Restaurant data in marketing
Banks have been doing it for years, the retail sector caught on fast: it’s all about digital accessibility, as ever more consumers expect to perform common transactions via websites and on mobile apps. Now, though once considered something of a Luddite in the tech capacity, the restaurant industry seems to be catching up. And honestly? Apart from gorgeous food and a happy, skilful team, technology is probably the most important investment an operator can make. The trick is knowing what to do next.
According to Toast’s most recent Restaurant Technology report, a whopping 73% of customers believe restaurant technology improves their dining experience and an even more significant 95% of operators feel running as much of the restaurant digitally as possible helps create a more seamless and efficient service.
Indeed, a couple of years ago, everyone was looking to make sure they had all the digital platforms necessary to keep their business relevant and to satisfy the data-hungry diner. Staff and customers enter digital bookings, orders and payment. Consumers also use the restaurant Wi-Fi to connect to social media and post pictures of their dining experience for all to enjoy.
Crucially, it’s the data these actions generate in the systems that is the real – yet largely unsung, I’d say – superhero in all this. While the technology works hard keeping everyone happy on the ground, it’s the magic it creates behind the scenes that can help operators deliver a really killer blow to the competition as more and more open up to the possibilities that very same technology offers from a marketing perspective too.
Capturing customer data as diners pass through the restaurant provides operators with so much invaluable insight. Information on birthdays, anniversaries, dietary requirements, typical orders, frequency of visits – it’s all there in the system. With some nifty analysis of this easily accessible data, operators can get a real handle on what customers want. That, in turn, can feed the marketing. Think emails, tailored to the customer to encourage the vegetarians to visit on ‘Veggie Wednesday’ and entice the meat fans on ‘Steak Night Tuesday’. Social media and other engagement platforms also make operators more nimble, with the ability to send out relevant promotions that encourage customers through the door, perhaps on a night when operators know business is typically slower. It’s knowing where to be.
Tracking customer activity through Wi-Fi log-in platforms and seeing their favourite social media channels all point the tech-savvy operator in the right direction. With a little bit of exploration, the data shows operators where to aim their marketing efforts to get in front of as many relevant customers as possible. And it’s all data that’s already there! It’s so exciting to think that, with just a little bit of analysis of the information they have, every restaurant can say the right thing, to the right people, at the right time. Priceless!