Readily available data can help restaurants connect with their customers and strengthen those relationships online – which can be key to remaining competitive
The competitive landscape for restaurants is as intense as ever. No eatery – whether chain or “mom and pop” – can afford to ignore the wealth of data that can help them create and maintain ongoing customer relationships.
At BDEX, we consider this a principle: The more competitive an industry is, the more those in it will need real-time data to enrich those customer relationships. And when we think of competitive business segments, few can beat the restaurant game, with its endless number and variety of competitors.
The winners in any marketplace are the ones who dynamically identify customer wants and needs and fulfill those desires elegantly. But whether it’s an established local chain or the new upscale brasserie in town, how can a restaurant hope to contend with big brands – on both the low and high end – that can dedicate considerable sums to their data-gathering efforts?
First, size isn’t everything
A local restaurant or small chain – where the owners are often on premises and the staff is encouraged to bond with and get to know the patrons – is better able to form real person-to-person relationships with them. This gives them a significant advantage over the large national chains when it comes to creating customer loyalty.
Smaller operations are also closer to the ground. The person using the data is far less removed from the customer than the people running that competing chain from a distant corporate office. This gives small restaurants or groups a massive advantage because when they get their hands on the data, they can understand how it applies to the real world and gain actionable insights from it.
That puts them way ahead of most companies. Case in point: A study from Forrester and DataStax found that 95 percent of companies can’t make sense of customer data and struggle to get much meaningful insight from it.
Fostering “Human Connectivity”
It’s probably a good bet that any successful restaurateur is a good host, adept at making people feel welcome and connecting with them. An effective customer marketing plan supercharges that ability by enabling them to connect beyond their doors and invite customers to come back for new dining experiences.
That begins with the customer list, which operators can cull from point-of-sale data. Transaction data can give restaurants a picture of those patrons, revealing how often they dine at the restaurant, how much they spend, what time of the day they prefer, whether they tend to order from the wine list and those who have visited just once.
By matching that list to customers’ online accounts, restaurants can:
- Connect with them online, through such avenues as social media, email, and newsletters, as well as offline.
- Tailor marketing messages to the customer’s profile to entice them to come in more often.
- Keep the lines of communication open between visits, and even create an opt-in email list that will keep the eatery’s biggest fans in the know on its latest offerings, promotions, and general news.
- Through geofencing, restaurants can use location data to know when customers, or even prospective diners, are nearby and then make efforts to get them to visit.
The most successful restaurant operations will use data to cultivate repeat customers and keep them loyal – which is one of the first things investors look for. Being able to connect with your diners often means they’ll visit more often, spend more and refer their friends and colleagues. That means, of course, more customers. And in such a competitive industry, that can translate to not only surviving but thriving.
BDEX is committed to building the data infrastructure restaurants need to power human connectivity. Call 917-410-6616 or use our website contact form to learn how marketing solutions from BDEX can help you reach out to your best customers and keep them in the fold.