Left on its own, data has a tendency to sit idly by. However, raw data combined with business intelligence tool can be powerful. Powerful enough that it can help you get to know your customers better. With the right sources of data, you can learn the demographics of your customers, such as their age, income level, location, what kind of food they like, where else they dine, and even whether or not they consume alcohol.

Pairing data from your traditional internal sources intuitive software can demonstrate the power of big data.

Changing the Way You Interact with Guests

With usable data, you can quickly build a dynamic customer database with email and by “listening” on social media.  Yelp, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and Foursquare allow you to see how you’re doing, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good for engaging current and prospective guests.

You can then use the data to improve menu items, add new entrees, or eliminate choices that aren’t popular. With the proper software, you can find out what people are saying about you on social media, and what the buzz is on restaurants like yours.

Measuring How You’re Doing with Guests

Usable data from business intelligence tools can help you measure the performance of your marketing campaigns, understanding which promotions work, and when. With specific information, you can tie your marketing to specific customer preferences, menu items, sales, and service.  Empowered, you can measure the correlation between menu changes and profitability.

Improving Guest Experience

Some business intelligence tools can track which guests drink wine or specialty drinks, order seafood, enjoy pasta, or have special seating preferences.  The software is one step in a big-data process that can help you note trends about individual diners. With the right tools, you can begin to customize the dining experience for individual guests.

Another way big data can improve guests’ dining experiences is tailored sales. For example, data tied to your reservation system can provide a sneak peak of which guests are arriving during upcoming shifts.  It can alert chefs and servers to regular or VIP customers.  Using guest profiles, your servers can subtly suggest menu choices, celebrate birthdays or special occasions, or run specials to bring in more business.

With today’s real-time analytics, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Virtually any question you have about making your restaurant more profitable, from operational efficiencies to customers’ real thoughts on your product, can be answered by consulting the right set of data.