Episode 6: The Value of Collecting Customer Information for Effective Remarketing with Brett Linkletter of Dineline

Episode 6: The Value of Collecting Customer Information for Effective Remarketing with Brett Linkletter of Dineline

Jun 4, 2024


Brett Linkletter, founder and CEO of DineLine, shares his expertise in restaurant marketing. He discusses the importance of tracking ROI and offers various methods for restaurants to track their success, such as using QR codes, store visits, and credit card swipes. Linkletter emphasizes the need for restaurants to focus on both customer acquisition and retention marketing. He explains that acquiring new customers is more expensive, but returning customers have a higher chance of becoming lifelong customers. He also highlights the importance of collecting customer information, such as phone numbers and emails, to facilitate remarketing efforts. Linkletter encourages restaurants to embrace technology and stay on the forefront of industry changes.


  • Tracking ROI is crucial for restaurants to allocate their marketing efforts effectively.

  • Restaurants should focus on both customer acquisition and retention marketing.

  • Collecting customer information, such as phone numbers and emails, is essential for remarketing efforts.

  • Restaurants should embrace technology and stay updated with industry changes.


Shane Murphy (00:01.422)

Welcome back everybody and thanks for joining us today. We are in for a huge treat. We have joining us today, Brett Linkletter. He is the founder and CEO of DineLine, which is a restaurant marketing agency, which for the past 10 years has helped over 1 ,700 restaurants to drive more customers into their stores. He's an absolute wealth of knowledge for restaurant marketing. We're super thrilled to have him here with us. Brett, thank you for joining in.

sharing a ton of your experiences and your knowledge with everyone.

Brett Linkletter (00:32.391)

Thanks for having me, man. I'm excited.

Shane Murphy (00:36.462)

This is gonna be super fun, but maybe before we just dive in Can you tell us a little bit more about your background as well as Dine Lines and how you got into the restaurant industry in the first place?

Brett Linkletter (00:48.423)

Totally. So it's funny because early on actually I was doing a lot of e -commerce. So like restaurants was never the idea. We kind of accidentally fell into the industry. Back in like 2015 when we were first getting started, I loved e -comm because everything was tracked, right? So if I want to run an ad for a pair of sunglasses, for example, and they're a hundred bucks and I can see that when I run this ad, every $10 I spend, I get a new customer.

Well, I'm tracking my 10 to one acquisition costs, right? So my return on Aspen is great. I'm going to keep doing that, right? That was the best, the best business model for me, because it was easy to prove our value to our clients. And I was happy there. Well, if you've been following advertising and e -commerce over the last decade, it's gotten a lot difficult to get those kinds of numbers. Not to mention, it just, it got so competitive. Like it got cr -

Shane Murphy (01:25.07)


Brett Linkletter (01:46.279)

Crazy and crazy and crazy from other agencies competing in the same field so we came across actually a family friend of mine that had a rather large restaurant chain based in LA and We applied some just very basic e -commerce principles to helping grow their brand online They shot up tremendous growth which for them was like only five percent growth that month but for them with 30 stores, it was a lot of I mean the massive impact and We thought wait that was like

10x easier and they're 10 times more excited. I wonder if we can get some other similar results for some restaurants. We started working with some others, started getting better and better results. And at some point it was just like, screw e -commerce, we're gonna just do restaurants. Because it was, man, it was like all these agencies didn't wanna work with restaurants. They were like intimidated by it. And at the same time, our clients were way happier. And it was, there was a big problem in the market with restaurants, by the way. It was like.

Restaurants can't track their cost per acquisition, right? Like they're spending all this time spending money and time and all these efforts and all these resources and all these strategies unaware if what they're doing actually produces an outcome that's favorable for their business or not. So I'm like, that's just common stuff for e -com. If I can just take those very common practices, apply them in the restaurant space, that's a major pain point that we solve for. And that was, again, that was almost 10 years ago. So it was definitely the right move.

and happy to be here because of it.

Shane Murphy (03:17.166)

Yeah, you know, we, in my experience, you know, doing marketing for restaurants, we've seen that same thing that restaurants are very unique. It's hard to track your ROI. You have to actually be very intentional about setting up the systems to be able to track your performance for marketing. But most restaurateurs just don't have the knowledge or the experience or the know -how to really set that up from the beginning. But it's crucial for marketing. Maybe...

Brett Linkletter (03:28.295)

Mm -hmm.

Brett Linkletter (03:36.039)


Shane Murphy (03:46.447)

Can you talk to why that is so important and how should a restaurant go about tracking their success from these different channels?

