Although data privacy stands out as a key aspect of the overall customer experience, a majority of restaurant guests and consumers are willing to share personal information if it will be used to create a more customized experience for them.
And recent stats surrounding consumer behavior and demand prove the high level of their expectations when it comes to personalization.
- 90 percent are willing to share their behavioral data if additional benefits are provided that make their experience easier or cheaper
- 63 percent expect personalization as a standard of service and believe they are recognized as an individual when sent special offers
- 71 percent, on average, feel frustrated when their shopping experience is impersonal
- 33 percent consider it to be very frustrating when they’re sent offers that aren’t relevant
- 80 percent are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand that provides personalized experiences
- 72 percent only engage with marketing messages that are customized to their specific interests
- 70 percent of Millennials are frustrated with brands sending them irrelevant marketing emails and prefer personalized emails over batch and blast communications
- 7 in 10 Americans are willing to stay loyal to a brand, even if it costs them more, as long as they received a more personalized service in return
Considering these indicators, restaurant operators can no longer ignore the impact that personalization has on their bottom lines and, essentially, on their long-term success. However, the ability to deliver consistently relevant, personalized communications and experiences can be a struggle for many restaurants, and many may be wondering where to start.
If you’re seeking to add more personalization to your customers’ experiences, here are a few key tactics that you can employ.
Stay On Top of Guest Management
Effective guest management is still one of the best ways to create a more personalized experience for customers. Your guests don’t always need a big production number to feel welcome and appreciated, but restaurants should follow some key and simple actions to help enhance customer service and make customer experiences more memorable.
- Greeting them by name, when possible—people really do want to go where everybody (or, at least, some staff members) knows their name
- Matching your level of attentiveness to each table’s preferences, so that you don’t neglect or smother customers—some may want lots of friendly interaction, while others prefer a more professional approach
- Going above and beyond to provide assistance when needed—for instance, helping guests with mobility
- Getting to know the preferences of regular customers—for example, how they like their steak, where they prefer to sit, or what their favorite drink is
Personable actions like these across various touchpoints in a guest’s dining experience can go a long way when it comes to building the kind of loyal customer relationships that result in incremental visits.
Provide a Unique Experience
Delivering a customized, best-in-class experience for a guest beyond the typical courtesies can further help you create a customer for life.
A married couple may keep coming back to the restaurant where they got engaged because a server might have helped to make that night extra special.
A group of friends may frequently meet up at the same café because staff members made one of their birthdays memorable.
A woman might take her daughter to the same ice cream shop her mother did when she was a kid because the waitstaff were also so accommodating.
The more effort you put into going the extra mile to make special moments in your customers’ lives even more unforgettable, the more likely they are to reward you with more sales and positive recommendations.
Keep in Touch
The experiences that guests have with restaurant brands are no longer confined to the moments when they’re dining there.
In today’s digital age, connected consumers can interact with companies 24/7, making it imperative for restaurant brands to evolve the way they engage with them to create genuine conversations and build more authentic relationships that translate into long-term business.
Restaurants brands can effectively stay in touch with customers by:
- Sending them marketing messages tailored to their wants and needs – for example, sending emails that include a deal on a menu item they order regularly
- Offering them a deal for a special occasion in their lives – for instance, a free bottle of wine for a couple’s anniversary or a free slice of cake on their birthday
Of course, this level of personalization requires effective data gathering, and technology can help make this effort a lot easier.
OneDine’s all-in-one solution, for instance, allows restaurants to capture information posted on customers’ profiles on the platform. Guests can customize their profiles to reflect their dietary and lifestyle preferences, such as their favorite cuisine, dishes, spice levels, and much more. This insight helps restaurant brands understand the unique demands of each guest, so that they can serve them better, both inside and outside the restaurant.
Today’s connected consumers no longer value personalization — they demand it. Savvy restaurant operators that take advantage of technology to gain in-depth insights into their guests’ behaviors and go the extra mile to deliver exceptional experiences are the ones most likely to gain consistent, long-term business.