With competition comes innovation, and technology will be behind much of the innovation in the restaurant industry moving forward. Data is the next frontier, but restaurants need to better understand how to use it to improve the customer experience—they’re about 10 years behind retail and travel sectors. There is a wealth of information out there, but the struggle lies in centralizing and connecting the dots to better the experience for all parties involved.
Enter personalization, which data will be the driving force behind. Google and Instagram are at the top of the data food chain when it comes to this (pun intended). The two platforms are working together to create a personalized experience for the dining audience: Users figure out where to eat on Instagram and use Google Maps to find it (though with personalized recommendations making their way into the platform, they are now using Google Maps to find those, too).
On Instagram, people follow others whose opinion they trust, and those people are sharing where and what they eat. It’s not only influencers who are making a huge impact, but family and friends even more so in what is essentially the new “word of mouth.”
This data is all out there for the taking, and it’s up to the restaurant industry to grab it by the horns. If there’s still any doubt as to why, let’s end that here:
- 85% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or experience if it’s personalized
- 80% are more likely to do business with a company that offers a personalized experience
Personalization is no longer “nice”; it’s table stakes. Yet, while we all know this now, the food and beverage industry has made little progress when it comes to personalization through data. As brands and the industry across the whole begin to reconcile the drive toward data, opportunities for improvement include:
- Discovery + Booking
- You can tell a lot about the guest by booking channel
- If they book through Instagram they will likely be more likely to take and post a photo of their food, so consider giving them a table with good light
- In-Service Experience
- Item order history, spend and number of visits gives waiters a means not only to recommend and upsell, but to better the experience for guests at large
- Augment by in-person insights collected in real time and added to a centralized CRM
- Guest Feedback
- Surveys and online reviews tied to reservation data for added meaning
- Loyalty + Retention
- Take the guesswork out of planning events and experiences, and use data to dictate what your audience is likely to be interested in
- Create targeted emails and ads instead of generalized blanket promos that don’t connect to the consumer
Personalization technology lives at an important intersection of dining and restaurants: It can put better restaurant recommendations in front of an audience and ultimately create more personal dining experiences, ergo enhanced connection, engagement and coveted brand loyalty.