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The Unified Guest Profile Is the Future of Restaurant Customer Experience

Authored By: Matthew Dieden, Director of Product Marketing

Restaurant customer experience unified guest profile

Restaurateurs are using technology like never before. Industry research says that restaurants now generate sales on an average of 2.7 different ordering channels. And for many restaurants, it’s far more.

While all this tech is improving the way restaurants are run, using several tech providers can lead to problems: namely, a tangled mess of restaurant customer data that can’t be used to the best of its potential. 

Let’s explore how you can offer an exceptional customer experience by cleaning and organizing data from all your channels and tech platforms into unified customer profiles. 

In this article, we cover: 

  • The problem of disjointed restaurant data
  • The types of data a restaurant deals with
  • The tangible benefits of a unified guest profile — for restaurant operators and customers

Read on to discover the huge payoff that unified guest profiles promise for you and your customers, offering better personalization across the customer journey and fostering extraordinary loyalty.

The Problem with Disjointed Data

Everyone talks about data, data, data — the more the better. 

Restaurant operators know that customer data is the key to unlocking next-level insights. But you can’t get the insights you need if the data is disorganized and spread out across disjointed systems. What use is all this data if you can’t get anything from it?

Here are just a couple examples of how misaligned tech systems can lead to a data disaster:

  • Tablet Chaos Using Multiple Delivery Partners

Many restaurants use four, five, or even more delivery aggregators. Typically the restaurant has a tablet for each delivery partner, which can cause a mess at the front desk and set staff scrambling to process orders on multiple devices. 

The orders are often sent into the kitchen in different formats, causing more headaches as the chefs try to organize and prioritize orders from multiple sources.

This leads to confusion and more mistakes.

  • Loyalty Data Confusion

A customer signs up for your loyalty program. They add their email address on the online form and register for SMS updates. If your systems aren’t talking to each other, they will be counted as two customers rather than one. The problem can multiply across systems – from your table reservation system, to your ordering apps, to your POS – to the point that your customer data is a total mess.

You need a way to gather and organize your data so it’s useful. The solution is combining the data from your POS, online ordering, and other systems, along with external data, to create an individual profile for each customer. Not only will you understand your customers better as individuals, but you’ll also have their contact details on hand to target them with timely offers they’ll find hard to resist.

Also Read: How Your Restaurant Can Drive Profitability with Customer Experience

Now that you’re targeting individuals rather than demographics, you can take your personalization to the next level and offer the next generation of customer experience.

Over the years, we’ve seen how disjointed data holds restaurants back from developing into sustainable, high-growth businesses. That’s why, back in 2020, we pivoted HungerRush to be fully focused on consolidating restaurant data from all sources — to help restaurant leaders better understand their customers as individuals and gain more clarity and control over their customer experience.

Types of Restaurant Data

We hear a lot about disjointed systems and data silos but what does this actually mean? Let’s make the topic more tangible by looking at the different types of data we want to be able to use.

Restaurants collect reams of data every day. From inventory counts and back-of-house production times to customer sales and demographic information, just about every restaurant process or system has a repository of data that could be used to improve operations and give customers a better experience.

Broadly, we can split it into two categories: customer data and operations data.

Customer Data

Customer data comes in through your POS, online ordering platform, reservation system, loyalty program, and anywhere else a customer inputs personal information.

Customer data gives you basic contact information to get in touch with your customers through different channels, as well as specific preferences, order history, and other insights that can be used for targeted, personalized remarketing.

You’re likely to handle: 

  • Personal Data — name, contact information
  • Demographic Data — age, gender, income bracket, location
  • Preference Data — favorite dishes, allergies, table preference, preferred ordering channel
  • Ordering Data — ordering history, ordering frequency, dining frequency, average order value

Also Read: Take Command of Your Multi-Unit Restaurant: The 5 Pillars of Data Mastery

Operations Data

Operations data is captured by your restaurant management systems, whether they’re front-of-house, back-of-house, or third-party. 

