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Boston?s Restaurants & Sports Bar focuses on family with kids? gaming app, augmented reality

In an effort to incorporate families into its marketing strategy, dining franchise Boston?s Restaurant and Sports Bar has launched a new kids program with mobile aspects, such as a game application and a 3D augmented reality game.

Following a strong response from a similar implementation at its Canadian sister brand Boston Pizza, the franchise decided to take part and create an experience more fluid for children and families. As the presence of mobile is only expanding within the food industry, restaurants are seeing the potential in apps for keeping children occupied during meals.

?Kids are important to Boston?s and their expectations of entertainment are changing,? said Brad Bevill, vice president of marketing for Boston?s Restaurant & Sports Bar, Dallas. ?We simply want to meet them where they are. 

?We know that kids drive families? eating decisions. Kids want to be entertained and parents want to be able to enjoy a nice meal with the family without having to worry about how to keep the kids engaged. 

?It?s also a differentiator for us. We wanted to beat the majority of our competitors to market with a full kids experience including mobile app and extensive activity packs that make the kids want to take our brand into their homes.?

Food for thought?
To sit alongside a healthier kids? menu, the app Boston?s All Stars contains mini sports games that are played via augmented reality by holding a smartphone over the kids? menu.

Training activities are available on the app for use outside of restaurants to continue the relationship between the brand and consumer even when customers are not dining.

Developers plan to continue to build the app with additional sports in the future and are encouraging social sharing via the app to keep families intrigued.

Boston Restaurants launched the app to coincide with increased numbers of dining customers given a recent spark in the economy over the past few years, which could give the chain a modern boost and edge given their technological approaches. 

Restaurants strive to accommodate their customers and encourage return visits, and a gaming app allows parents to keep their children occupied during meals.

The app is available on iOS and Android devices. 

Hungry for mobile
Applebee?s launched a recent campaign that exemplified mobile video?s potential to build the brand and drive sales when it is used as part of an interactive, consistent experience across devices, with the chain experiencing a 5 percent sales jump during the first week of the effort.

Applebee?s leveraged YuMe?s new multi-screen video ad unit to target consumers searching for restaurants across television, smartphones, tablets and PC with a video experience showcasing the casual dining chain?s Flavors of Southwest entrees and offer of two meals for $20. With a 79 percent video completion rate, the effort points to how reaching consumers when they are seeking relevant content can help build brand (see story).

Similarly, Pancheros Mexican Grill, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise, debuted a redesigned Web site with streamlined navigation and custom content that will help it engage on-the-go mobile users.

The cleaner, more contemporary site now boasts smoother navigation, eye-catching design and custom content that engages users and reflects the brand's quirky personality. With distinct iconography and vivid photography to accompany the branded content, the goal is to insure the brand shines through, while the aesthetics have also been given a facelift (see story).

As technology continues to evolve, Boston?s Restaurants will maintain its presence to mirror the lifestyle habits of its customers.

?Mobile aspects within the food industry have almost become crucial simply because consumers expect it,? Mr. Bevill said. ?It?s how we live our lives now and kids are learning this from the time their motor skills allow them to use mobile devices. 

?We believe the mobile aspect is as crucial across our business as creating a website was 15 years ago.?

??Final Take
?Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York