AcutelyCustomer Intelligencemarketing

How Customer Personas Benefit Restaurants

How much do you really know about your customers? Do they listen to music or talk radio on the way to work? What do they do for fun on the weekends? For restaurant businesses that recognize the profit potential of developing a precise customer segmentation strategy, customer personas lay the foundation for prudent decision-making. Research shows that companies using documented customer personas are twice as likely to achieve or exceed revenue goals. That’s a serious ROI relative to a purely time-based investment.

Let’s take a look at what a customer persona is and how it can benefit your restaurant. 

What is a restaurant customer persona?

A customer persona is a fictional character developed from market research, customer interaction, and exhaustive data analysis to represent one of your existing or prospective restaurant customers. 

Let’s call this hypothetical customer Johnny. Johnny is in his mid-40s and comes into the restaurant a few times a week around noon wearing a polo or dress shirt without a tie. A few other guys who tend to fit Johnny’s description and order similar food also frequent your restaurant around the same time of day.

To build a customer persona for this Johnny character, we mix demographic information, such as age, marital status, and profession, with intimate insights into his possible habits, goals, and burdens. The result is a dynamic profile of your “Johnny” customer segment–conveniently organized into a single document.

Multiple personas are created for each unique customer segment and shared throughout every level of restaurant operations. The personas help to unify the team’s understanding of your customer segments and foster a customer-centric approach to decisions making.

Benefits of a customer persona 

Customer personas allow you to anticipate your customer’s needs before they even walk through the door. They foster empathy, which allows you to craft customer experiences that’ll leave people thinking, “man, this place really gets me.” Here are just a few ways customer personas can enhance your business.

Targeted Marketing

“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one” – Meredith Hill 

Generalized marketing doesn’t work. Every business is vying for attention, and unless you can speak your customer’s language, you’ll find yourself lost in a sea of noise. According to research on marketing strategy, targeted ads are twice as likely to convert leads as non-targeted ads. Utilizing customer personas allows you to create content and copy that will capture the attention of a specific customer segment. It helps establish a genuine connection by showing them you understand their interests, problems, and desires.

Customer personas improve conversion rates and enhance value propositions. As a matter of fact, 82% of companies report an improvement in value proposition after integrating customer personas. These businesses can dedicate more time to developing brand perception tailor-fit to the values of the prospects most likely to become new or repeat customers. Customer data analysis from our partners at Acutely helps make sense of large data sets, providing you with the in-depth information needed to build an effective customer persona.

Opening New Locations

As you collect and analyze data to develop your customer persona, you’ll notice the emergence of customer location trends. You might find accumulations of high-value customers living in the same neighborhoods, commuting to work using the same routes, and grabbing their midday meals in the same spots. Restaurant professionals looking to expand their brand and deliver value to customers in more convenient locations will find answers through their customer personas.  

However, a customer persona lacking detail and accuracy can be misleading. You’ll need high-level data informing your customer persona to pinpoint the best possible location for your next restaurant. By tapping into the power of big data and your business’s POS system, Acutely’s data scientists ensure you’ll develop the complex and quantifiable customer understanding needed to inform your expansion strategy. 

Customer Experience

Positive customer experience fosters loyalty, drives repeat business, and amplifies word-of-mouth exposure. Personas help you channel your customers’ perspectives, allowing you to deliver an experience that speaks directly to their desires and stand out from the competition.

Why do customers come to your restaurant? Should you use QR codes instead of physical menus? Should your staff wear white collared shirts or something casual and quirky? Of course, “Johnny” and “Sarah” might have different answers to these questions, but understanding how your decisions will affect each customer segment should be a top priority. From interior decor to menu items, data-driven customer personas help you make strategic decisions about the experience you deliver to your customers. 

Final Thoughts

A persona aligns your business’s direction with your customers’ interests. They provide the framework for a customer-centric decision-making process that helps generate sustainable revenue from loyal customers. If you want to ensure you’re working with the most comprehensive information about your customers, the data scientists and technological resources at Acutely are ready to help. 

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