers also can be an excellent source of word-of-mouth, so accentuating the dining area with pleasant sensory effects can see an increased return on your investment.
5. Cancels out Unpleasant Odors
While specialty cheeses are delicious, the best ones give a funky smell. Limburger and Taleggio cheese can chase off customers if it’s the dominant scent they’re catching at your restaurant. In the same way, seafood, curry, garlic, and other intense spices can agitate potential customers.
Clean scents can cover up potentially displeasing smells. Citrus scents like lemon and orange are effective masking aromas that neutralize these problematic odors.
When these refreshing scents are circulated near kitchen work stations or in the eating area, you can construct a balanced environment for everyone to enjoy no matter their food preferences.
6. Attracts Customers for Longer
The high demand for a cafe or bistro can interest other people and trigger a surge in sales. Lingering onlookers and paying customers can be drawn in by their nose so you can appeal to their taste buds later.
Customers can stay as much as 44 percent longer when a business is filled with pleasant smells. People gravitate toward notable scents, and it’s difficult to leave such a likable setting.
If your customers stick around, you have a higher chance to imprint your brand, service, and food options on them. The aroma of tasty food is enough for customers to pause for an extra minute or hang around after the main course for dessert.
7. Plays on Memory
Aromas at significant times can produce a heightened memory, and in your restaurant, patrons can recollect old memories or form brand new ones, depending on your choice.
For example, your grandma’s tomato soup recipe can bring up your childhood memories, and when you sniff the spices she used, it can recall all the feelings from your youth. This is because olfactory processing passes through the hippocampus, which is a vital memory hub.
Scents that capitalize on intimate moments can be useful for your restaurant. Scent-induced memories are more complex and long-lasting than auditory or visual memories. Research shows that after a year, it’s possible to remember a smell and memory combination with 65 percent accuracy, while after four months, image-based memories are only 50 percent accurate.
At your restaurant, a pleasant memory initiated by scent can prompt your guest to remember the times they spent at your establishment next time they bake snickerdoodle cookies or peel an orange.
8. Stimulates the Right Emotion
Besides memory, the nose can also steer emotion. The psychological effect of smell can put your customers in different moods, and positive smells can make them alert, happy, or calm.
If people enter your restaurant or bar after a hard day, calming aromas of vanilla or lavender can put them at ease.
Depending on your marketing goal, you can invite people to regain energy at your restaurant or relax with one of your refreshing beverages. The best scent for restaurants are comforting, and they can refresh customers and lift the overall tone of your restaurant.
Benefits of CAKE POS System for Restaurants
While we’re not talking about the sweet smell of cake, CAKE’s Point of Sale (POS) System is a rewarding system for restaurants. A smoothly functioning workflow also contributes to customer satisfaction, and it can work together with ambient scenting and other marketing methods.
Managing your orders, payments, menu items, and staff can become chaotic, but a unified system allows restaurateurs and employees to present high-quality, professional service.
1. Monitors in Real Time
What’s more disheartening than ordering your favorite mouth-watering dish to be told later that the kitchen has run out of the ingredients? CAKE’s POS System allows kitchen staff to stay in the loop about the current stock of entrees, sides, appetizers, and desserts. It also reports the current condition of your restaurant.
With cloud-based systems, qualified personnel can access crucial information about day-to-day operations. Whether you have a single establishment or a chain, an accessible and real-time system is convenient.
This means you can look at transactions as they come in, examine which dishes are performing well and cultivate productivity.
2. Adapts Your Workflow
From seating to plating, the workflow of a restaurant is intricate and ever-changing. When a menu item isn’t as successful as you expected, you need to cut it from the options.
With a customizable POS system, you can edit the floor format at any time from our OrderPad tablet. The OrderPad is a portable resource that lets you adjust your procedures while being able to move throughout the restaurant.
3. Oversees Guests and Employees
As a manager or restaurant owner, you need to guide your staff, set up payroll, and organize their work schedules. The Restaurant POS System includes automated time management, payroll features, and tip sharing.
You can review time cards and check when employees have gone on break. It also gives you the capability of splitting up tips accordingly.
The CAKE Guest Manager System also keeps you and your customers up to date on table availability and reservations. You can use the text-based alert process to let guests wait for their table leisurely. A virtual floor map makes seating quick and accurate for servers.
Boost Your Business With CAKE
Promoting your restaurant requires a marketing strategy. You can use marketing tactics like aroma branding and cloud-based technology like CAKE’s POS System to accelerate your business.
At CAKE, we have technology solutions that specifically cater to restaurant needs. Our systems are intuitive and effortless to navigate. We have affordable, sturdy hardware that keeps up with a fast-paced restaurant environment, and we offer 24/7 customer support that you can use in case any issues arise.
Our online ordering service can also reel in take-out customers, and it integrates seamlessly with our POS System. With the widespread use of mobile devices, online ordering can make your restaurant more attractive to tech-savvy customers.
Check out our Restaurant POS System today, and learn more about our additional restaurant technology and gear to enhance your workflow.