Blog Post / December 18, 2019 / Research and Data

How Restaurant Analytics Can Grow Your Business

by Ana Cvetkovic

In the era of big data, analytics are critical to running and scaling a successful restaurant. Hospitality businesses rely on reservation management systems to fill their tables, email marketing to stay in touch with customers, and POS systems to track sales. Beyond serving their primary purposes, these apps also provide restaurants with data.

More often than not, restaurateurs have more data available to them than they know what to do with. That data become useless if it is ignored instead of used to improve the business.

Well, we won’t let your precious information go to waste! Read on to discover five ways you can apply analytics in your restaurant to drive revenue and make operations more efficient.

Use restaurant analytics to get to know your guests

When you use a reservation system that allows you to create guest profiles, you can collect data about guests that enables you to serve them better. This technology helps you keep track of order preferences, special dates like birthdays and anniversaries, and dietary restrictions.

Here’s how you can use this data to enhance the guest experience. Let’s say one of your regulars makes a reservation for March 1. You see in their guest profile that they have previously indicated March 1 as an anniversary, and you notice that the reservation was made for two people. Based on these clues, you assume the reservation was made to mark the anniversary.

You can surprise and delight the guests even if their reservation didn’t include any special requests. Whether you simply give them the best table in the house or bring out a complimentary champagne toast or a dozen roses, you’ll make a lasting impression on your customers. Unexpected special touches like these help make your restaurant stand out.

When you use restaurant data to create personalized experiences for your customers, you’ll build a loyal customer base that will return to your restaurant time and time again.

Market more accurately with restaurant data

Analytics can make your restaurant's marketing efforts more powerful by helping you target audiences who are primed to become customers. Here are several ways you can apply data to your restaurant’s marketing efforts.

Email marketing

Restaurant analytics can help you produce more successful email marketing campaigns. A/B testing lets you discover which subject lines are the most appealing, what email content is the most clickable, and what kinds of promotions your subscribers respond to the most. With this data, you can optimize your emails to ensure that you send the right messages to the right people and entice them to make reservations.

Social media

On social media, analytics allow you to target very specific audiences through ads. Facebook and Instagram, for example, collect information about your followers and use it to create lookalike audiences that are primed to be interested in your restaurant. For example, if your restaurant is a fine dining concept known for your sommelier-curated wine selection, you may want to serve your ads to local Facebook users who belong to groups and follow pages dedicated to wine. Social media data can help you reach audiences who are most likely to be receptive to your restaurant.

Booking channels

Booking channel analytics give you insight into where your covers come from and how much they spend on what items. This data can help you customize your marketing efforts. For example, you may learn that most of your customers who come through a certain booking channel are looking for brunch when they land on your page. With this insight, you may decide to boost your restaurant’s placement on that booking channel’s list of top brunch spots in your area, and attract more brunch reservations.

Use restaurant analytics to create a seamless customer experience across locations

Data can help you create a seamless customer experience across all your restaurants. Guest profiles allow your team to treat customers like regulars at every location. Let’s say that a customer who frequents your restaurant in New York makes a reservation at your Los Angeles location, and is indicated to have a gluten allergy in their guest profile. With a global profile of that guest’s data available at all your restaurants, the servers at your Los Angeles restaurant can give that guest a gluten-free menu when they arrive, or be prepared to guide the customer through the gluten-free options on the main menu.

Being able to cater to guests with personalized service drives that all-important phenomenon of customer loyalty. In the US, regulars make up 15% of restaurant customers but are responsible for up to 30% of revenue. Use data to give your customers the consistency and personalized service they crave, and they’ll pay you back with their loyalty.

Cut down on inefficiencies and increase revenue with restaurant data

Restaurant analytics can help your restaurant optimize operations to reduce overspending. For example, you can reduce food waste by looking at POS data and an inventory management app to see what you have in stock and how much you actually need to order. This insight lowers your chances of overbuying ingredients.

Labor is another major restaurant expense that can be reduced by reviewing analytics. Instead of building your staff schedule based on intuition or old information, you can look at data from your reservation management and employee scheduling apps to see exactly how much staff you’ll need, when.

Retain your best talent with analytics

The annual staff turnover rate in the restaurant industry is at an all-time high of 73%. Finding and retaining talent is a major challenge that restaurant analytics can help you overcome.

Use data about your employees from your POS and/or staff management app to determine who your top performers are and who could use extra support. See who shows up to work on time most consistently, who drops the most shifts, who generates the most revenue, who asks for the most time off, etc. This information can help you determine who to promote, who needs extra training, and who to replace.

Restaurant analytics takeaways

Restaurant data provides powerful insights into your business. When applied correctly, these insights can help you increase revenue. Use your restaurant’s analytics to provide guests with customized experiences, run more effective marketing campaigns, create a seamless experience across locations, maximize efficiency, and retain your top-performing staff.

About the Author

Ana Cvetkovic is the CEO of BLOOM Digital Marketing, a New York City-based agency that produces research and analysis for the hospitality and tourism industry. Ana's passion for the hospitality industry stems from her college food blog, through which she became very familiar with Washington, D.C.'s eclectic restaurant scene.

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