6 Customer Analytics Solutions for Restaurants

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The restaurant industry may be better positioned to take advantage of big data than almost any other vertical. Online reservation platforms, connected POS systems, digital loyalty programs, and even waiters who’ve gotten to know their most frequent diners are all gathering the type of information that could be used to build detailed customer profiles.

When does a guest come in most often, who does he come with, which wine or appetizers does he always order, and which credit card does he pay with? A handful of hyperlocal vendors are bringing together the answers to these questions, and more, to help restaurants generate extremely targeted marketing campaigns.

Here are six examples of data platforms that restaurants can use for both sales and service optimization.

1. Upserve: Optimizing sales and service on the fly
When Swipely rebranded as Upserve earlier this year, it did so with a plan to expand its suite of products and better help restaurateurs optimize sales and service. The company now takes information that exists in most restaurants — from the POS, accounting, inventory, other business systems — and ties it together. Upserve offers a real-time dashboard for single or multi-unit restaurants, which includes data about sales and labor performance. Managers can compare real-time performance across multiple units, and they can use a feature called “Shift Prep” to understand what’s likely to happen in the evening’s dining service.

2. Venga: Tracking diner preferences and habits
Venga offers a way for restaurateurs to get more from their POS and reservation systems, with the goal of driving repeat visits and providing more personalized service. Data being generated through OpenTable, integrated marketing solutions, and guest feedback platforms like Yelp and Facebook is funneled into the POS and used to generate guest-specific intelligence. Venga automatically shares guest data between multiple restaurant locations and makes targeted email communications more effective. Venga also sends pre-shift reports to let managers see who is coming in that day and what services or dishes they’re likely to request.

3. PosIQ: Personalizing the guest experience
PosIQ is a CRM and data analytics solution that automates learning and provides restaurants with the ability to engage customers with targeted messages and products. PosIQ is fully integrated with existing POS solutions. It associates individual guests to transactions. Restaurants can track engagement through receipts, reservations, check-ins, Wi-Fi, credit cards, beacons, and more. Measuring the results of social media, online advertising, and coupons, restaurants are able to see exactly how many people responded to their campaigns and how much money those customers actually spent.

4. Fishbowl: Leveraging data to maximize profitability
Fishbowl offers data analytics solutions for the restaurant industry. The company’s analytics solution was designed to help restaurants drive predictable sales and profitability by using data sources such as email or loyalty member databases, guest transaction links, POS transactions, and survey results. Restaurants can predict dining behavior and preferences based on past engagement and transaction activity. They can also evaluate the real value of their loyalty programs and determine whether the limited-time discounts they publish are actually driving new sales.

5. Guest Manager: Building guest profiles to identify VIPs
Guest Manager aims to deepen the relationships that restaurant managers and waiters have with their customers. Hosts enter a guest’s phone number into a mobile app, and the guest receives a text message confirming his or her spot on the waitlist. Guests are then prompted to download an app to check their place in line or learn about featured menu items. When they do this, the restaurant is able to collect details like names, birthdates, and email addresses. Guest Manager connects to existing restaurant guest databases and loyalty programs. Guests also have the option to send feedback discretely through the app before airing any grievances on public review sites like Yelp.

6. BYTE: Improving menu performance
A marketing tool for restaurants, BYTE collects feedback and analytics from real customers on the menu item level. This data can be used to promote repeat business, increase table turnover, and determine what customers really want from their waiters. Much of this data is generated through BYTE’s mobile loyalty system. Managers have the ability to connect directly with disgruntled customers one-on-one through the mobile platform, and they have the opportunity to learn more about their customers with performance report cards that are provided by BYTE each month.

Know of other data platforms that restaurants can use for sales and service optimization? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.