The past few months have caused massive and rapid changes throughout the restaurant industry, thanks to COVID-19. Restaurant owners are looking to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever to ensure the longevity of their business.
As you look for ways to increase your restaurant revenue, work smarter—not harder. Rather than putting all of your effort into trying to find and intrigue new customers, remember that your current customer base spends over 67% more than new customers do. It costs five to ten times more to bring in a new customer than it does to retain a current one.
The question them becomes:
How Do I Get my Restaurant Customers to Come Back?
Your current restaurant customers are valuable. You need to be investing effort not only in keeping them satisfied, but keeping them coming back for more. In order to retain customers, it’s important to first take a step back and understand who these customers are. Otherwise, how would you be able to give them what they want?
Ask yourself questions like:
- Where do my customers live?
- What’s important to them?
- How far do they travel to visit your restaurant?
- How frequently do they dine out?
- What is their average ticket size?
- What is the split between low-margin food and high-margin drinks?
You may already know the answers to some of these questions, but having solid data is necessary if you want to be as accurate and insightful as possible. This is even more important during times of uncertainty, when customer behavior is likely to change.
The Importance of Restaurant Customer Data Ownership
Innovative restaurant owners realize the benefits of owning their customer data. They have processes in place to make sure they can optimize their data and put it to the best use possible. They then use this data to:
Better Understand Customers
Like the above mentions, customer data is critical to help restaurant owners truly understand their customers and learn what motivates them to dine with their business. It goes beyond name and contact information. Customer data can show you what time your customers are most likely to place an online order, how much they’re willing to spend, and which promotions appeal to which types of customers. By recognizing these wants and needs, restaurants can be more strategic with how they spend their efforts and marketing dollars to better retain their guests.
For restaurant Hometown Pizza and Grill in Rockmart, Georgia, gaining control over their customer data resulted in a decrease in advertising spend through Facebook. Now their restaurant can better understand their customers and market directly to them with targeted, personalized messages—for free! This frees up their budget to focus on other efforts, while growing their bottom line.
Communicate More Effectively
Armed with data, restaurants can efficiently and effectively communicate and market to their customer base. If you have a solid understanding of when and how your customers prefer to be reached, you can establish stronger communication lines that lead to better customer relationships. Promotions are no longer done blindly. Instead, restaurants can leverage their data to personalize promotions based on customer history and preferences for a significant return.
For example, you may notice that some of your customers never open your emails, but often place orders after receiving a text message. Or maybe you have certain customers that order the same meal a few times per month that would respond well to a personalized offer. Grouping customers into segments allows you to advertise more strategically, strengthen relationships, and increase sales.
Not only does data help with promotions, it also helps keep all of your customer information in one place. When Little Pops Pizzeria moved to a curbside and delivery only model in April 2020, they were able to communicate with 5,000+ customers stored in their database. The quick response and outreach helped Little Pops grow revenue when other restaurants were scrambling to stay afloat.
With any relationship, the foundation of trust is built with effective communication and understanding. To truly connect with customers in a way that appeals to them and meets their needs, you must first understand just what those needs are. Once you do, you can build a loyal relationship with them that encourages them to return to your business to get that same great experience time and time again. A happy, engaged customer is a loyal customer.
Restaurants can use their customer data to improve their loyalty program and provide an enhanced customer experience. Without the proper data, it’s more difficult for your loyalty program to produce the results you’re looking for.
Restaurant franchise PieZoni's found that members of their loyalty program visit their restaurants four times per month, twice the average of non-loyalty members. They’ve learned to leverage the power of their customer data to boost the effectiveness of their program—keeping customers coming back more often and spending more each visit.
Automate and Streamline Data Collection with a Restaurant Management System
The benefits and uses of customer data are vast and widespread, but it’s impossible to unlock these resources without access to this critical data. You’ll need the right technology in place in order to collect and manage your customer information.
Another major factor to consider is whether or not you own all of your data. Does your system give you exclusive rights to data, or are you using third-party systems that send your customer data to your competitor?
The best way to ensure you can collect, manage, and own your customer data is to invest in an integrated restaurant management system (RMS). A comprehensive RMS acts as a powerful technology hub that connects all of your systems and solutions. These systems house all of your customer data to simplify data management throughout your entire business. The visibility these systems provide is invaluable. Remember: knowledge is power, after all.
With an integrated RMS in place, you can capture real-time data and access through the same dashboard, no matter how or from where a customer orders. That means if a customer places an order with a third-party delivery service, you get the ability to own all of your data while still benefiting from the convenience of the third-party integration. Without an RMS, the third-party service would own all of the data. You no longer need to choose between data ownership and third-party services.
An RMS allows you to even consolidate and leverage customer order history and preferences across multiple channels, helping you better understand subtle differences between order methods. That way you can offer more profitable promotions for each channel to communicate with and retain your customer base more effectively.
Armed with the right data, you are equipped to provide exceptional customer experiences that increase profitability across channels. For instance, returning customers can reorder their favorite dishes with ease. Provide them with the ability to save their address and payment info and give them access to exclusive loyalty rewards and discounts, and you make it simple, fast, and rewarding for customers to do business with you.
Make sure to choose a high-quality, expert-backed RMS, like HungerRush. Our restaurant management system provides restaurant owners with a 360-degree view of their operations, allowing you to gain valuable insight, maintain and expand your competitive edge, and enhance your overall customer experience.
For more information on the HungerRush restaurant management system, request a demo today!