Brett Linkletter (03:55.079)

Totally, so it's actually, it's difficult for most people, right? Because there's a lot of ways you can go about doing it, right? On a very, very simple level, I always tell people like literally like no tech, no resources, you got absolutely nothing. Man, you can just do something very simple like this. Run an ad on Instagram or Facebook, put in the ad, screenshot this ad and bring it in to get some kind of offering from us and.

count up every time someone shows you a screenshot. That's like the low cost, no tech option. I literally used to tell people that like three, four, five years ago, cause they were like, just help me with something. I know it's like, okay, just do this. So that's like, if you like have no resources and nothing, I would go that route, okay? Just screenshot and show us this ad and you'll get a free whatever, okay? But what we do now at this point and what I would recommend if you can is,

you really want to be able to track a store visit. That's what we do, right? So we leverage mostly Google's platforms. We run ads across every channel, but we like Google the most for a variety of reasons. But one of the top reasons is that we're able to track store visits. So when we run an ad, we're not just driving traffic to a Google My Business page. We're literally tracking when someone gets to the restaurant.

and what's amazing for us also on Google's platform is like we can actually track it credit card swipe too. now one thing I will say is, is not everyone has the ability to do this. You have to have some pretty big budgets to, to unlock these features through Google, which is where we come in and really help. Cause we've already unlocked all these features. We spend close to a million a month at this point for our clients, on Google and Meta. And so.

You know, these platforms like us, we help pay some of their bills. So that's, that's really good. But, you know, I think again, if you're not tracking store visits, it's, you almost have to do an offer. In some cases, right? Cause it's like, you track the offer, you get the opt in and then you go for it. We don't, do a ton of offers at this point, but by no means are we like against it. Right. it's more like, anyway, there's lots of ways you can do it. It's, it's just a matter of though. It's.

Brett Linkletter (06:13.959)

It's extremely important to at least know that what you're doing is working so you know where to allocate your time and energy, right? So for example, like if you're spending 500 bucks on Facebook, 500 on Instagram, and 500 on Google, it'd be great to know where your customers are coming from so you can start allocating more towards that. So whether you're tracking it through an offer, a store visit, or a credit card swipe, what really matters is that you can do one of the three and it works for your business so that you know where to allocate your efforts, basically.

Shane Murphy (06:45.55)

I feel like that's a really crucial reason behind it is so many people waste money in marketing and that's almost the bad taste that most restaurants have in their mouth of I've tried marketing, I've done all these different tools and things and at the end of the day I have no idea how it was working for me and so I stopped doing it and I don't know if it was good or bad or I'm doing these two things and they have the exact same mechanism for tracking.

Brett Linkletter (07:06.247)


Shane Murphy (07:14.702)

but is one of them not producing anything, you can optimize your returns so much better if you just know Facebook got me this, Google got me that, and I'm gonna treat it differently.

Brett Linkletter (07:21.095)


Brett Linkletter (07:26.567)

Yeah, yeah, honestly though, it's funny because clients come to us and the whole pain point we saw for, honestly, is just that. Like our whole sales pitch is like, all right, how many new customers you gain per month? They're either gonna have an answer or they're not. Whatever the answer is, our follow -up question is always, how are you producing these customers? And usually they think they have an idea.

But when you dig down into it and you ask the specific questions of like, how do you know this is working? How is it actually working for you? And the extent of how well it's working or not, they never know. And so then you find out, so you're telling me you're spending three grand a month and you don't even know if it's working in the slightest. That's where you see the prospect on the other side of the call, start thinking and start sweating like, wait, my God, I've spent how much now on this for how long? And it crazy to me that no one thinks about this, all right? Like it's.

So obvious to you and I, but like, man, I would hate to just spend $3 ,000 a month unaware of any kind of profitable outcome for me. It's crazy. You know, anyway.

Shane Murphy (08:35.31)

Yeah. And you know, in our world, there are like two types of marketing. There's customer acquisition to bring new customers into the door. And then there's retention marketing to help increase their purchase frequency of people who are already our customers. Can you talk maybe a little bit about the difference in how restaurateurs should think about these two types of marketing?

Brett Linkletter (08:58.823)

Well, first and foremost, it's a lot more expensive to acquire a first time customer than to bring someone back. Here's what I'll say too, by the way, because people always ask us, well, how do we know they're new customers? We only want new customers. And I'm always like, dude, who cares? Like whether they're new or returning, to be honest with you, like, look, as long as you're getting X percent more customers or more tickets per month, shouldn't that be all that matters?

