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National Restaurant Association - Analyze data to understand your customers

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Analyze data to understand your customers

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of disconnected data sources available. Since there are not one-size-fits-all data aggregation systems in place across the industry, you have to figure out how each source flows into one complete view. If you’re looking to gain a clearer picture of your core consumers, comprehensive data analytics can provide direction you need to make more informed business decisions.

At the 2015 Restaurant Innovation Summit, Helen Baptist, vice president of customer relationship management at Fishbowl, shared the importance of finding truth in data, which allows for understanding of who your customers are, what life stages they’re in and where they literally are right now. Catering to your business’ most loyal guest segments can lead to deeper customer connections and more business for you.

Getting more specific, Baptist said “[Fishbowl] believes you should ‘manage to’ no more than five to eight segments, so you can tailor your message and personalization to them.”

Through guest insight analysis, Fishbowl recently helped a large sports-bar-chain client identify major misses in its marketing efforts. Before confirming a core customer profile, the chain believed its primary guest was predominately male, between the ages of 18 and 45, single without children, earned approximately $60,000 annually, listened avidly to sports radio, was interested in football and UFC, and used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To create in-restaurant ambiance for these guests, the chain played a variety of music, including Top 40, country and hip-hop.

By gathering first-, second- and third-party data, scouring the Web and connecting actual transactions to customer records, Fishbowl found that the chain’s “real customer” was predominately male, between the ages of 35 and 60, married with children, earning an income of approximately $100,000 annually, did not listen to sports radio, enjoyed golf, and used Facebook, LinkedIn and e-clubs.

With this newfound information, the chain repositioned its branding, focusing more on sports in general, rather than specific sports, to appeal to families. They also began advertising on financial, news and travel websites, and started to play classic rock music at times when their most loyalty customers were known to frequent. After implementing these changes, the restaurants’ guests were staying longer and spent more money, indicating they were enjoying their experience.

Baptist emphasized the value of collecting data that’s actionable; collecting data for data’s sake is not helpful to your business.

“Success in the future is not just about the technology; it’s about the ability to mine data, find insights and take action,” said Baptist. “To discover what data is most applicable to your restaurant, ensure you have the appropriate expertise – either internally or through external partners – who can accurately read it on an ongoing basis.”

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