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Restauranteurs, a notoriously traditional bunch, have put on their hard hats and stormed the beaches of technology.

Contactless delivery, QR codes, ghost kitchens and even fully autonomous restaurants were birthed to acclimate in this new world.

Industries such as travel and banking leaped towards innovation years ago with venture capital and private equity firms backing startups to continuously reshape their landscape. Now, restaurants are taking that leap and operators are just dipping their toes into this new reality. Over the past few years, little has been left undisrupted in the hospitality space and tech savvy solutions have equipped operators with tools to not only help them survive but thrive. From the chalkboard to the digital menu board or from calling to make a reservation to online bookings, the foodservice industry has come a long way to move past its ancient non-progressive ways. Restauranteurs are amidst a restaurant tech boom and entrepreneurs are innovating at a pace never seen before. That being said, innovation has come too far for us to allow it to stale away.

Taking Control of  Your Data 

There was a time when serving up good food was sufficient, however with the evolving landscape and the change in consumer demands, delectable dishes are no longer enough to drive traffic. Operators are currently sitting on mass amounts of information that’s constantly being collected from a variety of sources. The problem? They have no idea how to make sense of it.

It’s no secret that operators struggle to take control of their data. Much of that hassle comes from their basic day to day technologies being siloed. “Imagine if you had a village full of very smart people who had very important things to say. Now imagine that none of those people spoke the same language,” said Dan Meth, CEO at, on the Hospitality HangoutIngest, is a data management analytics solution that consolidates data and runs analysis for disparate vendors. The software helps operators make sense of complex information by ingesting the information from tools and putting it into a format that operators can better wrap their heads around. By implementing data driven tools such as Ingest operators can know more about their business by thinking less.

Data: The Secret Sauce to Consumer Growth 

1. Dishing Up Personalized Experiences

Whether it’s a customer’s allergy or a consistent craving, knowing your consumer is a way to increase loyalty and boost revenue. Today’s winning operators will continuously utilize data to build relationships and provide each guest with a personalized guest experience. According to a survey by Salesforce“more than two-thirds of consumers expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations. More than 90 percent base repeat purchase decisions on a great customer experience, but only one-third say brands actually do a good job delivering personalization.”

Consumer expectations will only heighten and Incentivio is one company making this a statistic of the past! Incentivio is every restauranteurs secret best friend, working behind the scenes to feed you data that guests want restaurants to have. With the platform operators can…

  • Predict what guests are likely to buy
  • Know their customers purchases (including gift cards)
  • Conduct an analysis on seasonal preferences
  • Present the right “add on” to customers at checkout
  • Create drip campaigns, sms marketing
  • Predict who will churn

2. The Power of Reviews

From comment cards to online reviews or an awkward conversation with the manager at your dinner table, operators have tried it all when it came to acquiring honest feedback. Fast forward to today and leaving/receiving reviews has never been more straightforward.

Tools like Ovation and Yumpingo are not only platforms that alleviate the hassle of leaving a review, but the platforms collect data that provides game changing insights. Take a dive into the platforms below.

  • Yumpingo’s customer experience management platform provides operators with data to create consistent experiences across every dish, every shift, every server, and every service style. Through the initial guest review, restaurants can execute on compiled insights to improve a specific location, make alterations to food or address service issues that are impacting guest happiness.
  • Ovation, a guest feedback and reviews platform, allows operators to instantly engage with guests in the moment to resolve concerns. The platform gathers data from individual customers in-store, through delivery and pickup enabling operators to track customer habits and use marketing to target customers based on their behavioral characteristics. In 2021, Ovation and Spendgo teamed up to take feedback and loyalty to the next level, which brings us to #3.. loyalty!

3. Buy Consumers Love through Incentives

A PYMNTS and Paytronix collaboration, found that restaurants offering digital apps with the most comprehensive suites of features and loyalty programs tend to draw the most business. By embracing a loyalty solution, you have access to consumers preference data and can strategically market to your customer. Spendgo, a tool that integrates with any POS or online ordering system, gathers this information and allows you to create personalized offers based on previous purchases. Reaching customers in-store, online or via mobile with Spendgo’s data empowering technology is a piece of cake.

4.  Marketing – Bring Home The Gold 

Marketing goes beyond posting pictures of scrumptious food. Successful marketers create thoroughly crafted plans geared to penetrate the heart of every consumer and bring home the gold. When you bring data and marketing together you’ve unearthed a treasure trove of actionable insights that all you need to do is act upon. Nonetheless, while operators aren’t data scientist they also aren’t CMO’s. The primary concern independent restaurants have is how they’ll compete with chains armed with deep pockets and marketing power. The solution is partnering with a marketing platform that will take your data to generate new and repeat customers!

Targetable is a digital marketing solution that serves as restauranteurs outsourced CMO helping business stay innovative in this competitive landscape. Not only does the platform create  content and improve discoverability but they help operators choose the right KPI’s for their campaigns and create pixels to start storing data to make better informed decisions.

LuckyDiem is an advertising platform that offers cash back rewards and only charges operators when customers buy a meal at their restaurant. The platform offers a real time dashboard and analytics tool so operators can easily track every dollar spent on marketing and make data-directed decision making.

The Future 

According to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry 2030 report, “Data-driven decisions will expand beyond sales and staffing applications to guest services, supply-chain logistics, and menu development, allowing restaurant to adapt what to sell in real time as demand dictates.” Whether you like it or not the next few years are sink or swim as we grow into a more data-driven industry. The truth is that technology is being built based off data, vendors are flocking at the chance to acquire information and most importantly growing customers (aka revenue) is all about data. With data driven solutions right at our fingertips, restaurateurs will need to embrace these innovations and those that don’t keep up – will get left behind.

Tune in next week as we dive into Part 2 of How Data is Sculpting the Modern-Day Restaurant!