Dude, if you had 500 customers that came back every month and that was good for you, who cares if it was another 500? As long as you're getting 500 tickets a month that worked for you, fine, whatever. Now obviously we're talking about a lot more in most cases. But back to your question, look, new customer's gonna cost more, returning customers are incredible. From what we've seen, you've probably seen the same in your guys' business, if you get someone to come back just three times, the chance that they're gonna be a lifetime customer is pretty damn high. So.

Like for us also in the very beginning, when we get someone new in the door, we're doing tons of stuff to bring them back fairly quickly and make sure they have that good experience. So it's extremely important. I mean, it's like, and also in today's world, by the way, right? Like you look at the restaurant space, the restaurant space is weird in the sense that there's lots of ways that someone can buy from you, right? So like, it's a lot different than it was just 20 years ago, right? So for example,

I know you guys help a lot with like online ordering, right? Pushing online orders or phone orders, for example, right? Through maybe text message marketing. Man, best model in the world is hey, run an ad, drive in some store traffic, you get that store visit, now someone comes to the restaurant, we either have their data now for remarketing, we've captured a phone or email, now we can remarket to them after that you do online, you wanna do a catering, a private event, whatever, that, let's just say $50 ticket just turned into.

400 bucks because they also just booked some small catering order like that's the craziest opportunity in the world and In our business, we call this the chain marketing framework by the way So it's like it's a chain of events to get someone to not just come in multiple times But do catering do private events like book a cooking class if you guys do that, you know, something like that There's there's there's a lot more cash you can make from one individual customer when you get a little more creative on the remarketing front But no one thinks like this

Brett Linkletter (11:20.359)

Ever. It's crazy to me.

Shane Murphy (11:23.566)

Yeah, and these are principles that, like you said, in other industries get applied often, but restaurants have very unique setups that historically inhibit some of this. It's not an e -commerce driven exchange. You have direct online ordering for a percentage. You have third -party marketplaces. You have your call -in customers. You have your in -store customers. You might have a drive -through. There are all these different ways. And then,

Brett Linkletter (11:39.399)


Shane Murphy (11:53.038)

Events are happening at the store, you know cooking classes all of these channels that just don't exist for like a retail outlet and It makes it really important that you have to manage that that life cycle and that journey of the customer to keep them coming back because their first visit most people don't come back and If you can get them, I think you said that third visit earning them into that lifelong customer and

Brett Linkletter (12:19.623)


Shane Murphy (12:22.158)

That's so crucial. What advice would you have for a restaurateur that's beginning their marketing journey and they're trying to focus on taking that new customer to that lifelong customer in those first few visits? How would you change those touch points early on versus later on in their journey?

Brett Linkletter (12:44.839)

Yeah, I think, okay, so the first visit for us, we always recommend to our clients is extremely important. First and foremost, like majority of the time, restaurants we talk to, no matter how good or bad they are, it seems to me, and look, I'm speaking on behalf of a service that we don't necessarily help with, but we do kind of coach on a little bit just because we've seen it.

Not enough servers are good at like upselling or like talking about the restaurant menu in general, like at all. Like it's, it's, it's one of those things where, again, we're not the right team to like provide the best coaching on this. Like there's tons of other like great companies out there that do like staff training in this regard, but I hear a ton from our clients. Like, I can't get my servers to like upsell my dessert. I can't get them to do this or that. I want to push more liquor sales. Like that's like an internal thing.

that has to happen and that will increase the rate of someone coming back, the return visit, because they're getting to try all the great things about the restaurant that they're in. And because now they've had one or two or three more things they really liked, now the chances of them coming back are much higher. That's the first thing. Now we're not, again, the team that solves that from a training perspective, but our new product, Dishio does in some degree. So what's really cool about it is,

If you're in the restaurant, it's a QR code menu, right? NFC or QR code menu. Now, some people think, I don't like QR codes, like whatever. The benefit of it is this. Someone comes in, they scan that QR code. It's not like a PDF menu. It looks beautiful, it looks great. It kind of looks almost like Uber Eats. Like it's very easy to navigate, whatever, right? When you click on an item, it actually is going to upsell other items automatically. So if I click on the steak,

it's gonna suggest other items. It might say something like, like the ribeye goes really well with our Pinot Noir, mashed potatoes and asparagus. So brands that are using it right now, they're seeing an uptick in their average ticket by about five to 10%. They're also now getting able to remarket to that guest who just came in, whether it's through a Facebook ad, an Instagram ad or whatever, what does that do? Well,

Brett Linkletter (15:03.687)

First of all, we raised the average ticket, we got them to buy more, which is gonna hopefully give them a better experience. Now we have their data and we can remarket to them directly after to come back in again, to try some new seasonal thing, whatever. So that's kind of what I would say as far as getting people to come back more often is like, dude, get them to try more stuff, give them a great experience, and then remarket to them immediately after. Just because someone had a great experience doesn't mean they're gonna come back very quickly.

