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How Restaurant Customer Data Can Make You a Better Marketer

Posted by Leslie

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As a restaurant marketer your job is to tell a compelling story about your brand that makes people want to come in and spend time and money at your restaurant. You've got two choices when it comes to writing that story: Fiction or Non-Fiction.

You can make-up all the facts and paint a picture of who you think your customers are, why they come to your restaurant and what they purchase OR you can look at the actual facts, really get to know your customers, learn why they come in, see trends in what they purchase and build a highly profitable marketing campaign around your loyal fans who will get excited and hopefully sing your praises on social media. This is where customer data comes in.

I know marketing sometimes gets a bad rap as being immeasurable fluff. But no one can argue with marketing built on factual data that can also be measured.

Types of Customer Data

You've likely got access to all sorts of data and the thought of having to dig through it is probably pretty daunting. It's also probably housed in separate silos, stuck in whatever system captured it. The types of information that many restaurant marketers find helpful includes:

  • Sales data
  • Reservation data
  • Loyalty data
  • Guest reviews

Now if you could combine all this information and have it readily at your fingertips there are some things you'd be able to uncover which would measurably improve your marketing efforts.

Let the Facts Guide You

For example, John Pinkard, Director of Brand Analytics at Popeyes, shared a story with me about how he was once asked what a customer who purchased bottled water was likely to also purchase. He says their intial thought was that the customer would be health focused and likely to order a sandwich or salad. Once they dug into the data through exeception-based reports they were surprised to find that the item that showed up the most on checks with bottled water was onion rings. Their thought or the picture they created in their mind of the customer who orders bottled water was completly wrong. Pinkard says what they did learn is that the customer who knows they can swap out a soda for bottled water is more aware of the menu and will order new different things. Based on this fact you can create special promos or messaging to reach this group of savy customers who really know your menu and prefer to choose options new customers may not even know about.

Customer Segmenting

Using your data and filtering tools you can create consumer profiles that allow you to speak directly to different customer sets. You may have a group that always orders on-line, a group that only comes in with a coupon, those that only buy combo meals or a la carte purchasers.  

Lori Nauert, Controller for Mama Fu's, says they use their data to see whether customers dine-in, take-out or order delivery. By looking at these trends they can generate messages for each specific customer set.

More and more we are hearing that customers want to feel like you know them. By tying together the trail of data a customer leaves behind you can better serve them and give them that feeling of being recognized they desire. To help you string that data together it's important to have some sort of marker to identify the customer. This could be capturing the last digits of their credit card or loyalty number through your point of sale system.

Dig In

Chances are you've got plenty of customer data available. The trick is to ask the right questions to begin spotting trends in your data. Make the data more manageable by using tools to consolidate and filter the information to answer your questions. You might be surprised at how different your customers really are compared to the profile you came up with in your last marketing meeting.

Free Guide: 3 Basics to Harnessing Restaurant Big Data


Do your marketing campaigns run on fact or fiction?

How do you come up with marketing ideas?

About Mirus:

Mirus is a multi-unit restaurant reporting software used by operations, finance, IT, and marketing.

For more information, please visit: www.mirus.com

Watch Mirus reporting demonstrations and client insight on our YouTube Channel

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Topics: Restaurant Data Warehouse, Restaurant Marketing


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