OptifiNow, a sales and marketing automation platform in use in multiple industries, is heading to the restaurant industry.

“We do have some customers in the restaurant space,” says John McGee, chief executive officer of the 17-year-old company. “These are restaurants that are getting more progressive in how they manage their customer base, using our marketing services that other verticals have used, which is based on CRM (customer relationship management) functionality. It allows restaurateurs to market to the customer with different offerings and coupons or information on what’s happening in their facility.”

In the most recent version, introduced five years ago, OptifiNow gives restaurants a vehicle to mange CRM mixed with marketing automation, to allow individualized communications for each customer. The restaurateur is able to run the campaign using the most effective platform to reach a customer—print, direct mail, email, social media, or text.

“Using all of these different communication channels, restaurant operators can communicate to customers directly,” McGee notes. “Maybe Rose came into the restaurant on Sunday and we want to send her a thank-you note the next day. Or maybe we want to send a text message to all our loyal customers to come in on Tuesday night for a special Happy Hour, or to try something new on the menu.”

OptifiNow’s newest feature, just released, is text on demand, which gives the platform’s existing customers the ability to text-message customers directly from OptifiNow’s cloud-based CRM application. “Texts are ubiquitous in our environment—it’s part of the fabric of who we are,” McGee says.

Similar to how an email campaign is managed, OptifiNow customers are able to choose whom they want to send a message to, whether it is a specific group or an entire audience. OptifiNow users are also able to see responses from their customers.

“You can view the individual customer record, see the text message, and [see] when the customer responded back. You can see the dynamic interaction back and forth in real time. You can see how customers respond to your message and measure the effectiveness of the text.”

While this type of interaction has been available in the social media space, it’s new to text messaging. This latest piece, says McGee, gives restaurateurs the opportunity to see within the CRM record what’s effective for each specific customer.

Much of the outbound marketing that restaurants are doing centers around loyalty programming, and the ability to track text promotions is advancement to those programs, says McGee.

OptifiNow uses comprehensive CRM functionality to allow restaurateurs to segment their customer base into different groups, triggered by a specified activity or non-activity. For example, restaurants can send a monthly newsletter to all customers, aggressive offers to locals who aren’t customers, and different promotions to loyal customers.

“You can look at all different campaigns you are running, and see which ones resonate with customers, and which ones drive greater customer response,” McGee says. “You do more of what resonates, and less of what doesn’t.”

By Joann Whitcher

Industry News, Marketing & Promotions, Technology