But like, for example, okay, here in Miami, there's a, dude, one of my favorite steak houses here is called Dirty French Steakhouse. It's a great place, love it. But I'm not going there all the time. But guess what? They're also, I don't think, really running any ads. But when I'm thinking about where are we gonna go tonight, and I'm not wondering, I'm asking my girlfriend, no one can decide, if they just popped up and reminded me for a second, yeah, you know, we're still here. The chances I would go, go up significantly, right?

And it was, it was actually really funny because I was, as you know, I spent part of my time in Brazil. I'm pretty much half the time, Miami, half the time in Sao Paulo. One thing I noticed about Brazilian restaurants is, and this is, this is Brazil in general. They don't do a lot of local Google ads. so when we searched like local keywords in Brazil for restaurants down there, there's not a whole lot of search, but Americans do a ton of local Google searching.

Shane Murphy (16:32.654)

Yeah, absolutely.

Brett Linkletter (16:32.967)

And, my God, like it's, it's a, it's a lot. and I didn't even know how much more it was until I was living in Brazil and saw the difference. So like brands that just aren't doing, whether it's the remarketing or the initial advertising, like the, the opportunity is massive. Like there's, there's a lot of search volume on a local level. People searching, you know, best steak house near me, best this year, mean whatever, but it's.

You know, the last aspect is, is we talk about like collecting someone's data, giving them that first good experience, but also, you know, your guys since too, like, I mean, collecting like first party data, phone or email. I mean, Facebook and Instagram, all these social platforms, they've changed a lot over the years of like what your reach is going to be. Right. You own someone's phone number or email. It's like, it makes things tremendously easier to get back in touch with someone, you know.

Shane Murphy (17:27.63)

And that's where like the remarketing really hits the ground running when you have that direct line of communication to the individual. You know they just came in and then let's get them back as quickly as possible. Maybe talk about the collecting of that customer information because that's another place where restaurants hit roadblocks is well,

Brett Linkletter (17:32.231)


Brett Linkletter (17:38.247)

Mm -hmm.

Shane Murphy (17:53.774)

I would use a system to send them a text message like Boostly or something like that, but I need to collect information and that's a crucial component to begin retention marketing specifically. How does a restaurant go about that?

Brett Linkletter (18:11.687)

there's lots of ways. I mean, look, orders online, you're collecting someone's phone and email probably, hopefully, hopefully, which is great. and then using like our product dish show in store. I mean, it's basically it's, it's a QR code menu. It's a really beautiful menu, but there's an opt -in functionality that hopefully by the time of launching this podcast, it'll be live. So it's brand new. It's a functionality come out very, very soon, but basically it's like, you're looking at the menu.

And there's basically gonna be like a little pop -up that's like, hey, first timer here, by the way, you should join our club and, you know, be part of our list. Maybe give them an offer, whatever the case. The thing is like we were talking about maybe earlier too is like, we don't do the, you know, we don't do like any texting through Dishio. So we need to partner with someone like yourself too, in that sense, in the sense of, hey, we can help you collect the phone and email, but then we basically would send it over to Boosley and help you guys in that capacity.

But it always is interesting to me, because you look at brands and how obsessed they are with trying to build a following or get likes on a photo. And it's like, for what reason? If you just applied that same energy just to building a phone or email list, how much more effective that would be? I mean, what's the phone open rate at this point? It's like 96%, something crazy?

Shane Murphy (19:38.83)

Yeah, pretty much every text is getting read.

Brett Linkletter (19:41.063)

Text. Yeah, every text game. So it's like, but the reach on Instagram drops every year. So it's like, where do you want to allocate your energy? Like I think you look, I'm not putting down social media completely. I mean, I think it's good to have a great looking feed and this and that. And it's funny because especially in Brazil, they put way more energy on their organic reach and growth versus like the paid side. like they, they got the most professional pages ever, but in store, what they're really smart about too is like,

When you're in the restaurant there, a nice restaurant in Brazil, they'll pull up the Instagram and they'll show you dishes. Like the waiters are trained to show you the dishes, visuals. For me, especially before I spoke any Portuguese, it was extremely helpful because I didn't know what I was ordering. So yeah, man, look, there's a lot of ways to do it from, again, online, QR codes in store, just your website, having an opt -in form on your website. So many brands don't even have the basics.

