How Guest Data Can Help Restaurant Improve The Guest Experience
Although the cuisine in your restaurant may be top notch, that’s not always the reason guests return. This is because the guest experience is not just comprised of the meal itself. It’s about the environment, the employees, and the attention to detail that the restaurant maintains. How can you, as a restaurant, ensure a memorable guest experience for each guest walking into your doors? That answer lies in data. Guest data provides restaurants with anything from guest reviews, reservation habits, previous transaction details, and much much more. Guest data is undoubtedly part of the future and restaurants looking to optimize both the guests experience and their revenue should start to think more about how to integrate it into the way they run their restaurant and why is that? Because restaurants can recognize loyal guests, find a target audience, and understand and retain their guests.
Recognizing Loyal Guests
Throughout your restaurant you have a certain number of employees working certain nights of the week. Let’s say, for example, your restaurant has a young couple that consistently comes in to your restaurant on different nights over the course of several weeks because they really enjoy the food. Unfortunately, they have not had the same server or hostess every time that they’ve been in, so no one in the restaurant recognizes them as loyal guests. If your restaurant had collected and analyzed the reservations that were made over the last several weeks, you would have noticed a trend with this certain couple. If you had collected the data, you could have the ability to tailor their experience in your restaurant to match their tastes and preferences. Perhaps they order a certain dish every time they dine at your restaurant, so the next time they come you could offer that particular dish or already have it prepared. This is only one example of the many insights guest data can give you. There are many ways to express gratitude to loyal guests, but there aren’t many ways to see who truly is a loyal guest without data.
Finding a Target Audience
With guest data, you can see trends in the age profiles of your visitors. For example, if your restaurant sees a trend in guests over the age of 50 and you want to see more diversity in your age groups, you could re-target your marketing efforts towards younger people. You could set up a social media campaign for your restaurant, as the majority of users are under the age of 50 on social media, or you could target your advertisements towards younger neighborhoods. Perhaps you want to know different aspects of your customer profiles. Are they business people, families, young couples? Whatever your target market may be, you should be able to see up to date data of who is coming to your restaurant and then alter your marketing efforts towards whatever goals you may want to achieve.
Understanding and Retaining Guests
It’s hard enough to get new guests into your restaurant, let alone ensuring that they return – hopefully several times after. With guest data, restaurants can see information that can help them get the guest to return another time, particularly because the information is quite detailed. This is done through enhancing the guest experience by tailoring their experience to their needs and desires, which are found in the guest data. For example, if a certain guest orders expensive red wine every time he or she comes into the restaurant, there is no longer a reason for your servers to advertise lower priced wines to that guest. You could also share information about new wines on the list with this particular guest via e-mail to encourage another visit to your restaurant, or offer them a glass of the wine they enjoyed during their last visit to make them feel valued. The main point is that once your guests sit down at the table, your staff should have the necessary knowledge about the guest to make their experience as genuine and comfortable as possible.
With guest data, restaurants can analyze the trends of their guests – which nights of the week are busier, which menu items aren’t ordered very often, which wines are more popular than others, etc. When restaurants gain an understanding of these trends, they can optimize their purchases and weekly plans. Data gives restaurants the necessary information to estimate their food usage so the restaurant can order precise amounts of food to reduce waste and save money. If there are certain nights that are less busy than others, restaurants can save some of their resources for the busier nights (smaller staff, advanced planning for preparations of different dishes, etc). Ultimately, when restaurants have access to these data points, they can save money and resources by using the information to plan menu items and delegate staff appropriately.
The overall key to a memorable guest experience is making the guest feel valued. When the restaurant remembers the dish you enjoyed last time you came into the restaurant or they shared new menu items with you because you’re a loyal guest, you ultimately feel valued. There is something special about feeling welcome and valued wherever we go as humans, but to enjoy that feeling with a fantastic meal in a welcoming environment is an unparalleled delight that all restaurants should aim to give their guests.