Fast-casual and fast-food restaurants have increasingly become a diner’s favorite go-to place as they eschew the cost of full service dining. Combining the menu selections and ambiance of an enhanced dining experience with the speed and convenience of fast food, the fast-casual market isgrowing at an annual rate of 10.6% and is expected to reach $209.1 billion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research.
But customers won’t just frequent your location because it’s convenient. Restaurant managers who want to keep their current customers and see new customers walk through the door should focus on creating great in-location experiences for them.
Before you can create experiences that are personalized, engaging, fun and fit your customers’ wants, you need to actually know who your customer is. This can be accomplished through customer analytics. You can not only collect customer analytics through the technology in your restaurant, you can use the insights gained to serve up those great experiences through your digital signage, too. Here’s how.
How to use customer analytics
Do you truly know your customer? Moreso, do you know how your marketing strategies are influencing the habits and purchases of customers who walk into your restaurant? It’s much harder to track your audience in real life than it is online, but there are ways to do it. And by learning more about their demographics, how much they spend, what they purchase and how long they stay during a visit, you can better tailor their experience.
Collect. Start by collecting all that data about your customers by leveraging a number of tools to do so. You are likely already tracking customers’ data through your POS system, through email collection, through any loyalty programs you have or even through WiFi log-ins. But you can also collect data on customers by analyzing their movements as they move through their dining experience. Cameras embedded through your restaurant’s signage paired with AI can analyze customer movements, what they’re paying attention to, and even their mood as they dine.
Analyze. Once you have all that data, it’s time to analyze it by looking for patterns in the data, or looking for answers to questions you may have, like “Who is the demographic that typically stays for longer than an hour?” Customer analytics tools can do this for you, as they can take your data and make it into charts and graphs so you can visualize those patterns. Once you start to see what the data is telling you, create a list of insights that you can turn into action.
Implement. Finally, take the insights you’ve learned from your data and take action on them. Implement new strategies in your restaurant, or tweak current initiatives based on what you find in the data. This allows you to take a data-driven approach to your marketing, instead of simply guessing. One of the ways to implement that strategy is through your in-location signage.
Customer analytics and digital signage
Use the digital signage in your restaurant to not only collect data, but to help execute your new data-driven initiatives by using anonymous facial analysis technology built into your digital displays. This can be done through menu boards, ordering kiosks, window signage, outdoor promotional signage and counter tablets.
For example, you have a self-serve kiosk in your restaurant that, while idle, displays items from your menu. But as someone approaches, cameras in the display detect who your customer is and, based on your customer data, can tailor promoted menu offerings according to their persona. Seeing something they might like more than any other demographic will get them more engaged and ready to eat.
Ultimately, these AI-driven content experiences allow you to deliver more personalization to your customers — and 80% of customers say they’re more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalized experiences, according to Epsilon research. There are many different types of AI-powered restaurant displays you can use as well.
Many locations today are switching to digital menus, which allow for real-time updating and lower costs. They can also keep your food displays customer-centered and contextualized so you can sell more items and increase your restaurant’s profitability. Use your menu boards to measure how many people are looking at your boards, which boards and promotions receive the most attention, and which demographic groups are most engaged — which will give you lots of data about your customer base.
Self-service kiosks are growing in popularity as well, and 42% of Gen Z diners prefer to order from a screen. Self-service kiosks also get customers through the line quicker, which is important considering that 70% of customers would be less likely to return to your restaurant if they had experienced a long wait, according to Intel Research. Use the cameras in self-service kiosks to analyze who your customer is and offer them personalized menu suggestions, as seen above. By showing carefully-curated offerings rather than overstimulating customers with the entire menu, you can get them to make faster choices and experience a smoother ordering process.
Finally, the benefits of this kind of approach are many. Not only can you offer real-time menu personalization, but you can upsell based on your various customer personas. Optimize the ordering process and queue flow with this personalized touch as well, and these types of experiences can help boost engagement with your digital experience. Ultimately, analytics tracking and data-driven actions can be done without needing to pull your employees away from providing great customer service and food.
Enhancing your restaurant
Your restaurant is already popular. Now secure your position as your customers’ favorite go-to by offering them personalized options and engaging, digital experiences that will keep them wanting to come back.
Bobby Marmahat is the CEO of Raydiant — a Digital signage and in-store experience solutions provider.