Life in the restaurant business can be one of the most rewarding around. It can also represent something of a struggle, as the need to boost revenue in the face of rising customer demands weighs heavily on your mind. Increased levels of competitiveness and the cost of keeping a restaurant afloat are also common issues surrounding today’s establishments.
Leading chains like Starbucks are tapping into a resource which can solve a range of issues around profits, experience, satisfaction and more. We’re talking about data and how it can transform the way a restaurant attracts and retains a customer base.
New technologies now enable the collection of huge amounts of data within a restaurant’s four walls; information that can be used for everything from marketing to product trials and franchise management.
Even before any type of investment, it’s likely that your POS already contains a goldmine of information about every existing customer transaction, including past purchases, preferences, and full order history.
Of course, having all this information is worthless if you are unable to analyze it and use it proactively. In order to make the most of your data, you must be able to understand it correctly. Consider the following six tips for making the most of the data flooding into your restaurant:
1. Find growth opportunities
A big advantage of using data is the ability to analyze performance across your operation. This is of great use for a restaurant chain that needs to keep track of each location and work on ways of unlocking growth in certain areas.
Data will enable you to compare how various locations are performing in order to understand which are leading the pack and which are lagging behind. When you add a customer engagement solution into the mix, you can funnel that data back into a campaign which aims to drive traffic to a specific location. For example, you can target nearby customers with personalized coupons or special offers to bring them into that location.
2. Promote specific products
Data creates the opportunity to conduct analysis in granular detail. Moving away from assessing the performance of whole restaurants, we can drill down into the popularity of menu items.
By accurately analyzing the data collected data via your POS, you can find out which products are the most popular. You can then offer special deals to promote new items or renew the enthusiasm around existing ones. An example of this could be an offer which packages a leading item with a less popular one, enabling you to see whether your promotional efforts were at fault.
Personal lifestyle is another big focus for today’s restaurants. Using information from your customer database, you can encourage repeat business by issuing special offers on products you know a customer will enjoy. That could be anything from a new veggie burger for vegetarians or a discount for families that dine together.
3. Maximize customer value
No customer is built the same; each customer will spend a different amount, on different things, and require a unique incentive to get them engaged.
Thankfully you can now segment your customers into groups and analyze their value according to a range of factors, like how recently they visited, how frequently they visit, and how much they spend.
From here, you might want to offer special rewards to your premium customers. Some restaurants report that as much as 70% of their revenue come from their VIP diners. Nurturing those relationships could be crucial to the success of your restaurant.
In addition to that, you might look into ways of incentivizing your less frequent customers to encourage their return. Use data to study which products they prefer in order to personalize the offer and entice them.
4. Increase foot traffic during slow periods
Slow periods are a pain point for most restaurants, but they don’t need to stay that way. By using data to identify what days and times draw the least traffic, you can start to build a communication strategy which focuses on driving business around quiet parts of the week.
Some restaurants have taken to using personalized incentives to attract customers during specific periods. An obvious example would be to offer a special price on two products that a customer really likes during a certain time of day or the week.
Alternatively, it might just be that your restaurant isn’t in the customer’s stream of thought when business is slow. A timely message to promote new menu items or a restaurant feature can prove very effective in these instances.
5. Predict customer behavior
Forecasting is where data gets highly valuable for any restaurant owner. Information on purchases, customer behavior, and spend can shed light on how much business they can expect over a given period.
Having that insight allows the business to not only plan for the future, but also to find ways of maximizing profits from certain customer segments. For example, if you’ve identified a customer group as likely to churn, you can target them with a “we miss you” campaign to incentivize their return and win them back. It’s an approach which is ideal for any restaurant that wants to be more proactive.
6. Replicate your success
Data is effective at identifying ways of growing your business across various domains. Within marketing specifically, you can use it to analyze where your efforts have been successful and allow that to guide your future promotional activity.
It might be that a campaign launched over the holidays helped drive many families to your restaurant. Data will allow you to identify where these success stories are happening and how you can repeat them for a similar outcome.
Turning data into action
Armed with your in-depth understanding of customer behavior, you can now use a customer engagement solution, integrated with your POS, to draw actionable insights and create automated campaigns.
Your campaigns can be adjusted according to your business’s needs, whether that’s to drive loyalty program membership, repeat sales, bring back dormant customers, or make their visits more frequent.
From looking at the above you should start to see how data can bring a number of benefits to the table. What’s important is that you’re finding out ways of using your information for good, with a clear idea of how you can generate, analyze, and utilize data within your operation.
Many restaurants are using customer engagement solutions due to a requirement to centralize the various elements of data-driven marketing. One of these solutions is Como Sense, which enables you to offer personalized customer experiences by targeting people based on their profiles, preferences, and purchase history. That enables you to segment and tag an audience to create specific campaigns based on your own business’s goals.
Restaurants might be facing up to a whole world of challenges, but data can provide you with the competitive edge. Check out the slideshow below to get a glimpse of how the leading chains are using data to their advantage.
Find out how you can leverage your data to drive sales and loyalty. Contact us today for a free demo.