Big data is extremely large data sets that may be analyzed to uncover patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. In short, it’s a lot of numbers—millions and billions of numbers—that can tell you more about your customers.
But these numbers provide information you can use to improve your restaurant's operations. Big data is changing industries across the world and the restaurant industry isn’t an exception. You can learn things from how your different target audiences really behave to better market and serve them, to the amount you're spending on scheduling, and the factors that play in generating profit.
Big Data is changing the restaurant industry by allowing the opportunity to objectively analyze data and influence business strategy decisions. It allows restaurants to collect information on long-term trends. It helps build a foundation for strategies. Restaurant chains have begun exploring this more in-depth.
With objective insights, big data can help restaurants improve customer service, operational efficiency, and marketing efforts.
Elevating customer service
With more information, you can make better decisions. Customer surveys can provide both quantitative and qualitative data. With feedback, you can easily recognize pragmatic issues in your processes and adjust your practices to better serve your customers.
One company that is leveraging big data in this way is McDonalds. They have been introducing a data-driven culture by using trend-analytics to better understand patterns occurring at the national, regional, and individual store level. Big data insights were leveraged to improve drive-thru and to roll-out their self-serve kiosks at specific locations.
Maximizing operational efficiency
Mass amounts of data are possible at every touchpoint in a restaurant’s business process—for not only customer behavior but also employee management. Payroll and HR involve a lot of data. Information like sales data, employee feedback, and customer surveys can help you better understand where you can improve. For example, with months and months of data on sales patterns, you can analyze when your restaurant is busiest, adjust your scheduled staff, and handle the spike in demand.
Enhancing marketing efforts
Applebee’s invested in big data research, surveying over 5.7 million customers. With their findings, they were able to dispel stereotypes about their customer demographics and rethink their upcoming relaunch of Applebee’s To-Go. After their investment in big data, the revenue went from 9% to 18% in 2017 and optimized the brand’s digital strategy.
In short, big data helps uncover trends. Restaurants can use it to “zoom out” and see the bigger picture of their analytics.