Increase Restaurant Sales with Big Data

By: Gina Lee De Freitas

The amount of big data out in the world can make anyone's head swim. But there are ways to break it down and interpret it to increase sales, customer traffic and save money.

The vast amount of big data that an organization can collect can help restaurants understand consumers on a deeper level. Through analytical breakdowns, owners and managers can increase sales and customer traffic, while cutting costs, in a tactical way.

By exploring the habits and preferences of patrons found through big data analytics, restaurants have a predictive advantage over their competition. Tailored offerings, service, and advertisements show customers that you understand their needs, which cultivates both trust and brand awareness. In other words, if you are able to anticipate customer actions, relationships become stronger because they become personalized.

Through the mining of big data, restaurants can target customers as a whole or individually, and the data collection works for both start-ups and established companies. The process involves translating data into a common language, including information on inventory, sales, customers, and staff performance, along with outside data from social media, tracking apps, review sites, and reservations systems.

When Erik Oberholtzer decided to expand his restaurant chain Tender Greens from its base in Los Angeles to spots along the East Coast, big data was his guide. "The goal is to leverage the technology to do what we would do if we had one little restaurant and we were there all the time and new every customer by name," Oberholtzer told the New York Times.

Oberholtzer relies on three analytics systems that communicate well with one another: a robust point-of sale system called Brink POS software, a system to coordinate online ordering and delivery called Olo, and a mobile app that logs customer names, email addresses, and purchase history called Punchh.

"It gives us ways to recognize people who've been in regularly or haven't been in for a while or have specific preferences," Oberholtzer continued. "We want to accommodate everyone's needs, sometimes before they even mention them. 

The restaurant industry is tough and competitive; owners and operators can give their place a big boost with the insight that big data can bring to ensure that they know their customers well, In addition to guaranteeing they always have the inventory and staff that is needed for successful service. Here are some examples of how big data can be a game changer for you:

  • A menu that keeps selling. Any insight into what people are choosing from the menu is crucial to making more money. Not only can you find out what people like the best, but you can also determine the time of day, the day of the week, and the months when particular food items are the most popular. By using analytics, you can swap menu items in and out with confidence based on a historical perspective, instead of randomly.
  • A dazzling customer experience. By using big data, you can WOW your guests by providing an experience that is customized to meet your frequent guests’ personal tastes, which might include personalized menus and discounts. 
  • Track inventory. Big data helps to better organize your inventory, so you never run out of items that are in high-demand and you never have stock that passes its expiration.
  • Track employee performance. Employee training and an employee reward program can be designed around big data that analyzes employee performance. Find out which servers sell the most and which line cook is the highest producer, among other staff performance indicators.
  • Monitor scheduling needs. Big data can also be used to schedule staff appropriately, so that you are always prepared for high volume, and never overstaffed during slow periods.

By using big data, you can find ways of continually attracting more people to your establishment through your superb menu and service, while ensuring your current customer base keeps coming back. 

About Butts in Seats!

When it comes to restaurant trends and marketing, IMM knows what they are talking about. Gina Lee De Freiitas, President of IMM, and Corien de Jong, SVP Executive Creative Director, have more than 25 years of experience in the vertical. So when they talk about the tools, tips and resources your restaurant needs to succeed, rest assured they’ve got it covered.

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