Why Your Restaurant Needs to Take Advantage of Customer Data

May 2, 2018

restaurant retention

This post was last updated in December 2021.

It’s undeniable that online ordering is revolutionizing the restaurant industry, with 60% of consumers ordering delivery or takeout at least once a week. And while the sheer convenience of online ordering will lead to larger ticket sizes and increased order frequency, it’s having access to your restaurant customer data that will create the most value for your business.

Collecting restaurant customer data (e.g., names, email addresses, order history, etc.) for orders placed through your online ordering platform gives you the insights needed to retain your hard-earned customers. Unfortunately, many online ordering systems withhold this information from their restaurant partners, so it’s important to choose an online ordering provider that encourages you to own and use your data.

Read on to uncover exactly why harnessing your customer data is the secret sauce to realizing the full potential of your to-go business.

Surprisingly, customer data is hard to come by these days.

While it may seem like a no-brainer that your restaurant should have full access to information about your own customers, many online ordering companies, especially third-party delivery apps like GrubHub and Postmates, withhold this information from their restaurant partners.

So, why do these online ordering companies want to keep your customer data for themselves? The answer is simple: They market other restaurants to your customers — sending them to businesses that pay out higher commissions.

If you’re in the market to partner with an online ordering company, make sure you choose one that gives you full access to all your customer details. If you’re already a ChowNow client, you know that customer contacts, as well as advanced analytics and reporting, are automatically gathered for you — available anytime in your ChowNow Dashboard.

Why does your restaurant data matter?

Data helps you understand your customers.

customer in restaurant

Uncovering core information about your customer’s ordering behavior and grouping them into audience segments is essential for executing effective marketing campaigns down the line. We’ve all heard of the 80/20 rule – the vast majority of your revenue comes from a minority of your customers that are the most loyal, so understanding who these customers are will allow you to focus your marketing efforts accordingly. 

Consider this:

  • You might have a core group of loyal customers who order the same thing from your restaurant 3 times a week.
  • There may be a body of customers who have eaten at your restaurant once and have never come back.
  • Some customers order religiously through your website, while others order via mobile when they’re on the go.

Understanding who your customers are allows you to use specific, tailored messages that are relevant to them. ChowNow helps restaurants understand their customer profiles by providing a Dashboard that stores online and mobile customer information — complete with order history, contact info, analytics and reporting capabilities.

Here's why you need a restaurant ordering

Data helps you retain your customers.

Getting customers to come back to your restaurant again and again requires a solid marketing strategy, and a solid marketing strategy is fueled by data. With an understanding of who your customers are, you can create personalized email marketing campaigns that allow you to influence their purchasing decisions with things like promo codes, new menu items, special discounts, restaurant event information, and more.

Imagine this: Based on the customer profiles you’ve uncovered by digging into your customer data, you start sending one email per month to your customers, offering them incentives to come back into your restaurant. Your loyal customers become brand advocates and your one-time customers become loyal regulars — all groups spend more money and order more often.

Use Your Restaurant's Customer Data for Email Marketing

We recommend signing up for Mailchimp or utilizing ChowNow’s automated email marketing that takes care of the heavy lifting. If you’re looking for more information about how to kickstart a data-driven email program, read our Restaurant Guide: Email Marketing Made Easy.

Using customer data to make informed business decisions and dictate smart and effective marketing campaigns will set your restaurant up for the long run.

If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant and want to harness the power of your customer data, now’s a great time to get started. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today! If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want some ideas about how to best use your customer data, schedule a call — we’re happy to help.

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