In recent years, the trend toward collecting user data has been at the heart of most business marketing strategies, serving as a way to connect to consumers' preferences and habits. The medical industry, government agencies, and big names in retail have all found ways to improve their services with the help of customer data. But how can restaurants leverage this information? Are there any specific strategies that have proven effective?
The truth is that the restaurant industry has benefitted from data collection as much as any other. In fact, there are a number of unique ways they have learned to gather and use customer ordering data.
Understanding the benefits of customer data shouldn't be hard to understand. The restaurant and hospitality industries have long benefitted from remembering their patrons' birthdays, or favorite foods. Data collection and restaurant Saas analytics help businesses scale-up this benefit, allowing them to stay connected to growing groups of diners.
RELATED READING: 11 Restaurant Technology Trends and Innovations
It's surprising how detailed ordering data can be. If a customer orders, for example, a large green tea latte every Friday at 1 pm, businesses can learn much about what they like to drink, when they like to drink it, and when they will be likely to repeat the purchase. And when companies are looking to develop new drinks or dishes, this information can go a long way toward understanding what's likely to sell, and what isn't. Over time, these data points can be built into full user profiles, allowing businesses to tailor their marketing more specifically.
As much as data collection can tell businesses about customer habits, it can also shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of the business itself. Customers' ordering data can tell a restaurant not only which of its items are the most popular, but what time of day they are most commonly purchased, by what type of person, and whether loyalty programs were used.
When taken together, this amounts to a detailed narrative that says a lot about where businesses are succeeding, and where there is room to improve. For example, if data reveals that online ordering is slow on a particular day of the week, smart businesses could benefit by crafting promotional offers that fill this gap.
It is no secret that most restaurants face stiff competition, and need to find every advantage they can if they hope to succeed. Both social media to loyalty programs have long been used to stay connected to customer bases, though as these strategies become commonplace, even more is expected from businesses who want to stay ahead. Unfortunately, collecting simple customer demographics is no longer enough. In order to find an advantage, businesses need to build full customer profiles, which detail a wide range of habits and preferences.
There are several ways businesses have traditionally collected user data, from tracking customer habits to using third-party sources. In the case of restaurants, much more simple methods can sometimes be used as customers are willing to offer their personal information voluntarily.
Often, restaurants only need to ask and customers will voluntarily offer-up their name, email address, birthday. Usually, this comes in exchange for a free product or service, like wifi or promotional offers. Big names like Starbucks have long requested personal information to log into their wifi services, while Mcdonald's regularly offers discounts on food when customers rate their experience. There is a range of other freebies businesses offer in exchange for data, and the possibilities only continue to expand as time goes on.
In addition to promotional offers, there are a number of ways restaurants can directly collect their customers' data. Rewards programs can instantly create full user profiles that track long-term purchasing history in exchange for various rewards. The added benefit here is retaining the customer's loyalty while also tracking their data.
RELATED READING: Loyalty Programs and Restaurants: How to Make Them Work
Even if customers don't register for a rewards program, their data can still be collected via the restaurant's own online ordering platform. Names, addresses, and order data can all be collected and stored by companies to build user profiles over time.
The other primary way restaurants collect user data is through third-party apps like GrubHub or Cuboh. When users order with these apps over a long period of time, they are able to track their habits and preferences. This can include the types of foods they regularly eat, the times they are most likely to order, where they live, and other factors.
The key with third-party apps is that rather than directly collecting ordering data by asking the customer, they can gather it indirectly. This opens the door to a broader array of information, and specific insights that might not otherwise be possible. Many customers will use the same app to order meals for years at a time, offing deeper and more accurate data.
Data collection is only the beginning of the story. Once all the data is collected and user profiles have been built, restaurant saas can bring artificial intelligence and analytics into play. This allows businesses to get a clearer picture of their customers than ever before. As the technology continues to improve, the picture only becomes clearer, offering greater advantages. Looking to the future, it is clear that customer data is only going to increase in relevance, alongside this year's other top food tech trends.