Why Customer Identity Management is Key to Restaurant Growth in 2020

According to a survey published in Nation’s Restaurant News of restaurant owners and operators on customer data acquisition and utilization, understanding who customers are after they leave the restaurant is a top priority for growth.

However, only 18 percent of the survey’s respondents reported being “extremely confident” in this knowledge.

These results clearly show that there is a growing need for identity management in the restaurant.

What is identity management?

It’s being able to identify real people across channels and devices in real time, combining both online and offline activities to create a unified understanding of each customer. When done correctly, it helps restaurants know who their customers are before, during, and after their visits.

So, why is this data and insight so important? Here are three reasons.

Identifying Commonalities Amongst Different Groups of Customers

By enriching first-party data (orders on a restaurant’s own websites, loyalty programs) with data from external sources (third-party delivery companies), restaurant businesses have the opportunity to uncover new prospects based on related interests. This leads to creating better targeted marketing communications with customer segments that may also share the same preferences.

For example, you might discover that fitness instructors or nutritionists tend to order healthier dishes, or may typically request a healthier replacement to an existing menu item,  for instance, swapping steamed vegetables for french fries in a burger combo.

Restaurants could use this insight to create custom social media ads promoting health-focused options that target gym employees, athletes, or dieticians. And a deal code tacked on to the ads could help convert these prospects into paying customers.

In turn, this also gives restaurants insight into consumer demand for healthy options. If demand is high enough, then a restaurant may consider plans to add more healthy dishes, or simply include a list of healthier modifications to their existing menu items.

Tailor Messages Sent to Your Guests

Insights gathered from effective customer identity management can also enable restaurants to be a lot more personable when communicating with their customers.

Panera Bread, for example, uses data on a customer’s order history and information about their dietary preferences (vegetarian, low sugar, dairy free, etc.) posted on their account profiles to customize the emails that each customer receives. For instance, a customer who ticks the low sugar preference may receive emails promoting the restaurant’s selection of sugar-free teas.

The restaurant also occasionally sends deals that can only be used on a specific menu item that a customer orders fairly often.

Personalized communications tailored to a customer’s taste lets them know that a restaurant is aware of and willing to cater to their very specific wants and needs. And this way of building a relationship with each individual guest is what drives incremental visits and brand loyalty.

Re-engage Inactive Customers

Existing customers are one of the most valuable assets for any restaurant business. However, there may be times when customers lose touch with your restaurant and don’t visit for a while.

Reconnecting with customers who haven’t engaged with your restaurant in months isn’t always easy. But, thankfully, through insights provided from customer identity management, restaurants now have a better chance at reconnecting with their inactive customers.

A look back at a customer’s previous experiences, including their dining journey, most ordered items, or flavor preferences, gives restaurants the ability to create more personalized and enticing deals or offers that have a better chance at getting customers to come back by offering them what they want, how they want it.

In a world where consumers have more choices than ever before, the most effective way to gain and keep their attention is by speaking to their highly individualistic wants and needs.

The key to unlocking this kind of information lies within effective customer identity management and the actionable insights it can provide restaurants. By blending online data with offline customer service, restaurants hold the opportunity to gain new customers, while building stronger relationships with their existing patrons.