Running a restaurant requires more than just serving great food and assuming you’re giving guests exactly what they expect.
You need to know what your most loyal patrons expect so you can keep them coming back, rather than giving their business to competitors.
While you may already gather data through your POS system, it’s not always thorough enough to know what is most important about your guests.
But how do you find the time to collect more thorough guest data?
If you already offer free WiFi to your restaurant patrons, you can turn it into an intelligent data-gathering system using a captive portal.
A captive portal is a page that users are automatically taken to when they attempt to access the internet. On the page, they are asked to enter certain data points – such as their name and email address – prior to gaining access.
In addition, you can implement progressive profiling. This means that every subsequent time that guests log into the WiFi, the captive portal will ask them for a different data point, such as their date of birth, postal code, gender, and other information.
Over time, you will have a database of rich, clean customer data to use for segmentation, marketing, and making operational decisions.
You’ll be able to capture data you couldn’t receive from POS technology and have new methods to do more targeted, less-expensive marketing.
Here are ten best practices for captive portals to use for your restaurant marketing.
1. Monitor Customer Traffic for Better Marketing and Operations
Do you really know how many people come and go from your restaurant each business day? Maybe you know about a few loyal customers, though what about those you don’t know well?
When customers opt in to allowing you to collect their data by choosing to log in, you’ll know exactly who’s coming in, how long they’re staying, and when they leave. If they’re leaving too early, you can then adjust your restaurant marketing strategy, or to tap into other data to see why.
You’ll be able to make marketing and operational decisions with actual customer data and monitor effectiveness. You’ll be making intelligent, data-driven decisions to improve your business and lower costs.
2. Study and Improve Your Guest Churn Rate
It’s normal to see guests churn in the restaurant industry, though you don’t want a high churn rate.
Acquiring mobile data can help you determine some of the more specific reasons why the churn rate is higher than normal.
Does it relate to the wait staff in your restaurant? Or maybe it has to do with your menu and customers wanting some changes. Restaurants that take guest data seriously can study that data for insights into why a churn rate is high.
A WiFi customer intelligence platform like Bloom Intelligence will monitor the visit rates of each individual customer in your database. Using machine learning, it will determine when a customer is at risk of churning and will automatically send them a message to help lure them back.
It is all done behind the scenes. All you have to do is monitor the campaign reporting and tweak your messaging as necessary.
3. Understand How Many Guests are Returning?
Some customers you don’t know well may keep returning to your restaurant without your knowledge.
By studying their data, you can start treating them like VIPs with personalized marketing messages. Likewise, letting them know about special restaurant deals in real-time while in the local area can bring them in immediately.
Studies show that finding new guests is much more expensive than retaining the ones you already have. Get a grasp on your returning guest traffic and you can address return guest management in marketing and operations strategies.
It all starts with collecting customer data using your captive portal and WiFi sensors.
4. Promote Your Loyalty Program
Another best practice is to use the customer data to start a loyalty program for customers you value. You may already have one in place, but mobile data captured automatically goes toward creating more personalized programs.
You can also use your captive portal page to showcase your mobile app or loyalty program, complete with links and information.
Doing more targeting lets you send discount offers to segmented customers based on the things they like and their specific demographics. This will improve guest engagement and help lower marketing costs while improving customer lifetime values.
5. Re-Market to Customers Who Haven’t Visited in a While
It’s inevitable you’ll encounter loyal customers who don’t visit for a long while due to various circumstances.
If you gather data on them with a captive portal, you’ll know how to entice them back with re-marketing efforts. Restaurant re-marketing is sending targeted advertisements to your previous customers only.
You can do this by creating new Google and Facebook ads and target those you know are familiar with your brand, increasing advertising ROI while saving costs over sending mass advertising.
6. Send Offers/Promotions to First-Time Customers
How should you market to a first-time customer visiting your restaurant for the first time?
Capturing their data when they first visit can enable you to put together special offers and limited-time offers you know they’ll like and engage with.
While it might take several visits to gather more data, you can learn a lot about what a first-time visitor enjoys based on their behavior and spend during their visit.
Bloom can easily automate a message to go out to first-time customers to encourage them to return and become loyal guests.
7. Optimize Staff Scheduling and Purchasing
Another best practice for capturing data through a captive portal is to use it to make more profitable business decisions. One of those includes staff scheduling.
Analyzing actual guest data behavior you captured from customers can help you bring in only the staff you really need on certain days and at certain times. Now you can save money on staffing you later realized you didn’t need.
Likewise, knowing your daily guest counts and visit times will help you optimize your food purchasing, eliminating the need to waste food, or have to 86 a menu item.
8. Closely Understand Marketing ROI
Creating content or offers for your restaurant may need A/B testing first. With captive portal data available, you can narrow this down faster so you don’t have to test as long.
Nevertheless, it’s always a best practice to do marketing tests on a consistent basis. Improving your offers can occur faster thanks to the thorough information you’ll have available.
Bloom’s detailed reporting modules can show you how many messages were delivered, how many customers opened and clicked the message, and who came back to your location and redeemed any offer you may have included in the message.
With testing and monitoring these metrics, you can optimize your messaging over time to get the most from your efforts. Best yet, it can all be automated using Bloom’s automated marketing suite of tools.
9. Compare Franchise and Chain Store Data
Those of you owning a restaurant franchise want to know what’s going on in each of your locations.
WiFi technology and captive portal data can help you compare performance at each location. You can easily load metrics from multiple stores and compare them side-by-side to see which stores excel in specific areas.
Then you can compare the marketing efforts from each location and perhaps optimize for locations that are not performing well in certain metrics.
Since the data is stored in the cloud, you can easily access it on your own mobile device to compare how many customers visit each location, and their behavior and spending habits.
The same best practice principles apply to chain restaurants. This could entail a lot more data since your chains may extend across state lines, and even international lines.
Bloom can show you not only the postal codes your customers are visiting from, but also the average income of each postal code area. This data can be used to optimize messaging and send specific messages only to guests from a specific postal code.
What’s important is to equip each restaurant in your chain with a captive portal WiFi system. You’ll finally see a big picture of what’s occurring in all of your stores without having to continually second-guess yourself. It is rich, clean guest data from your actual customers.
10. Discover Bloom Intelligence
What you have read above is only a fraction of what Bloom Intelligence can do to save you time and money while finding new customers, keeping them coming back, and improving your revenue on autopilot!