Spanning the size of 20 football fields, enjoyed by over 65,000 attendees, and offering thousands of the best food samples available, last month saw the biggest convention center in North America play host to the National Restaurant Association Show (NRA Show).
Chicago’s McCormick Place brought together all the hospitality industry’s main players to discuss their challenges, opportunities and threats, as well as ways of creating the eateries of the future.
Among those delighted to be in attendance was Pete diCoio, Partner Sales Executive at Como, who spoke with Jennifer Levanduski, Director of Marketing at Revel Systems, about advice for restaurants that want to keep up with their ever-evolving industry.
“I think the best place to start is where restaurants today are failing—that’s loyalty and the term loyalty in general,” he stated. “The word loyalty is dead; we hate using it. We're trying to redefine what loyalty is, and in restaurants today, they have these generic apps that are really just for marketing. But it's personalization through personalized communications that will drive revenue for the business. Restaurants today are not using loyalty in the best way they can and Como is really trying to redefine that.”
Taking note from Amazon
Restaurants are performing a number of different actions to make sure they can promote loyalty within their customer base. One way of achieving this goal is to recognize each person’s interests and deliver personalized messages and offers to drive their spend forward.
Some of the hospitality industry’s leaders have used this approach to good effect, but inspiration can be taken from lots of different places, according to diCoio.
“I think the easiest thing is to look into what e-commerce businesses are doing. Amazon does so well that 35% of their purchases come from some type of personalized offer. They use something called the logged-in approach, and we're doing the same thing at Como.”
Revel is one company which is benefiting from Como’s technology within its point of sale (POS) devices. The integration allows Revel clients to record the actions of their customers and use the insight as a base for future communications with them. A key feature is the ability to keep up with what customers are buying, regardless of what information they’re willing to share.
“When customers are coming up to the Revel POS, whether they are an app user or not for that business, they're coming up to the cashier. They can be identified via a phone number, or any other type of member ID that you might want to use. Essentially, they are always logged in.
“Our integration with Revel is allowing us to pull details on the who, what, when, where, why, and how much was spent. This means it can go beyond basic segmentation of males, females, or age group. We can segment audiences on the basis of items, stores, or days of the week; it's really limitless. From there, we can start creating different types of campaigns through automation.”
The human factor
A point that diCoio was keen to address centered on the appeal of Como over some of the other solutions on the market.
During his interview at Revel Systems' booth during the NRA Show 2018, diCoio stated that loyalty is not an easy hurdle to navigate, and that restaurants are tricked into believing that a platform or a piece of hardware can solve all their problems.
“People are choosing us because we take a different approach. You know, I tell businesses every day, there's a human component to what we do. If you don't have that inside of your business, if someone's walking into your store and if it's not ‘Hey Sarah, how are you? What's it going to be? Number 12 today, no onions? You got it, take a seat.’ If you don't have that today, you're missing something already.”
According to diCoio, restaurants are getting in touch with Como because its team can talk about the kind of things that go into building loyalty. Another advantage is the lack of additional hardware with Como and Revel, as everything is built into the POS.
From the first exchange, the conversation moves onto questions around customer service, the product being sold and the efforts at retaining customers once they’re engaged. DiCoio highlighted that it is “five to 20 times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an old one,” so it makes sense for Como to discuss ways of doing that.
Beyond this, a lot of focus is applied to educating restaurants over the realistic, non-invasive approach that has taken Como to great heights in recent years.
“We're not forcing them to download an app; we're not forcing anybody to be part of a club and get targeted in a way that they don't want to.
“We provide a very realistic approach, we talk about the human component and beyond that, for the price and value that we deliver with Revel, there's not a competitor in our space that is coming close to what Como does in that regard.”
Here is the full interview from NRA Show 2018 with Revel Systems:
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