In these uncertain economic times, there has been a lot of talk about how restaurants must build value into the experience they offer guests. This isn’t simply about making guests feel they are getting a good deal, but about making the experience feel like it’s well worth the cost – or that it easily justifies the decision to choose your restaurant over the one across the street, or over preparing a meal kit at home. Delivering that level of experience increasingly requires restaurant operators to anticipate their guests’ needs before those guests even know what their needs are. Collecting and dissecting data to deliver ever-greater levels of customization and personalization can help. As a recent report from Modern Restaurant Management says, technology is enabling operators to capture details about guests at every point of their experience – so they can know that one guest is allergic to dairy, or that she likes eating at a certain table. This also means that a server is equipped with food and drink upsell suggestions based on a person’s previous order. So a server may not necessarily offer the same special to every table anymore but instead can make a targeted seafood suggestion that complements the wine that guests at one table have ordered the past three times they have visited your restaurant – then promote plant-based specials to the vegetarians at the next table. This deeper level of personalization extends to a restaurant’s communications with guests too, so you have a range of targeted promotions going out to subsets of your email or text distributions. This year, how can you make your in-person and electronic outreach to guests feel more personal and less one-size-fits-all?
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