Today, everything is about personalization. Our smart homes adjust the climate, turn on our favorite playlists, and heat the spa before we walk in the door at the end of a long day. The lights transform around us based on our mood and activity. Our day-to-day living is a customized experience that was once limited to our imagination.
This is the world that people have come to expect, and fast-casual restaurants are delivering. They’re harnessing big data and automation to provide customers with their customized choices before they even place the order.
Casual and fine dining restaurants can also get in on this trend through the use of technology. Information is power, and the insights it reveals can set us apart from our competitors.
Data analytics has become a cornerstone of many companies’ decision-making processes. It enables businesses and restaurants to better understand their customers and target market, increasing the success of marketing campaigns with a customized approach and expanding while minimizing risks. In addition, it helps them predict market trends and adjust their businesses to stay ahead of market upheavals.
If 2021 was the year of the rebound, it was also the year of consolidation and public offerings for the restaurant industry. Mergers and acquisitions were driven by plentiful capital and bank financing. Restaurant Brands International added Firehouse Subs to its holdings. Fat Brands added numerous acquisitions to its portfolio, and BBQ Holdings added two more brands for a total of seven concepts.
In the IPO world, more than five restaurant companies went public, the largest number since 2015. These included Krispy Kreme, Dutch Bros, First Watch, Portillo’s, and Sweetgreen. So what drew these restaurant chains to IPOs? In part, the rush to an initial public offering was due to historically high valuations and investors showing interest in concepts that showed the potential for strong sales and steady growth.
To help ensure IPO success and a successful M&A, a company needs to open more successful locations and grow its customer base. While that recipe for success sounds easy to follow, it takes a lot of work. Today, brands are turning to customer data analytics to develop detailed customer profiles that provide the information to scale successfully. In addition to demographics and psychographics, it tells them how far their guests are willing to drive to get to the restaurant, where they live, and the stops they’ll make along the way.
With this in hand, they can search areas across the U.S., finding the perfect spot to open their next location based on matching this consumer profile. In addition to determining their expansion plans, it’s also a significant factor in personalized marketing efforts and product offerings.
Intentional and Personalized Marketing
Brands are now focusing their attention on digital strategies and the customer experience. They’re obtaining actionable insights into the customer’s journey, and building loyalty while increasing sales. Though slow in coming, the restaurant industry is now transforming into a technology-centric, data-driven industry.
Apps, loyalty programs, and mobile technology are a part of this customized marketing experience that reaches customers through personalized messages, relevant offers, and customized menus. Restaurant brands are transitioning their marketing dollars toward intentional and targeted campaigns that reach consumers through multiple channels and focus on real-time engagement. This omnichannel campaign includes social media, video, and mobile channels.
Gathering more robust data and analyzing it to develop targeted loyalty programs, personalized menu offerings, and marketing campaigns is more important than ever. Utilizing data to deliver a personalized customer experience is here to stay.
What is personalized service in a restaurant?
Restaurants can provide personalized service by knowing their customers’ preferences and dining histories. You can achieve this by gathering information about your customers.
If you’re concerned about privacy issues, FSR Magazine reported that 84% of customers said they would trust restaurants with their personal data if it translated to a better personalized experience. Almost 80% said they wanted personalized menu recommendations. To ensure brand loyalty, know your customers’ preferences and offer them something exclusive.
How do restaurants collect data?
Restaurants gather data via numerous channels. These include insight from third-party vendors, surveys, free Wi-Fi, apps, loyalty programs, website requests, and more. They use this data to create individual customer profiles that track preferences and other behavior, such as the typical time and day the customers come in. They then use this information to send personalized push notifications and for customized service and product offerings.