Big Data and How Restaurants Can Foster A Strong Relationship With Customers
Wed, April 21, 2021

Big Data and How Restaurants Can Foster A Strong Relationship With Customers

The restaurant industry is focusing on improving customer experience over the past year / Photo by: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock

 

The restaurant industry is focusing on improving customer experience over the past year, according to Chris Hansen of restaurant industry news platform Restaurant Dive. For example, McDonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield to leverage big data in order to revolutionize and personalize its offering. Hence, there is increased pressure for restaurants and QSRs to be on par with their fast-paced, tech-driven customers. 

This is just the beginning of big data, at least for restaurants. The big data revolution can range from optimizing the ordering process or enhancing their re-targeting efforts. Nowadays, people are spending more money on food who expect an enjoyable experience from a restaurant, regardless if they dine-in or order takeout from its mobile app. 

Big data will continue to create significant impacts on the food industry. Therefore, restaurant marketers need to understand why customer data plays a critical role in bolstering customer experience.  

How Big Data and Analytics Are Changing Restaurants

Since the restaurant industry’s annual sales are valued at $799 billion. Is customer data really relevant? Yes, it is because data helps marketers understand and speak to their customers, regardless of the industry. Aside from that, customer data also makes it easier for marketers to optimize their marketing strategy for maximum impact and efficiency. 

Leveraging key information about their customers’ behavior, location, weekly routines, and order preferences allows marketers to categorize customers within “customized audience segments for improved targeting.” By understanding the varied preferences and habits of customers, restaurant marketers will be able to offer more personalized interactions and deliver more effective marketing and remarketing efforts. 

Co-founder of Innovorder Olivier Loverde asserted that restaurants need to understand what is going on inside the business, stated Erin Tallman of ArchiExpo, an e-magazine. For a restaurant to bolster their efficiency and the dining experience, it has to start with how a customer orders and pays for their food, according to the Michigan State University. 

Restaurants are using a variety of digital tools such as kiosks, table-side tablets, and mobile apps. Other than providing customers with a more convenient paying and ordering process, restaurants can utilize the aforementioned tools to mine data from a customer’s order history. By using data, restaurant managers can create datasets of customer purchasers profiles through qualitative analysis. 

Big Data and Digital Tools

Let’s say a customer orders from a kiosk, said Loverde. The camera then gathers the person’s details such as their sex and facial expressions. The data collected by the camera can be used to provide a different menu or change the images of the food products, tailoring a chain’s products to the customer. This data-gathering process helps increase the sales of restaurants. 

If data-gathering sensors are placed strategically, a restaurant can monitor the behavior of their customers and employees, which helps enhance efficiency concerning wait times and traffic flow. For example, Cava, a chain of Mediterranean-style restaurants, collected customer-flow data from sensors installed along on its queues to improve the ordering process as well as the dining experience of its customers. 

Even IoT can be used to monitor inventory and food preparation in the kitchen, thereby making the process more efficient and accurate. Given these sources of data, restaurants should be prepared to “integrate their systems for effective data warehousing.” This includes implementing adaptable and agile data models. The implemented models should work for data analysts, enabling them to seamlessly acquire data from various gathering points. 

Restaurants should enrich that data by applying relevant metrics and predictive models like historical sales trends, the number of new versus returning customers, and the frequency a food item is ordered to boost business intelligence and gain competitive advantages. 

Restaurants should enrich that data by applying relevant metrics and predictive models like historical sales trends, the number of new versus returning customers / Photo by: HelloRF Zcool via Shutterstock

 

Strengthening Customer Relationships 

Building a loyal customer base should be easier than ever given the amount of data restaurants gather from their guests. Restaurants should remember that each customer group, namely loyal, one-time, and on-the-go customers, have their own preferences. Therefore, these groups expect dining establishments to prepare different marketing messages that appeal to their preferences. 

For loyal customers, chains should value their patronage by utilizing data to create a rewards program or offer them occasional discounts on their favorite products. As for one-time customers, restaurants can send a survey via email about their dining experience, which shows that chains care about their guests. The survey also aids in gathering insights on how to provide a better dining experience for future customers. 

Finally, it is recommended for restaurants to “provide greater value and convenience” to on-the-go customers by leveraging first-party customer data to optimize the user interface of their mobile app or website. Implementing a digital loyalty program for this customer group is a wonderful idea too. 

Building a loyal customer base should be easier than ever given the amount of data restaurants gather from their guests / Photo by: wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock

 

Putting Big Data Into Action 

Restaurants need to formulate a data-driven engagement strategy to grow their customer base and convert guests into loyal customers. Data makes it possible for dining establishments to interact with different audiences based on their interests. Most importantly, harnessing big data is important, but effectively interpreting it is the key to understanding and meeting customers’ expectations. 

Big data and analytics are indeed game-changers in the restaurant industry. Hence, it is up to restaurant marketers to leverage customer data to drive their business to success.