Restaurant owners and managers: What are your main business objectives? (Or, for agencies, what are the key goals of your restaurant clients?) If they include any of the following:

  • Get more patrons in the door
  • Keep people coming back
  • Create a seamless, enjoyable customer experience
  • Advertise promotions more widely
  • Generate leads for catering and events

…it’s time you looked into Messenger chatbots. Bots can help you do all of the above on autopilot. They provide a personalized, one-on-one chat experience for past and potential patrons at scale. That means less work and better results (more customers, more revenue, a better brand reputation) for you! 

Read on for quick-start tips on building a chatbot for a restaurant, bar, café, food truck, or food delivery service. Then, we'll cover top features and tools for using your bot to boost sales, and to provide a great prospect/patron experience.

Building a Messenger chatbot for a restaurant

Use Chatfuel to build your restaurant bot, and you’ll have access to two built-in tools that’ll make the process easier. These are: templates and Synced Cloning.

#1. Get started fast with templates

The quickest, easiest way to get your restaurant bot up and running is to use one of our plug-and-play templates. A template provides the framework for your chatbot. All you have to do is customize the information for your business, and you’ll be ready to launch! Head to your Chatfuel dashboard to check out all the templates we offer for bots built in the Automation-->Blocks tab. We're building a shared-flows marketplace for bots built in the Automation-->Flows tab too! Join our community for the latest updates.

You could use Restaurant, Coffee Shop, or Food Truck. You might incorporate elements from Loyalty Card, Birthday Greetings, or Booking Calendar, depending on your goals. (And if you sell merchandise, you’ll even find parts of our Shopify Ecommerce template useful!)

Chatfuel template for restaurant chatbot
Browse our template library in the Chatfuel dashboard to find one that works for the goals of your unique business. Or, take elements and inspiration from several.

#2. Update bots for multiple locations with Synced Cloning

This Chatfuel Premium Agency feature is a game-changer for restaurants with multiple locations. Synced Cloning allows you to connect the bots for each branch together. That way, when you make changes in one, you can have them reflect across the rest. For example, let’s say you’ve added a new item to your master menu. There's no need to update the chatbots for each of your restaurant locations manually. Instead, you can make the change in one bot and instantly sync to all the others that are linked to it.

How to attract new patrons with a chatbot

Of course, all restaurant owners and managers aim to maintain a healthy revenue stream, and a Messenger bot can help with this. Chatfuel offers features called Entry Points to help you bring new users to your bot, so you can then engage them with promotions and offers and encourage them to visit your location. Plus, a bot can also help you gather lead information for those interested in other services you may offer, like events and catering.

Win new business with Comments Autoreply 💬

A coupon or offer is a great way to get new patrons for your restaurant—but how do you reach new people to distribute it? One great option is our Comments Autoreply Entry Point. Set it to apply to a specific Facebook post on your page. Then, anyone who comments (or those whose comment includes a keyword(s)—your choice) will receive a message from your bot with the offer. Those people can now visit your restaurant and redeem it. Plus, you’ll be able to reengage these users via bot with more offers in the future.

Acquire Users from Comments feature for your chatbot
Use our Acquire Users from Comments feature to have your bot automatically message those who comment on your posts.

Reach new prospects with Facebook and Instagram ads📱

Chances are you’re already running ads for your restaurant, bar, café, or other food-service business on Facebook and/or Instagram. Once you build a Messenger bot with Chatfuel, you can design ads that will drive users to it. We recommend click-to-Messenger ads, which will appear on Facebook and send users to your bot in Messenger. (Tip: Use our native ads integration to connect these ads to your bot in a flash!)

Or, if your primary audience is on Instagram, you can run ads there that do the same thing: direct users from Instagram to Messenger. And again, once they become subscribers of your bot, you can market to them more on this channel in the future. P.S. We're building messaging automation tools for Instagram to make engaging prospects and customers there even easier! Sign up to get notified when we launch. In the meantime, check out these five secrets to mastering the Instagram algorithm.

