Big Data’s Role in Restaurant Marketing


Leverage big data and analytics to help increase your revenue.

Big data. Analytics. These are terms that nearly everyone in business has heard of, yet most have only a vague understanding of their power and value.

Restaurants that adopt better data practices will be surprised at how much there is to learn about their consumers, operational processes, pricing and more. This is a meaty concept, so today I’ll cover what big data is and some examples of how other restaurants have successfully leveraged it.

You already have big data

Google defines big data as “extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.” This sounds complicated, and it is, but the good news is that restaurants actually generate a ton of data every single day.

The most obvious place to look is your POS system, which houses information on what menu items you’re selling, what they cost, promotion redemptions and who is visiting your restaurant. Your CRM tool has detailed personal information on members. Your accounting department has financial data such as costs, revenue and profit. Your supply inventory and supply prices are data, too. So are employee schedules, wages and tips. If you’re not storing information like this yet, now is the time to start!

How can all of that help restaurants drive revenue?

The possibilities for driving ROI through an investment in big data and analytics are truly endless, so let’s focus on two interesting examples that may give you some ideas for your own business.

One QSR monitors its drive-thru line in real time and leverages the data to change what menu items are featured on the digital menu. This allows them to maximize drive-thru revenue. If the line is long, the menu shows items that are easy and quick to prepare. If the line is short, the menu highlights more expensive items that aren’t as quick to prepare but boost revenue and profit.

Another restaurant analyzed the demographics and psychographics of their high-value customers, and use that data to choose the location for a new restaurant. They found a location with a high density of people who were similar to their best customers. The revenue impact of the decision outweighed the cost of the analytics investment by 10x.

These examples only scratch the surface, but they should give you an idea of the doors big data can open for your restaurant!

About Gina Lee De Freitas

Gina Lee De Freitas has 15+ years marketing the restaurant industry. She is the Chief Operating Officer/ Partner at IMM, a digital ad agency.
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