Exposure is everything and if you’re not utilizing your customer data, you’re leaving some things on the table.
Owning a restaurant comes with the constant struggle to survive. Even if you’re full every night, you’re still fighting to stay above water. To make running a restaurant even more difficult, every few years some techbro with a startup tries to eat into your margins — first it was Groupon and now it’s delivery apps. They promise you’ll grow your business through their exposure, but what you really need is to create your own exposure. How? Customer data and a marketing plan.
The good news is, you already have the customer data you need to keep customers coming in the door. You just need to know how to find it and use it. We spoke with Gabe Winslow of Smart Pickle – a restaurant marketing software company – on why customer data is so important for your business and how to use it successfully.
Customer data can give you invaluable insight on your customers. Like, if they always buy the same wine, what their favorite dish is and even if they haven’t returned in awhile. “Because of the massive amount of competition in the restaurant space and a slowing sales trend, a restauranteur should definitely be paying more attention to their customer’s data,” Gabe points out. “Most importantly, utilizing your customer data to effectively communicate is the best way to increase your restaurant’s transactions.” Once you know how your customers think and what they like, you have the key to creating targeted marketing campaigns that bring in customers and even resolve situations when a customer has a poor experience. The issue is, many restaurateurs don’t have the time and patience to make this magic happen.
“POS systems and some of the third-party technology vendors (specifically Open Table or other reservation systems) are potential treasure troves of customer records,” Gabe states. “While customer data is sitting inside them in some format, getting access to that data can be difficult and involve multiple pieces of technology to accomplish.” And once you do get a hold of that data, you’ve only completed a part of the struggle. Next comes transferring raw data to a CSV, organizing it, analyzing it and optimizing it into successful promotional campaigns. Large, multi-unit restaurant concepts likely have a marketing team devoted to this kind of work, but for an independent restaurateur — who as Gabe states, “is juggling multiple hats each day for the restaurant” — the work can require more time and attention than is reasonably possible.
Smart Pickle saw the need for an easier solution so restaurants of all sizes can transform their data into successful marketing campaigns. “We began thinking of ways to build a marketing solution that would allow a restaurant, no matter how large or small, to have access to a full suite of marketing tools at a reasonable monthly rate, something that very specifically wouldn’t try to take any margin or percentage of sale,” Gabe said.
Smart Pickle extracts, analyzes and then transforms your customer data into successful promotions with the goal of filling seats when you actually need it. Restaurants then get access to analytics that demonstrate which promotions were used and how they performed — so you can see firsthand how Smart Pickle is working to increase sales.
The new age of technology in the restaurant world is opening opportunities to grow your business quicker than ever before, but only if you know how to take advantage of it. With the start of the New Year, there couldn’t be a better time to begin thinking of how your technology could be working for you. For those who don’t have the time to create a marketing plan, there is always Smart Pickle. Check them out for more information and to sign up for a free first month, to see how Smart Pickle can work for you.