Restaurant Marketing: Turnstyle vs ZenReach

There are some really cool management reporting tools that can be set up in the newer Point of Sale (POS) systems, but most owners don’t take advantage of that. In fact most restaurants are still using prehistoric methods for tasks like establishing their customer base.

I myself recently went to a Chinese restaurant in Kelowna whereby I was handed a pencil and a piece of paper to fill out with some details about myself. The restaurant was trying to incentivise this tedious task with an all-expenses paid trip to a desirable holiday destination. My thoughts on this are that:

  1. My dinner was somewhat disrupted by the waitress informing me of their desire to collect this information from me, and then in completing this survey.
  2. How much time goes into printing the surveys, handing them out, collecting them, counting them, checking them, analysing them, etc. Surely that’s inefficient?
  3. Restaurants are notorious for struggling with cash flow. At what cost to the company does paying for such a large prize come? Is this really necessary to get information out of people?

The questions I generated in this thought process, led me to do some research in this area and I discovered a couple of gems that could and are helping to revolutionise marketing for restaurants:


Turnstyle defines itself as being “An Innovative Wi-Fi Marketing Platform.”  The premise behind it is the simplicity with which it can accumulate relevant customer information for the needs of the restaurant owner. It works as follows:

  1. Your venue offers a Wi-Fi hotspot as a value add and customers are directed to your custom branded log-in page.
  2. Visitors connect to your Wi-Fi via a social profile, email, or phone number which generates a targeted marketing list.
  3. Gain the ability to reward and retain your customers with automated messaging and digital coupons.

Major benefits of the Turnstyle system are as follows:

  • Turnstyle’s Analytics makes it easy for you to collect a wealth of information that you can use to grow your business like being able to interpret information using a variety of graphs, charts and infographics, learn who your best customers are and how often they visit and also analyze the health of your business with more than POS data.
  • The ability to generate a customer contract list is huge as it can be used for driving more repeat business. Collecting email addresses and phone numbers is the first step towards building a profitable relationship with your customers.
  • A better customer experience.A visually pleasing branded login page makes it easier and more appealing for customers to access the Wi-Fi.

Nav Sangha, Owner of Boots & Bourbon Saloon said “we needed a way to gather large amounts of contacts without the hassle. Instead of getting 100 ballots a night, the export is waiting for you the next day.”  This resonates so strongly with me, based on the story I outlined before. Why deal with paper ballots that need to be prepared, counted, analysed and checked again, when you can use an automated system like Turnstyle?

In a nutshell Turnstyle helps restaurants, fast diners, and cafés get the most out of their monthly Wi-Fi expense. Their platform provides one-to-one engagement between restaurants and customers, allowing you – the business owner to reach customers with targeted messaging directly on their smartphones.


ZenReach pitches itself by stating “restaurants across the world love the ease and power of Zenreach.” Similarly to Turnstyle, ZenReach also follows a three part process:

  1. Collect customer data – Automatically collect customer contact info whenever they join your custom-branded free WiFi
  2. Understand your marketing – Keep track of your customers’ contact info, demographics and visit history with this simple, yet powerful, dashboard — and see just who walks back in your business
  3. Send the right message – Make your marketing a personalized experience with help from our automated Smart Messages

Delivering value to customers may seem difficult, but when compared to the paper survey interrupting your dinner, it’s a no brainer. This way customers are empowered to decide if and when they want to provide such information, but are immediately rewarded with free WiFi, as opposed to having a 1/5000 chance of winning a trip.

The instant engagement afforded by ZenReach means you can include special offers, reviews and social media on your login portal to drive engagement while your guest is in your establishment! The first time a customer accesses your WiFi, Zenreach automatically adds them to your marketing database. Each time they come back, we learn more about them—from spending habits and demographics to visit history.

  • Capture context with each piece of contact information, including frequency of visit, gender, or age.
  • Review how many customers used WiFi each day (and how many new customers you’ve added!)
  • Automatically sync emails from OpenTable or purchase data from your POS, and help your marketing reach more customers.

ZenReach’s website has some great info on it, one piece of which is an example profile for a customer. This displays a photo, name, value, date last visited, # of times logged in, age, where they live.

In this ever changing world Turnstyle and Zenreach are offering two similar but equally effective ways of automating and drastically improving the marketing process. I for one, am all for the changes!