Customer Data Management: The Importance of Owning Your Data

With customer data, your restaurant can personalize the dining experience. Learn how you can gain access to this data with a new restaurant app.

Technology for restaurants is ascending to the stars, with digital ordering and delivery leading the way. With that comes mountains of customer data, and it’s sometimes taboo to talk about who owns that information. We hate to break it to you, but if you use third-party delivery (3PD) or out-of-box solutions, those tantalizing nuggets of customer insights are usually out of your hands.

For restaurants, it’s never been a better time to own your customer data. COVID-19 hit the industry hard, and you need to drive traffic. Part of that includes taking control of customer information. If you already have an app solution that hides key insights, make a change. And if you’re just peering into the restaurant app world for the first time, listen up.

Regardless of the type of app you develop or the provider you select, customer data is more critical than it’s ever been. Not convinced? Let’s look at what you lose by forfeiting control over customer data management and what you gain by taking action on those valuable insights.

What are the drawbacks of not having control over customer data?

When you use a third-party delivery (3PD) service like DoorDash or Uber Eats, you benefit from their brand presence. But what are you giving up? It’s a delicate balance.

You need marketing support for discoverability, and 3PDs deliver by surfacing your restaurant to new customers who may not have otherwise found it. But it elevates their brand, not yours. And besides, customers would rather order from you directly.

From a marketing perspective, when you don’t control your customer data management, you lose opportunities to build relationships and market to customers. You might have loyal customers through a third-party mobile app, but you can’t customize offers, rewards, or item suggestions.

Meet in the middle

Not every restaurant needs to build its own website or mobile app—though there are benefits to that approach. On the contrary, if your restaurant has multiple locations or needs specific features, a fully custom app is probably not the best option. Instead, you may be better off with a white-label solution like Octocart. As a happy medium between from-scratch development and the pervasive 3PDs, you get:

  • A high-quality digital representation of your brand.
  • An opportunity to use your brand name to turn 3PD leads into loyal direct customers.

With this approach, you have the freedom to customize parts of the experience—logos, fonts, and offers—without over-the-top maintenance needs. Plus, you control all customer data, opening new doors to reach your customers and give them what they want.

What does it mean to own customer data?

Remember the TV jingles of the 90s that hoped to draw customers in with a catchy tune? They were clever, but not often effective. You would walk away with an earworm but still couldn’t say whose ad it was.

Today, your marketing can’t be like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Customers want to know that you get them, and you need to personalize their experience with your brand.

That doesn’t just mean adding a [First Name] email token. It’s data-driven. You need to look at your restaurant experience and trends, noting aspects such as:

  • Eating habits.
  • Purchase preferences.
  • Average order spend.
  • Popular dishes.

With this level of insight, you have opportunities to customize the restaurant experience.

Example: Create a personalized customer loyalty program based on the data. What are the most popular dishes? Tailor a special accordingly. For example, the most popular pasta dishes are available on Sunday nights, family-style! This experience replaces old-school coupon placement.

Gain new operational insights

When you have control over your customer data, you unlock a great deal of information. This allows you to track operational data, providing the tools to:

  • Forecast higher volume days and times to staff accordingly
  • Get insights on favorite dishes to anticipate supply chain needs
Make sense of a treasure trove of customer data

Make no mistake: You will have a lot of customer data to dig through. You need to easily digest (pun intended) and act on the flurry of available information. Once you start building out your restaurant app, make sure you understand what you can realistically do with the new world of information that’s suddenly opened up:

  • How will you receive customer data?
  • What types of reports can you generate “out of the box”?

You want to make it easier to build customer relationships. The more you can automate, the better! Work with your development team to make customer data management as easy as pie.

Leverage customer data with a new restaurant app

Move over, content. Data is the new king. It’s a little strange to think of how much you can learn about your customers, but customer data management unlocks new ways to personalize the restaurant experience—a win-win for both sides. Favorite dishes? Peak busy times? With the right restaurant app solution in place, these insights and more customer data are right at your fingertips.

Ready to start your restaurant app project?

See Octocart in action to put your plan in motion.

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