This includes: 

  • Kitchen Production Data — average order production time, total orders, orders by channel
  • Delivery Data — percentage of delayed orders, delivery time, driver wait time
  • Inventory Data — stock levels, purchasing spend, total inventory value
  • Order Volume Data — total order volume, order volume by channel, order volume at specific times

Just by listing out the types of data you are collecting, you can see the huge challenge of sorting it and making it useful. But if you can marry your customer data with your operations data, you can produce useful insights with strong benefits.

The Benefits of a Unified Guest Profile

When data from different channels and multiple systems is collected in one database, then cleaned, sorted, and organized into customer profiles, it suddenly becomes useful and hugely valuable. 

It’s like taking an anxiety-inducing mess of wires and untangling them so you can see exactly where each one plugs in. 

And if you can keep your data organized from the start, as it comes in — even better. Then you can gain real-time insights and put them to use right away.

Here are the three biggest benefits of unified customer data.

1. Understand Your Customers

Clean data gives you better insights into trends and preferences. You can analyze the data to find patterns and identify opportunities that you would never have known about otherwise. And with individual data profiles, you can identify your highest value customers and target them with offers they can’t refuse.

Using customer trends gathered from your POS data, you can create promos, and offer discounts based on their preferences — rather than trying to second-guess from demographic data what someone like them might want. 

If your data on an individual is in order, you could offer them:

  • A personalized birthday voucher with a discount when they make a booking
  • A free bottle of wine on their tenth visit
  • A custom meal package based on their order history

It’s easy to see how powerful offers like this would be compared to a generic email blast.

When you know your customers’ preferences, you can make it as easy as possible for them to engage with your brand and get the most out of loyalty rewards. And you can personalize rewards based on the information you have about their average spend and preferences.

You end up with happier customers who spend more on each visit. 

Also Read: Customer Service as a Strategy with Chief Growth Officer Dean Thompson

Personalization Everywhere

Consumers are fed up with general email blasts and repetitive advertising, and they’re demanding more personalized offers and experiences.

In a poll of 2,200 international consumers, 63% of respondents were highly annoyed with the way brands rely on “the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic advertising messages repeatedly”. Even more dramatically, 78.6% of respondents said that they were only likely to engage with a brand’s offers and promotions if they were directly tied to how they interacted with the brand previously.

With clean, actionable data, you can achieve personalization for the individual. Once you’ve built strong guest profiles, you can improve the customer experience on every channel with:

  • Personalized experiences when dining in — treat every customer like a local. 
  • Personalized online ordering experience including smart upsell suggestions, saved payment information, and loyalty offers.
  • Personalized offers and loyalty rewards via email, pop-ups, and SMS.

Increase average ticket value by offering add-ons you already know they love. This can happen everywhere in harmony: online, in-store, or on your mobile app.

Unbeatable Guest Experience

When your guest profiles are unified, you can use data coming in from multiple channels and offer a truly omnichannel experience back to the customer.

A great experience breeds great loyalty. When your own systems can deliver a smooth journey, from when they order right up to when they receive the food, you’ll stop losing to third-party apps. 

Sustainable Success Through Long-Term Loyalty 

The future of the restaurant customer experience, if implemented well, is going to be a win-win for the operator and customer. 

All-in-one cloud-based restaurant management systems like HungerRush are built from the ground up to unlock the full potential of your customer data. With all the data organized and stored in one place, and loyalty and marketing tools built in, the benefits of unified customer profiles are there for the taking. 

The operator owns their customer data, understands their customers, and has the tools to foster extraordinary loyalty. The customer gets a better experience no matter what way they interact with the restaurant. Rather than receiving run-of-the-mill email blasts, they get personalized offers that evolve with their wants and needs.

And you get consistent results because you are using data to understand customers and keep giving them what they want.  

Take out the guesswork and use your data to build long-term loyalty with unified guest profiles. Make HungerRush your data hub for personalized marketing and build the ultimate customer experience.

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