Reengage inactive users with sponsored messages 👋

Want to get past diners in the door again? Reengage inactive bot users with new offers. Now, per Facebook’s Messenger policies, you can only send promotional content to users for free within 24 hours of their last interaction with your chatbot. So after that, you can pay to send a sponsored message to reengage inactive users—reopening that 24-hour contact window. You could send one announcing a new menu item, a new location, or a unique promotion, like a special Valentine’s Day dinner or a “kids eat free” deal. (Tip: Use our Segment Sync feature to easily create custom audiences from your bot users, so you can send these messages only to those who will find them relevant.)

Generate and capture leads for catering or events 👔

Does your restaurant offer other services, like event spaces or catering? You can have your bot capture lead information from users looking for more information on these topics. It can ask questions and accept user answers via the Save User Input plugin. You can even set it to automatically export all answers to a Google Sheet so you can stay organized, or notify you via email whenever you get a new lead. Once you have a lead’s information, you or your team can reach out personally to seal the deal.

Creating a great customer experience with your restaurant bot

Of course, you want customers to be satisfied in every interaction they have with your business—not just at the restaurant, but online too. You can use a chatbot to do this, making sure prospects and patrons have the information they need about your business at their fingertips. Plus, you can use a bot to personalize each interaction to help build trust, credibility, and positive customer relationships.

Have your bot answer FAQs automatically ❓

Did you know that a well-designed chatbot can answer up to 80% of routine questions? Create a bot that can answer FAQs about your restaurant, bar, coffee shop, food truck, or food-delivery business. It can do this based on pre-defined questions and answers, or using artificial intelligence (AI) to handle free-form inquiries.

Either way, it’ll allow prospects and patrons to get the details they need about your restaurant (hours, menus, address, etc.) on their own time, 24/7/365—and without any of your staff having to lift a finger. The easier and friendlier you make the process of learning about your food-industry business, the better the customer experience will be.

Make your bot multilingual 🌍

Is your restaurant visited by tourists, or other patrons who speak multiple languages? You can have your bot appear to users in their chosen language. It takes three steps to make your bot multilingual.

Make your bot multilingual
You can set your bot to be available to users in multiple languages.

Add an extra-personal touch with custom images 💁🏽

Sending a coupon, birthday discount, or some other kind of promotion to your subscribers? Set up your bot to automatically generate a personalized image for each one. This custom touch will catch the user’s eye, helping your business and your offer stand out. (After all, personalization is the marketing word of the year for 2020!).

Use personalization for your chatbot
Have your bot automatically generate custom images like this one for promotions and offers.

Explore real restaurant bots that are powered by Chatfuel

  • Yumi Japanese and Cocktail Bar. This Japanese restaurant offers a discount to past and potential patrons on their birthday, which can only be redeemed if they make a reservation through the bot. If a user begins the reservation process but doesn’t finish, the bot will reach out once more within 24 hours to encourage them t  follow through. It’s a great way to build customer loyalty and promote more visits to the restaurant.
Real restaurant chatbot powered by Chatfuel
  • UKB199. It’s a Korean-barbecue restaurant with multiple locations in the Philippines. Theirs is a great example of a Messenger bot that offers basic information like FAQs, the menu, location information, and standing promotions and offers.
Restaurant chatbot powered by Chatfuel
  • Panda Express Guatemala. This is the bot for the Guatemala locations of the restaurant Panda Express. Their Messenger chatbot is super informative, offering everything from menus and locations to details on how to order delivery, how to apply to work there, and even your Chinese horoscope.
Restaurant chatbot powered by Chatfuel
  • Chess Taipei. This bar and restaurant in Taiwan has a Facebook bot that tells users about what they offer. It even provides a way for users to book tables. The chatbot shares the restaurant’s phone number so users can call, or it’ll accept their name, date, and booking information and a human agent will reach out later to confirm.
Restaurant bot powered by Chatfuel

Build a chatbot for your restaurant business

If you’re ready to boost sales, improve customer service, and bring in more diners to your restaurant, a chatbot is the tool for you. Sign up for Chatfuel for free today and learn to build a chatbot in three minutes. When you're ready to upgrade to get unlimited users and priority support, check out our Pro plan. Either way, there's no coding or previous experience required to build a bot with Chatfuel, so you can get started today! Marketing agency with restaurant clients? Learn about our Premium Agency plan.

Now's the perfect time to get started building a chatbot to boost your restaurant business. Bot appétit! 🤖🍴