Technology is a double-sided cleaver. On the one hand, POS systems, CRMs, and loyalty program apps simplify a number of operations for busy restaurateurs. Running inventory lists are sorted in seconds. Fine-print profit reports can be studied from numerous perspectives with the press of a button. Countless customer interactions can be measured and marketing emails sent without adding a single to-do item to your daily agenda.
However, the learning curve can be taxing, and knowing exactly what information to look for and how to use it can be daunting. Here are the three major systems restaurants are using to keep their businesses running smoothly and an overview of what they contribute to your marketing strategy data mine.
Point of Sale (POS)
The point of sale (POS) system is the workhorse of restaurant technology. Your POS tracks sales, food costs, productivity, and efficiency. It also provides invaluable insights for powering predictive analytics. Your POS gleans customer demographics during online reservations and credit card transactions. It reveals popular dishes, busier times, and high-performing waitstaff. In short, your POS dashboard provides an instructive picture of your restaurant’s performance.
Digging into the rich data mine offered by your POS can be overwhelming. First, there’s the matter of converting information into intelligence. Once data is organized, it still has to be translated into meaningful predictions about customer behavior and growth opportunities. For example, offering a promotional price on your most popular dish during your slowest shift may turn a slow Monday into your busiest day on record.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
While your POS provides a more detailed account of your restaurant’s performance, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology provides a more personalized portrait of your guests and prospects. This is an unprecedented advance in marketing capabilities that cannot be understated.
Your CRM collects and stores powerful information about individual patrons, including special days, dietary restrictions, and past purchases. This information can be used to offer birthday perks or to suggest a special based on a previous preference.
CRM technology also offers insights into trends among market groups and sub-groups. You may recognize the early signs of a movement away from meat, for example, among Millennials in your neighborhood. Seeing these trends emerge in your CRM data early allows you to respond quickly and outpace your competitors in meeting the dietary needs and preferences of your local customer base.
Personalized marketing using CRM data helps to keep the attention of existing customers. Loyalty programs keep them coming back for more. In fact, the only people who like loyalty programs more than successful restaurateurs are hungry diners. Loyalty programs make your customers feel like card-carrying members of your restaurant’s community. Creating this sense of exclusivity and reward builds trust and, of course, loyalty. It also provides a new channel for even more detailed data.
Most restaurants choose loyalty programs and CRMs that can be integrated with their POS in order to get the most accurate information in real-time from the convenience of a central dashboard. By linking POS, CRM, and loyalty programs, restauranteurs can get a clear picture of customer engagement, marketing ROI, and customer lifetime value (CLV).
This consolidated approach to data allows you to track repeat visits and total dollars spent by individual patrons, CTRs on email marketing campaigns and total rewards redeemed per month. It offers a comprehensive view of your target markets and opportunities to bring more patrons into the fold.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch with Morgan & Co. We have decades of experience analyzing data and using our findings to fuel effective marketing campaigns that put diners in seats.