Most of the time, restaurateurs cannot put a finger on whether it is the food, ambiance, crowd, service or the mood in the restaurants that makes them popular. But, data science can decipher what works for your business.
Have you ever wondered why out of the two seemingly similar restaurants with similar kind of menu and location, one does extremely well while the other struggles to survive? Every restaurant owner wants to unlock that magic combination of menu, timing, price, customer engagement, staff and supplies in order to keep clicking and generating incremental profits, while delighting the customers each time. But as the fast and casual dining landscape evolves, it is harder to do business without understanding your customers deeply and connecting with their core values. Analytics and data sciences can now make behavioral insights actionable, and with digital targeting and personalization capabilities, you can make your guests like you more than your competition.
For example, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group collects metrics from its online reservation platform to create a seamless guest experience. “Data-driven personalization is a major key to guests’ perception of quality and satisfaction,” says Charlee Williamson, EVP of the New Orleans-based group.
“The bargain made is the expectation of a better experience in exchange for the personal data surrendered,” she says. Here’s how restaurants are exceeding their customer’s expectations and increasing repeat visits.
Understand customer habits
Data on diner frequency, spend and meal-period preference helps RBRG segment and target guests. For instance, a restaurant offer a discount to a customer who made several reservations in one month.
As for guests who have not visited one of their eight other brands, the marketing team can entice customers with an email deal for their most frequently purchased menu item(s), based on past orders.
In addition to the reservation software, the group uses a dashboard to identify server strengths and opportunities. Managers can track which servers have a high percentage of voids and offer extra point-of-sale training or a lesson on how to better describe menu items.
How many times do customers visit, eat and never return to your restaurant? Once? Four times? It would be beneficial for you to figure out how to keep them coming back, time and time again. You may also discover why folks do not return.
At City Winery, data helps sommeliers cater to Platinum-level members of its Vinofile program. The sommelier can review guests’ order history and recommend rare wines stocked especially for them.
“That human element is so important for how we set ourselves apart,” says Rebecca Spindler, City Winery’s national director of guest services. Members seem to think the personalization is worth the $2,500 annual fee—City Winery has kept every Platinum member since the program began, Spindler says.
But it’s not just premier members getting attention with the help of analytics. Standard Vinofile members, who pay $85 a year, get access to City Winery’s virtual sommelier, which recommends wines based on previous purchases. It’s the most popular feature of the program, says Spindler.
What can you be doing to personalize your customer’s experience? Not only do they sell more, but they feel more connected to the brand. This turns satisfied customers into loyal advocates that convince family members, friends and strangers to check out your establishment.
You are sitting on a plethora of data. Isn’t it time you started using it?