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The Future of Personalized Customer Experiences in the Restaurant Industry

Running a restaurant is a tough job. Running a restaurant and keeping up with modern trends, implementing tech solutions, and following how customers change spending habits can be nearly impossible.

Which is troubling— now more than ever, business owners need to be cognizant and agile when handling customer trends. The world is changing quickly, and it's up to the leaders to guide their teams into the future. 

Luckily, you don't have to do it alone! Your Incentivio team has the expertise and experience to give you extra hands in the kitchen. 

How To Improve Customer Experience In Restaurant

Aiming to turn customers into regulars isn't a new practice; it has existed as long as inns and eateries have. But today, many tools are available to surprise and delight our customers in new and exciting ways. 

In fact, if you’re a coffee drinker, there's a good chance you've already experienced those tools this morning! No one has done a better job of implementing personalization options than coffee shops. Whether it's a nationwide franchise like Starbucks or your favorite local café, coffee shops worldwide have been leaders in using ethically-gathered consumer information to leverage the customer experience in their favor. Points, rewards, incentives: all these are methods of customer loyalty programs built to curate data to improve your guests’ journey. 

Point programs are one of many alternative methods to engage with your customers. Spotify has famously turned its Spotify Wrapped into a yearly event, creating its self-sustaining marketing campaign. By leveraging their client info, they encourage millions to tune in every December to share their top songs with friends, family, and anyone on the internet who will listen.

So what steps can you take to improve customers' experience in your restaurant? We've prepared a 3-course meal to satisfy that hunger for knowledge. 

Appetizer - Improving the Top-of-Funnel Experience

One question plagues couples, friends, and families alike— "What do you want for dinner tonight?" 

Stay ahead of your competition by staying top-of-mind for new and returning customers. But rather than shoot generic marketing efforts their way, we want our customers to feel personally invited to our eatery for the evening. For new customers, this will look like location-based targeting campaigns, inviting them to the restaurant they're closest to. 

For recurring customers, we want returning to your diner to feel like they're coming home. Guest information and custom tags allow us to make targeted offers to them, whether it be a discount on that dessert they ordered last time or an invitation to come back and try our new seafood platter. 

The important takeaway is for the customer to feel like marketing efforts are personal to them and for their benefit. 

Main Course - In (And Out!) Of Restaurant Experience

It's surprising to no one in the industry that a lot changed post-pandemic. More and more locations are embracing a hybrid model, offering ghost kitchens or sweeping online ordering options. Clients adapting to this service model are seeing an increase in their bottom line because they're meeting their customers where they want to be. 

There's no evidence that this is going to change in the future. Rather, elevating this model will be the path to success for single locations and franchises alike. 

In Restaurant

In coming years, we expect to blur the line between taste and tech further, anticipating customer needs before they arrive. In high-end hospitality, there is an expectation for concierges and servers to remember spendy guests' specific needs and desires. Through technology, we can offer similar quality of life levels without our guests having to break the bank. 

Imagine a world where your server can access your profile and see that you prefer your drink without ice, your steak medium rare, and your ice cream drowning in caramel sauce and topped with three strawberries. That’s a level of personalization that keeps someone coming back for seconds. 

Online Ordering

It's no secret that online ordering has seen a boost since 2020. In fact, one research study showed that in a single three-month period in 2020, online ordering jumped from 1.5% to 43%! It has toned down a bit since then, but we're still seeing higher than pre-pandemic numbers. 

So how do we capitalize on this increased traffic? Personalization! Using the data available, we can tailor the incentives and recommendations to make exploring new foods easier and re-ordering their favs faster.

Here are four ways to increase online order conversions: 

  • Feature their most ordered dish in their personalized promo
  • Suggest popular pairings and additions
  • Set their favorites at the top for easy access
  • Make sure that any deals available are easy to understand and implement

Dessert - Post-Meal Meditations

You've wined, dined, and refined your process of bringing customers to this point, but what do we do next? In theory, the customer has been wow-ed by the customer service, the personalization options, and most of all, the FOOD. In conjunction with the tools mentioned above, you should be well on your way to recapturing a large number of your customer base. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that things don't always work out perfectly. But that's where we come in. Identifying WHY customers churn and taking measures to fix it is our specialty. We believe the art of customer retention is about proactive engagement. Our artificial intelligence algorithm brings the future to today and helps you identify at-risk guests to send automated, targeted offers. 

Here’s Your Check, Don't Forget to Leave a Review! 

Personalization and customization are revolutionizing the restaurant industry, and we will help you stay on the cutting edge. Incentivio is dedicated to helping our clients improve their customers' lifetime value and making dining a more enjoyable experience for all. 

Have questions? We've got answers! Request a demo or talk to a team member today to learn how we can help you improve your customer's restaurant experience. 

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