While running a restaurant might seem like one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs around, those in the trade will tell you the amount of hard work involved in running a successful business.
An initial blockade is presented by the complex tasks of management, where gauging capacity, ordering ingredients and tracking inventory threatens to tint the simple joy of putting a smile on a customer’s face.
Added to a hectic schedule are the external factors at play, like the enhanced level of competition and exploratory nature of customers that are always looking to try new things.
The number of insolvencies across the UK restaurant industry last year rose by a fifth compared to 2016, as nearly 1,000 establishments closed their doors for good. Supporting these figures are reports of double-digit restaurant closures around chains like Byron, Jamie’s Italian, and Handmade Burger Co., highlighting that even the more established names aren’t safe from the axe.
To escape the pressure, today’s establishments need to be able to cater to their customers via intelligent means. Big data and business intelligence give restaurateurs better means of ensuring customers are given the experience they not only deserve but have now grown to expect.
If you’re wondering how data can increase sales and satisfaction around your restaurant, here are a few tried and tested techniques:
Apply the personal touch
An effective way of driving revenue is to cater to each customer’s unique preferences. This, in turn, promotes loyalty around your brand, which can translate to customers either spending more with you or simply visiting more often.
In order to apply a personal touch, you must first understand what it is that makes your customers visit your restaurant in the first place. Now, while even smaller chains might encounter issues with knowing the preferences of every customer, there are solutions which enable them to keep tabs on their purchase history.
Take the use of point of sale (POS) technology for logging transactions and feeding them into a customer engagement platform, like Como Sense. A restaurant owner can then segment each diner into a group and use their preferences as a base for targeted messaging across various platforms.
As a real-life example of this in action, a restaurant might communicate a special offer around their vegetarian menu for those that had repeatedly ordered meat-free items.
Research states that 59% of consumers believe personalisation has an impact on what and with whom they buy, proving the effectiveness of these subtle touches.
The data-driven menu
If you’ve ever worked in the hospitality industry, you’ll know that your menu can create a whole manner of issues. Everyone has an opinion over meal selection and promotion methods, with little in the way of an ideal solution.
All of these conflicts become a thing of the past if you’re willing to let your data do the talking. As restaurant owners can utilise technology that tracks what each customer is buying, they can effectively build their menu on what’s happening around them.
For instance, if the data reveals that a chef’s favourite isn’t selling too well, there is a good case to take it off the repertoire and focus on something else. The smart alternative would be to run a campaign that offers incentives to loyalty programme members to see if the issue lies in the dish’s promotion and not with the dish itself.
With data at your fingertips, you can make considered decisions around things like pricing, food and drink selection and promotion, based on a solid bank of insight.
One of the pitfalls of restaurant ownership is the inconsistent level of traffic that floods through your doors.
Most restaurants experience some quiet periods that squeeze your accounts and dampen the atmosphere.
Maybe your establishment is the place to be over the weekends, but given reports of fewer people eating out in general, driving business during the weekdays might be a little more complex.
What your customers need is an incentive; a reason for them to head to your restaurant at a day or time where they’d usually be found at home. That’s actually the easy part, providing you have technology in place that allows you to communicate with your audience.
What many restaurants fail to do is gain a full view of their operation and ascertain exactly which properties, days and times are performing the best, and which are lagging behind. From there, you can start to act on this data with promotions that seek to impact your sales around key periods.
Maybe you can run a promotion which attracts customers on certain days of the week or drives them to a specific location. Such insight can radically change how you approach your marketing as, by focusing on the areas in need of attention, you are optimising growth around things that are letting you down.
In the above, we can see that data has a huge role to play in the success of a restaurant. Unfortunately, their owners rarely have the time to sift through information from different places, analyse it, and then work on the best actions to trigger.
If you own a restaurant, you can make it even easier to improve your efficiency by integrating all of your data and systems into one end-to-end platform. EPOS systems and loyalty systems can now easily integrate, and solutions such as Como Sense make it even easier to manage your data with features like mobile ordering, the running of targeted campaigns, the gaining of recommendations and even predictions over the health of your business.
It’s believed that modern restaurants need a competitive edge to stay fresh, relevant, and on top of customer expectations. By using the same technology that leading players use to appeal to customers and make informed business decisions, you too can rise to the top of your game.
Learn more about how Como Sense can take your restaurant to the next level.