When you think of consumer location data, you probably think of proximity ads, like coupons and special offers that get pushed to people nearby. While location data does enable a variety of advertising and marketing initiatives, what’s often overlooked is its broader, strategic business power.
Location informed insights — generated from opt-in data that is thoroughly cleansed and, most importantly, aggregated and anonymized — can provide restaurants with a rich source of information about their current and prospective customers, telling the stories of where they go and what they do there. Armed with these insights, restaurants can better understand the markets in which they operate, the behaviors and motivations of their patrons (and future patrons), the foot traffic patterns in the neighborhoods they serve, and gain the ability to understand the same information about their competition.
From real estate to menu development — here are four ways that you can get started with consumer location data.
How well do you really know your customers’ palates? What opportunities are there for new food or drink items that you’ve not yet explored or marketed? Insights from location data can shed light on these blind spots and reveal untapped opportunities.
For example: if you’re considering adding wine pairings, wouldn’t it be great to know which local wineries or wine festivals your patrons also visit? Understanding that your patrons attend vegan cooking classes or visit specialty chocolate shops might just inspire a profitable new menu item. Location-based behavioral data helps you to both understand your customers on a deeper level, and discover the menu items, events and services that will appeal to them.
Want to know how frequently your customers (and prospects) eat at your competitors’ locations? How far do they travel, and where do they go en route to and after leaving a restaurant? Which restaurant categories and types of cuisine are trending in popularity?
These insights can be invaluable in helping inform restaurant decisions — everything from pricing, to the timing of special events, event when to run free dessert promotions — to better reach your guests in unique and successful ways.
Location data should most definitely be part of your arsenal when considering opening an additional location. What can you learn about the people that frequent or live in that neighborhood? Evaluate the foot traffic patterns in and around your prospective location and consider what it might reveal. Layer on top of that behavioral insights about your target customers and you’ll see whether the location makes business sense, before you sign any contracts.
For example: if you’re the owner of a coffee shop and plan on promoting baked goods, it’d be wise to know first if the folks spending the most time in your area are fitness fanatics.
Location data can also help you understand where to hone and optimize operations so that your restaurant(s) and events run smoothly, and the experience your patrons receive is flawless. Retail store visits, movie premieres and local sports events can all impact restaurant traffic, and understanding these patterns can make the difference between record-setting revenues and being hopelessly understaffed.
Location informed insights can reveal when and where there are lines or underutilized spaces, helping you determine where, when and if you need to add or displace staff or amenities, and also identify opportunities for promotions, signage and even co-marketing partnerships.
With a strategic approach, anonymized location data can help restaurant owners — regardless of business size or cuisine — continue to enhance their offerings, address potential competitive challenges, plan for the busy season and, ultimately, impact the bottom line.