Sending a receipt through your phone, like you go to the restaurant, put in your phone number, get the receipt. my God, easy. I don't know, actually, do you guys know on, like I know Open Table, obviously a lot of restaurants, a lot of people booking through Open Table. Do restaurants get access to the phone and email through that? Or no? They do, okay.

Shane Murphy (20:57.55)

They do. They do. OpenTable doesn't collect the opt -in consent, but you have the data and then you can go and facilitate that through other systems, but you absolutely have that. You'll have it through online orders, reservations, you'll have it through your point of sale if you're storing it during a call -in process, your phone vendor. There's a lot of sources that are hard to dive in and get data from.

Brett Linkletter (21:05.543)


Brett Linkletter (21:12.487)

Okay, that's huge.

Brett Linkletter (21:22.855)


Shane Murphy (21:26.894)

And so you do kind of need to use systems like yours and ours to get all that data together in the first place and then facilitate the opt -in process and market. But there is so much more data today that a restaurant has access to than what they had eight to 10 years ago when you and I were starting our businesses. And the impact of that following on social media.

Brett Linkletter (21:50.535)


Shane Murphy (21:55.342)

is dramatically less than what it was eight to 10 years ago when you and I were starting our businesses. Society has changed and the marketing strategies that are necessary for a restaurant to really have great growth and long lasting success has changed through the last decade for sure.

Brett Linkletter (22:02.471)

for sure.

Brett Linkletter (22:16.199)

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's like, I look at, I look at again, the growth we actually, we just did a cool YouTube about this recently, but just look at over the last 20 years, how the world has evolved in other industries like e -commerce. And then look what's happened in the restaurant space. Like the restaurant space is arguably one of the fastest changing industries in the world, but they're so slow to adopt changes. I mean, like.

Google and Metta when they first launched their self -service ad platforms. Restaurants were the last guys to get on board. I mean, it's just like, it's just they move so slow in comparison and it's, there's all this new stuff happening all the time, all this stuff with AI now. Like there are insane opportunities. Google, by the way, I don't know if you saw this. Google just very recently, I think it was this week. Now when you're doing a Google search,

There's the, I forget what it's called, but they call it like the AI, there's like the AI summary now at the top. I think that's what's called AI summary. And Google SEO just completely changed again. And you know, it's like, if you're searching best steakhouse near me, the AI is telling you now based upon new stuff. Like, so you know, restaurants, if they want to be successful, they really should be on the forefront of technology, but they're not, which is the crazy part to me.

Now not everyone's like that, of course not, but the ones who do embrace this new tech, they're the ones who end up winning. And it's like that nine times out of 10 from what I see.

Shane Murphy (23:51.694)

And that's one of the fun things about this industry. I don't think I've ever seen people who are more passionate about their business because they don't start the business thinking, okay, how many dollars are coming in and how does the business side work? They love the food and they love creating experiences and watching somebody interact with what they created.

And so you get this massive passion, but I think that's led to like, hey, I don't have a background in marketing. I don't have a background in business operations. They just have to figure it out. And the more that like people like us who are software providers in the space can help these restaurateurs to really maximize their potential. That's what it's all about.

Like they are living the American dream of they started their own business. They're providing for their family. They're providing for more people in the country than any other business segment. And let's help that industry thrive and survive and help them live that dream. Brett, this has been awesome. There have been so many like nuggets of gold for people. How can people follow you and DineLine?

Brett Linkletter (24:46.502)


Brett Linkletter (25:15.207)

So our website just dineline .co Great resource to check out tons of information on there of what we do and everything Also our new product though dishio dishio .com so either resource But our YouTube is an incredible resource for talk like long -form content explaining real specifics of what we do and I really don't hold back on our YouTube I mean I talk a lot about what we do. So our YouTube just search dineline

You should be able to find it from there on YouTube. And then my Instagram personally, just my full name, Brett Linkletter. I tend to share quite a bit of information as well. I mean, here's the thing too. I always think like, some people think we share too much to the degree of like what we're doing. For us, it's always been extremely helpful. I've always thought like, what I can give out there for free and help people. Like you said, we're in an amazing industry. I wanna share as much as I can. I wanna help as much as I can. And that's kind of one way we do it. So.

Definitely check us out, lots of resources.

Shane Murphy (26:18.702)

Brett, thanks so much for joining us and for sharing all these nuggets and from all of your experiences. Thanks so much.

Brett Linkletter (26:25.799)

Absolutely, thanks.

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