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Talk Triggers: Boost your customer experience & retention rates with these word-of-mouth tools.

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

“Talk Triggers” have become a hot new term for active & practical tools used to boost word-of-mouth marketing for your F&B business.

The traditional approach to “word-of-mouth” marketing is simply based on the idea of, “if we deliver a good product people will talk about it.” However, marketing trailblazer Jay Baer famously coined the specific, applicable and practical tool as a “talk trigger”. A talk trigger is essentially a practical strategy that your business can use in a long term marketing campaign or strategy to delight & surprise your customers. When it comes to the F&B industry, this can be one of your pivotal strategies in terms of retention marketing. Keep your customers delighted, and coming back for more. Here are some examples Jay Baer made famous as well as some unique local instances:

1) The Doubletree Hotel cookie

Double Tree Hotel Cookie

Part of the Hilton family now, however going back to the days when the Double Tree hotel started they were famous for their customer experience, starting with a simple and brilliant trick to retain families. Everyone who checks in to the hotel gets a fresh, warm, gooey cookie. Imagine this from family/children angle. If a family with children stay at the Doubletree Hotel, then return home after a few days those kids will be talking about those cookies non-stop with their friends. And here we have some young enthusiastic evangelizers.

2) The “corona-burger” in Vietnam

Hanoi Coronaburger

In February when the Corona virus started its brutal onslaught on the world, a restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam infamously created Corona-shaped burger buns. This was a talk-trigger that hit globally viral proportions being reported by international news institutions such as Reuters. It added a light-hearted twist to an otherwise deadly situation which has since thrown the world into chaos. Most importantly however, it boosted traffic to his restaurant like never before.

3) Coca Cola: The “share a coke” campaign

Restaurant Marketing
Share a Coke Campaign

To revive global sales the international drinks behemoth famously launched it’s “share a coke” campaign, in which they ingeniously printed common people’s names on their products.

The result was that 1.25 million more teens tried a Coke during the following summer and sales of participating Coca-Cola packages rose by a phenomenal 11% in the US. Source:

If you want to hit the Instagrammers with what they want, here is your solution. Create an amazing reason for them to share your content, not only reducing your own work-load but creating a sensational user-generated marketing campaign.

4) Skip's kitchen, a chance to win a free meal

Everyone loves free stuff, and that can be your most basic Talk Trigger. With every order give your customer a chance to win something free, or to have their entire order free based on a raffle system. Skips kitchen is a family restaurant based in Sacramento, California serving simple American staples such as Burgers, fries ETC. Upon sitting at the table, a friendly member of the wait staff will present you with a deck of playing cards, if you pull the joker your entire meal is free! And here are the results:

restaurant marketing
Direct results show in YELP reviews

5) Japanese BBQ in Taipei, kiss for a free plate of Meat

Japanese BBQ kiss for free meal
The wall of fame

I was in Taipei a few years ago with my friends including a couple at a Japanese BBQ. The restaurant, Kanpai Yakiniku, was quite expensive in general, however they did offer one interesting perk for couples. If you kissed for at least 10 seconds with an MC at your table, loudly announcing to the rest of the restaurant that couple A at table number 5 will be kissing for a free plate of meat. It's not as simple as that though: you will be serenaded by the staff and rest of the clientele clapping along during the entirety of the 10 seconds with loud music, and your photo will be taken and put on the wall of fame. This is the only food experience I remember from my two day trip to Taipei, just because of the ridiculousness of the whole event, the embarrassment of my friends and me laughing the entire time. The food was good too!

RELATED: The Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing to Grow Your Small Business

6) Eddie's NY diner, ridiculous and engaging messenger experience

As a food & beverage marketing consultant based in Vietnam I am hyper aware of customer experiences in Vietnam. There are very few places that engage their customers in a real and meaningful way that truly engages and delights customers. With one exception, Eddie's NY Diner and Deli. This is based entirely on their ethos: Hospitality. The entire team from the parking guard all the way up to the owners will go out of their way to make your experience a delight. Apart from your obvious assumptions: extremely friendly staff, options to modify your food, free vouchers if anything did not meet your expectations, the real talk trigger comes via their ordering system. If you order direct via Facebook messenger, the conversation will go something as follows:

Since this experience I have pushed my friends in Saigon to order via FB messenger just simply for that experience of engaging with such a friendly, ridiculous and engaging service. I also push my F&B customers to find their own unique way of engaging and delighting their own customers based on Eddie's success.

How do you employ talk triggers in your business?

Jay Baer, the creator and evangelist of talk triggers describes the criteria to make your customers advertise your business for free with these tools as follows:

A) It must be remarkable

This goes to the very essential root of the word "remarkable", will people remark about your business, service or product?

B) It must be Relevant

Don't do something remarkable, just for the sake of standing out. Do it because it's relevant to your industry and your customer base AND so it makes you stand out.

C) It must be reasonable

Don't make your talk trigger cast doubt on what is provided, don't cross any lines between realistic and doubtful.

D) It must be repeatable or scalable

This must be easy for your team to understand and repeat for all your customers and all your locations.

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