Over the past few years, big data has changed the way the food industry operates. The data analytics market is one that made a splash, and seemingly continues to grow as it proves its value. In fact, according to Market Research Future, the data analytics market is predicted to hit $132.90 billion by 2026. Businesses using big data can expect to see an average profit increase of eight to 10 percent — a testament to why restaurant owners and operators have embraced big data to help understand customer wants and expectations to keep them loyal. Executives in the food industry understand that knowing their clients’ preferences will help them to create better promotions, increase sales, and improve their operational efficiency, leading to a better customer experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic clearly put a spotlight on the fact that the restaurant industry is very much in flux today compared to years prior. And with that, restaurants that had the means to survive one of the most difficult periods for the industry have had to work even harder to keep up against their local competitors. When it comes down to it, the experience they offer is central to success.
While many have already taken the plunge to see what customer insight data can do for their business, those who haven’t should start – and there are a few places that they might not even think of where they can begin this journey. The first is to gather data from all relevant channels. This includes the POS system, phone calls, and online ordering platforms to create a record of customers’ order history. Restaurants can also look to social media interactions and customer service inquiries to keep customer preferences top of mind while also understanding how they like to interact with the brand. The more information that is collected, the more useful it will be to restaurants’ customer experience and loyalty efforts.
Additionally, there are a few other ways that data can help restaurants to grow and make a positive impact on their customers:
- Bettering service and increasing sales – Data helps understand the customers’ history and can be used in a variety of ways, from express ordering to sending personal messages, promotions or coupons for items they are most interested in.
- Maximizing marketing efforts – Using data can help restaurants identify effective channels to reach their audience. This data can also help surface other relevant or similar audiences that can be converted into patrons.
- Improving menus – Data can shed light on food items that selling the most or are not selling as well. This can help restaurant owners and operators make sound business decisions when it comes to adding and cutting menu items to ensure that customers are happy and that they are also making good business decisions.
- Increasing efficiency – Using optimization tools, restaurants are able to see the average time from order placed to delivery. The data from these tools can help restaurants streamline systems and improve customer service. This data can also be used to share accurate delivery or order completion ETAs with customers, down to the exact status of the preparation and the drivers’ locations.
- Improving scheduling – Restaurant owners and operators can use data to uncover peak order times and visualize how efficiently their employees work during those hours and others. This can help with scheduling to ensure that the restaurant is getting the most out of their operation when they are open and not wasting money on staffing and food.
- Understanding customer feedback and preferences – Customer surveys can help pinpoint what keeps them coming back and what might drive them away. Restaurant owners can use this tool to help better evaluate the strength of their decision making and day-to-day operations.
Restaurants need to be proactive to stay in the game, and having access to data and using it to their advantage can make a difference. The restaurant industry is in an optimal position to get creative with how they use data to enhance their customer experience from order placed to delivery and ensure a loyal turnout for the long run.