Top Benefits of Restaurant CRM
As the digital age advances, restaurants have found numerous new opportunities to advertise and engage with audiences. Indeed, statistics show that 59.5% of the world’s population is now online, and restaurants are rightfully following suit. However, especially in a post-COVID digital landscape, challenges abound as well. A notable one among them, for it has persisted within the industry, is connecting with customers long-term. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software seeks to address this, along with uncovering other opportunities for growth. But what exactly is it, and how does it seek to benefit businesses? Let’s explore that and delve into the top benefits of restaurant CRM to keep in mind.
What is CRM?
Initially, let’s define CRM. As the name suggests, CRM is a series of practices that seeks to manage customer interactions and foster long-term retention. These include collecting customer data for marketing personalization, maintaining inquiry records to enhance customer service, and more. In turn, CRM software is software specifically dedicated to these practices.
That said, specialized CRM software will typically come in one of 3 main subtypes to better serve its purpose. These are:
- Operational CRM. This type specializes in marketing automation and workflow optimization.
- Analytical CRM. This type offers enhanced analytics and delves into profitability analysis, predictive modeling, and sales forecasts.
- Collaborative CRM. Finally, this type focuses on breaking down data silos, consolidating communication channels, and streamlining internal collaboration.
Specializations aside, which you may consider depending on your needs, the benefits of restaurant CRM lie in their basic features. Unlike specialized features, these are largely common to all CRM solutions, as they step from their core functionalities. In no particular order, we’ve listed them below.
1. CRM Customer Database
While CRM solutions may vary considerably, they all come with a customer database — by definition! Here you may collect customer information to process and analyze, for practices like:
- Customer segmentation.
- Lead scoring.
- Profitability analysis.
For restaurants, a CRM database is a supercharged guest database. You can use it for simple record-keeping or to inform your business decisions.
2. CRM Automation Tools
Then, CRM solutions will come with automation features. Depending on your solution, these may include:
- Workflow automation.
- Custom event triggers, such as follow-up emails.
- Communication logs.
Your use for such features will ary. Still, any automation you can implement can save valuable time and reduce human errors. For example, basic email automation can let your campaigns stretch beyond regular working hours.
3. CRM Analytics and Reports
Finally, CRM solutions provide immense analytics capabilities. In this regard, reports are how you may best put all the useful information CRM provides under the microscope. Those may include:
- Sales cycle reports.
- CRM pipeline reports.
- Goal progress reports.
These analytics and tangible metrics that will best allow you to measure ongoing campaigns and overall progress.
CRM is by no means a passing trend either. Statista notes it is the single largest software market in the world today, and is “forecast to grow to 43.5 billion U.S. dollars in size in 2024.” With all the capabilities such solutions provide, it’s easy to see why.
What is Restaurant CRM?
With the above in mind, then, what is “restaurant CRM” specifically? Put simply, it’s any CRM solution that specifically caters to the needs of restaurants and restaurant owners.
CRM often specializes in a specific industry to better meet its needs. Thus, while any robust general-use CRM may serve you well, a restaurant CRM should ideally have 2 core features:
Those aside, as highlighted previously, no two CRM solutions will be identical. Thus, other features to inspect would be the standard fields in customer and guest profiles, GDPR compliance, and so forth. In brief, anything that directly addresses your industry-specific needs could, and should, inform your final choice of CRM.
Top Benefits of Restaurant CRM
Now, having discussed the above, the benefits of restaurant CRM solutions are numerous. With such capabilities, the only limit to using one effectively is your creativity. However, as a starting point, consider 5 among the most notable ones.
1. It Lets You Know Your Audiences
Regardless of industry, who doesn’t benefit from knowing their audiences? Consider the ways in which your restaurant CRM can segment your audiences for additional insights, including:
- Demographic segmentation.
- Behavioral segmentation.
- Value-based segmentation.
For restaurants specifically, such analytics can inform your practices in many ways. For some rudimentary examples, consider the following:
- Recommend dishes, beverages, and more based on past preferences.
- Seat guests at their preferred tables.
- Put a candle in a dessert or otherwise surprise a guest if their birthday or anniversary is approaching.
Of course, these are just some in-service examples. The benefits of restaurant CRM solutions notably extend to marketing, as they can for other industries.
2. It Informs Your Marketing Outreach
As CRM regularly delves into email and marketing automation, putting your insights to use in that regard is only natural. Consider such email marketing enhancements as:
- Personalized emails. You may use a visitor’s data to personalize emails, from the subject line to offers based on their history.
- Email timing. Similarly, you may time your outreach based on your data; different visitor segments respond better at different times.
- Email automation. Finally, you may use lead scoring and other insights to automate email outreach, including follow-up emails.
In the same vein, you may inform your guerilla marketing tactics, should you be engaging in some. Among those we’ve outlined previously, consider the following:
- Pop-up kitchens. Geographical data on your visitors can inform where you’d best set up pop-up kitchens.
- Taste-testing. Similarly, CRM data can inform where you conduct taste-testing and what you bring for potential customers.
- Digital hangouts. Finally, your CRM will likely integrate with your social media, a perfect opportunity to inform how you conduct digital hangouts.
Of course, these too are but simple examples. Your creativity will best determine how you put the benefits of restaurant CRM to practical use.
3. It Integrates with Your POS System for More Data
This is where the distinction between regular CRM and restaurant CRM becomes crucial. A restaurant CRM should integrate with your POS system, allowing you to record purchase histories for different profiles. You may then put these to use in multiple ways, as well, such as:
- Note food allergies for more efficient menu engineering.
- Make more accurate in-service recommendations.
- Keep cleaner records of customers’ purchasing trends.
These and other practices will both enhance your visitors’ experience, and let you make more reliable sales forecasts.
4. It Enhances Your Loyalty Programs
On the subject of long-term longevity, then, statistics show that most restaurants rightfully have some loyalty programs in place. Restaurant CRM solutions can help inform and refine them in many ways as well, including:
- Crafting more relevant, personalized offers to loyalty members.
- Informing special offers for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays.
- Informing cash-to-points exchange rates.
In turn, creating fine-tuned loyalty programs will resonate better with your audiences, and help secure long-term retention.
5. It Enhances Customer Retention
Finally, customer retention is an absolutely crucial metric across all industries. The restaurant industry is no exception, as a staggering 70% of first-time restaurant visitors never return.
To demonstrate the value of customer retention, consider the following statistics, courtesy of The White House Office of Consumer Affairs:
- Acquiring a new customer costs 6-7 times more than retaining an existing one.
- On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
- A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by up to 125%.
Through all of the above practices and more, you may cultivate long-term relations and increase retention rates. From more personalized marketing to in-service recommendations and conduct, knowing your visitors and catering to them at every step of the way is the ultimate benefit of restaurant CRM.
Benefits of a Restaurant CRM — Conclusion
To summarize, restaurant CRM is any CRM solution that specifically caters to the needs of restaurants. Its benefits can span across the entire customer journey, from personalized marketing and in-service conduct to a fine-tuned loyalty program. With proper integrations into your reservation system and POS system, the possibilities are only limited by your creativity.
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About the Author
Dylan Hughes is a digital marketer, food blogger, and part-time copywriter. As an avid CRM advocate, he is a frequent contributor to MoversTech CRM, where he authors content on the expanding capabilities of this ever-evolving software type.