Guest Data Empowers Bars and Restaurants to Make Smarter Business Decisions
The power of collecting and analyzing guest data is undeniable, and today’s technology tools are helping bar and restaurant owners and managers to get better insight into their business.
For instance, in a Restaurant Business article, Big Data Arrives, tells the story about Founding Farmers, a Farm-to-Table American restaurant in the Washington, DC area, that uses a tool called Swipely to identify its top customers and target certain promotions toward them. Swipely works with existing POS systems to gather information about the guest check and to identify key guest data, such as new and repeat customers, what they ordered, how long they were at the table, etc. The information is all imported into a system and then gathered into a dashboard that can be easily viewed and analyzed.
Another tool called Fishbowl combines member, campaign and transaction data into one warehouse to give businesses a comprehensive view of their guests via a centralized dashboard. More than 50,000 restaurants have employed the platform to drive revenue and predictable sales growth.
But whether or not your bar or restaurant uses a sophisticated platform to collect and analyze guest data, here are the steps to take in order to make data work for your business.
1) Don’t be shy about asking customers what they think:
Every guest’s input is valuable. But unless you ask them for their feedback you will never know what they are thinking. Tools like online surveys or simple comment cards allow bars and restaurants to easily collect their guests’ feedback. Of course, where possible, offer your customers rewards or perks for completing a survey or feedback form to get better participation.
2) Define what you are trying to measure:
It’s important to know specifically what you are trying to measure in order to ensure a successful outcome. Collecting data about anything without a specific purpose in mind will just leave you with a lot of information that you won’t know what to do with. Know specifically what you are trying to measure and then build metric systems to accomplish those goals.
3) Take the time to analyze guest feedback regularly:
Once you have taken the time to collect your guests’ feedback, make sure that you review and analyze it regularly. Make reviewing customer comments part of your daily management duties so that any issues or complaints can be resolved quickly and in a timely fashion.
4) Make it easy for your customers to provide feedback:
Your comment cards and guest surveys need to be short and sweet. Customers won’t want to fill out lengthy questionnaires. When designing your survey, only ask between 3-6 questions, at maximum, with short or multiple choice responses.
5) Take action:
Once you’ve identified and analyzed the data, it is essential to do something with it! Don’t wait to address a customer complaint or make changes to your menu based on what your customers want. It’s one thing to have the data, but unless you use it to create positive change, collecting it is a wasted effort.
Fortunately, with technology, online survey tools and social media, soliciting guest feedback is easier than ever.