bout 10 years ago, major retailers began offering the option to order online, ship, and pick up in store and, ultimately, changed the way we shop. The pandemic forced the restaurant industry to take a page out of the retail playbook through the rapid adoption of technology, such as online ordering, delivery, curbside pickup, order management, pay at the table, remote waitlist, and more.
Now, many restaurant brands are struggling to figure out what to do with all this newly collected guest data. In an effort to empower brands to collect, analyze, and act on their guest data, Wisely just launched the first-ever restaurant CDP.
We sat down with Kelly MacPherson, Chief Technology Officer at Union Square Hospitality Group, and Warwick McLaren, VP of Omni Channel Marketing at Global Franchise Group, to discuss why a restaurant CDP matters now more than ever and how leading brands are leveraging Customer Intelligence to personalize the guest experience, maximize customer lifetime value, and drive profit.
Click the play button below to watch the entire conversation from FWD, Wisely’s Spring Release Event, or read on for a summary.
How restaurants can borrow from the retail playbook to drive profit
Just as the shift to online shopping accelerated CRM adoption, personalization, and one-to-one marketing for retailers, restaurants are now faced with the same challenge and opportunity: How to use robust customer data coupled with powerful predictive analytics to improve the overall guest experience and drive profit.
“If you start to look at some of the investments of some of the large QSR brands in the past several years—you know, McDonald’s, YUM!, to name a few—they’re all acquiring tech companies focused on personalization, customer analytics, and dynamic content to really drive profitability,” said MacPherson.
With Customer Intelligence, restaurant brands can see exactly where and why customers spend money. They can also quantify the results of marketing dollars spent, staff training, menu optimization, real estate selection, and more.
In the same way that Google, Amazon, Disney, Netflix, Instagram and other leading retailers tailor your shopping or viewing experience to your preferences, restaurants are now able to personalize the dining experience. And leading brands are already reaping the benefits in terms of profitability.
The power of a restaurant CDP, and the build vs. buy debate
Until now, restaurants had no way to create individual guest profiles by connecting data from restaurant-centric systems like POS, payment processors, ordering, table management, WiFi, loyalty, SMS, and beyond. Nor did they have any way to push that data to restaurant-specific destinations like the host stand, menu engineering tools, data warehouse, paid media platforms, and more.
Enter the first-ever CDP purpose-built for restaurants. With Wisely’s restaurant CDP, brands can now unlock new ways to connect data across restaurant-specific systems, and power business decisions and growth.
In this webinar, MacPherson, McLaren, Wisely Cofounder and CEO Mike Vichich, and Wisely's VP of Engineering, Ushashi Chakraborty, discuss the power of a restaurant CDP and the importance of buying versus building. McLaren begins by sharing his perspective on why brands need a CDP, using Round Table Pizza as an example.
“We've really been focused on not just ways that we can better improve the experience in the stores, but now how we can obviously improve the experience across our technology ecosystem—new ways that we can innovate, better ways to move data, and get more personalized with communication with our guests,” said McLaren. “CDPs really give you an understanding of how the guest is actually traversing across your entire ecosystem … and enable brands to move data across the ecosystem so much easier than you ever could before.”
Given the sheer volume of restaurant integrations, as well as the ongoing challenge of maintaining, iterating, and scaling a secure system, brands can benefit tremendously from partnering with a team that has the technical expertise and resources to execute—rather than attempting to build their own.
“The best move is to align with a strong partner,” said MacPherson. “Oftentimes when we go into build discussions, people forget about the care and feeding that they take—and it's ongoing. If you're not structured or staffed right, it can inhibit innovation moving forward because you're spending so much time on bug fixes and small enhancements.”
McLaren added that managing a robust guest data set can feel overwhelming, especially when you have a small team. With the right partner, the possibilities of acting on that guest data become much more achievable.
“The lift is so realistic now for brands of all sizes,” said McLaren. “There really is no limitation on the technical side to get started, which is great.”
When evaluating which CDP is right for your restaurant, Chakraborty advised brands to consider four things:
- Connect: Can the solution get the systems to talk? Can it unify siloed data?
- Govern: The ability to keep data clean, secure, and private
- Analyze: Can the CDP resolve identity, store data, aggregate data, and send it to other destinations to build profiles?
- Act: Can you use that data everywhere in your business?
How restaurants are leveraging Customer Intelligence to personalize the guest experience
A restaurant CDP gives brands a holistic view of the customer base so they can sort, analyze, and act on those insights instantly—or, in other words, enhance the guest experience at every touchpoint.
“If Mike comes into one of our restaurants, I want to know that Mike loves bourbon,” said MacPherson. “I want to be more anticipatory about the hospitality that I'm delivering as opposed to just waiting for a post-experience review of the service. We really believe that having those insights and information about our guests will help enable a better experience.”
Hyper-personalization is step one. With a restaurant CDP, guest data can also influence culinary, labor, real estate, marketing, and other critical business decisions.
“You have to be delivering exceptional experiences now, whether it’s away from the restaurant or at the restaurant,” said McLaren. “Really understanding what the consumer is interested in, when they want to interact with your brand, and tailoring your messaging that fits in with the constructs of what they’re looking for is so paramount now because at a subconscious level, we’re all sort of wanting to say, this brand really gets me.”
Leading brands that successfully leverage Customer Intelligence to provide this level of exceptional experience are seeing more frequent guest visits, higher engagement rates across channels, and lower paid acquisition costs.