Why Customer Data Is Imperative for Restaurant Operations
Building customer loyalty starts with being able to offer your guests an exceptional customer experience. However, running a restaurant can be a tough task even in the best of times.
Publishing date 10/04/2021
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Most restaurateurs dream about growing their restaurant business into a successful restaurant chain someday. However, other restaurateurs may simply be interested in keeping their business local and family-owned for generations to come.

Either way, running and growing a successful restaurant in today’s environment is not for the faint of heart. The restaurant industry has undergone many changes over the past 10 years, with last year’s COVID-19 pandemic turbo-charging the need for digital transformation across the industry.

Social distancing protocols shifted consumer preferences to carry out and deliver instead of dining-in. As this became the new normal for much of 2020, restaurants were forced to improve their level of client service and technological capabilities both online and offline.

In today’s digital age, the effective use of customer data plays a critical role in determining the success of any restaurant. Despite this fact, many restaurant owners and managers are still hesitant or clueless about implementing data analytics in their businesses.

Let’s take a look at why this happens.

Mass marketing vs one-to-one marketing

A few years ago, mass marketing was pretty much the law of the land in the restaurant industry. Many businesses would send an advertising campaign through various marketing channels where they would try to reach millions of customers.

In addition to increased exposure, using the same promotion on a single ad push across multiple channels also helped keep advertising costs down. What ensued was an industry-wide shouting match between competing brands whose main goal was to drown out their competition by making more marketing “noise”.

Over time, however, the flaws of this lazy blanket solution increasingly became apparent. It turns out that today’s customers don’t actually like being treated like a number. Instead, they are drawn to brands that provide them with personalized marketing campaigns and shopping experiences.

In other words, being “louder” is not a reliable indicator of increased sales and customer loyalty. And in this white-hot competitive environment, that’s what matters.

Using a “one-size-fits-all” mass marketing strategy is costing your restaurant lots of money in missed revenue opportunities. Fortunately, implementing effective 1:1 marketing strategies in your business can help it thrive even in tough economic conditions.

Restaurants provide tons of valuable customer data

The restaurant business is a lot more data-intensive than people give it credit for. Whether you’re getting customer data from internal sources like your POS, or an external source like social media, restaurants receive tons of customer data daily.

However, trying to compile data from your customers, sales, and products can be an incredibly manual process. In most restaurants, this usually means having to constantly copy/paste customer data across multiple Third-Party systems.

Not only is this time-consuming and inefficient, but the costs of buying licenses for each software can quickly add up too. Then, of course, comes the question of what to do with this treasure trove of customer data once you have it.

The traditional answer is that you need to invest in even more technology to help break that data down. Needless to say, this scenario does not present a compelling investment opportunity for the average restaurant owner.

Instead of relying on stale mass marketing tactics, restaurants can now use SmartPOS solutions by Milagro to create highly detailed customer profiles based on their behaviors. This allows restaurant marketers to interact with their customers in more meaningful ways.

Let’s explore why customer data is imperative to any restaurant operation looking to stay competitive and relevant.

SmartPOS can help you make the most of your data

Building customer loyalty starts with being able to offer your guests an exceptional customer experience. However, running a restaurant can be a tough task even in the best of times.

Instead of fixing kitchen mix-ups or responding to a negative online review, your staff should be busy providing stellar customer service, boosting guest retention rates, and increasing sales.

Without the right system, however, it’ll be next to impossible to know what they want and need from you. The good news is that SmartPOS by Milagro is designed to collect actionable customer insights that will enable restaurants to improve their services and increase revenues.

What is actionable data?

Analyzing your customer data can lead to discovering crucial and actionable insights. These insights will point out what actions need to be taken or how one should approach a problem.

Actionable insights will enable your restaurant to make more informed, strategic decisions. That’s because the decisions you make come straight from the data collected from your sales data or customer feedback.

Here are some of the ways that gaining actionable insights can improve the customer service experience in your restaurant.

The importance of actionable insights

At one time or another, many of us have been forced to make decisions without any data to indicate whether or not the decision is a sound one or not. As a business owner in such a competitive industry like the restaurant industry, it’s important to make as few uninformed decisions as possible.

In today’s market, every opportunity to increase revenue and customer engagement must be pursued. Actionable insights are backed by hard data and not perceptions. Here are a few ways actionable data can help you make an informed decision:

  • Engage more clients:

Restaurant owners are always looking for new ways to increase customer engagement with their clients.

Through the use of actionable insights, restaurants can continue interacting with consumers via relevant recommendations, with each one building on the last to provide top-value to their clients.

  • Build credibility:

Building trust with your customer base has never been more important than it is now. As a restaurant marketer, you must be able to build trust with customers to make them feel comfortable when dining in as well as safeguarding their data.

Studies show that customers are willing to share personal data in exchange for discounted offers and promotions.

  • Increase restaurant sales:

A customer who is actively engaged with a brand they trust is more likely to keep spending money with them through new offers and/or services. SmartPOS integrates advanced POS capabilities to glean actionable insights to create automated campaigns.

Using rich data allows restaurants to target their customers using a smart approach based on their meal preferences and their usual price range.

  • Build a strong relationship with your audience:

Increased engagement, trust-building, and targeted offers all combine to help make everyday life easier for your customers. In a sense, your brand becomes a part of your customer’s life. In the best-case scenario, they’ll even think life would be difficult without your brand.

Using actionable insights will help make your restaurant experience highly relevant to your customer’s lifestyles.

How to get actionable insights

According to recent market studies, over 80% of restaurant operators agree that investing in technology is essential for success in today’s environment. Investing in data analytics may not lead to immediate revenue increases.

However, using systems like SmartPOS by Milagro will provide you with invaluable actionable insights that will help you make the best decisions for your business.

  1. Real-time inventory data:
    Restaurants rely on effective inventory management to run a smooth restaurant service. SmartPOS enables you to track your inventory and analyze those items which contribute the most to your bottom line.

    Using this insight, you can adjust your restaurant menu options accordingly.
  2. Maximize customer ROI:
    SmartPOS makes it easy to target customers by connecting through the channels they prefer and interacting with them in ways that they respond to. This helps build a stronger relationship while also helping restaurants earn more for every dollar spent.

    Whether it’s via email marketing or using Facebook Ads, using personalized marketing has shown consistently better ROI than mass marketing strategies.

Take the guesswork out of your marketing strategies

Personalized marketing strategies are taking the restaurant industry by storm. But with so many businesses running on old-school mass marketing strategies, the difference of which brands succeed and those that stay behind will be determined by those who carefully analyze the results of each campaign.

The good news is that customer data is constantly being accumulated behind the scenes so you can use it to improve your marketing efforts.

Remember, with data, there’s no need to play guessing especially in such a competitive environment as we live in. Using customer data to create highly personalized marketing campaigns will provide a huge boost to your ROI.

SmartPOS by Milagro

Using SmartPOS solutions by Milagro makes running your business practices and processes a lot more efficient and effective. SmartPOS is a cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) system that enables you to capture valuable client data insights that can lead to increased revenues for your restaurant.

Switching to SmartPOS by Milagro is affordable and will give you the full financial control you’ve always dreamed of having for your restaurant. SmartPOS makes it easy to accept all the payments and can help provide your customers with a superior client experience.

The competition may be as tough as ever in the restaurant industry but setting realistic expectations and using reality-based tactics can increase your chances of achieving your goals.

For information about all of our capabilities go to the Milagro website.

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