Customer Relationship Management 101 for Restaurants

Customers are the backbone of any business, and without them, any business would fail. Top-quality customer service is essential for any restaurant. This is where a CRM (customer relationship management) system enters the picture.

Customer relationship management keeps track of customer details and is a fundamental aspect of running a restaurant. It can lead to increased profits through repeat sales, and it can improve customer satisfaction by providing better insights into customer behavior.

Every business needs a way to organize, manage, track, and nurture current and potential customers. For restaurants, the best way to do that is with CRM technology that’s integrated with their ordering system.

What Is CRM?

At its core, CRM allows businesses to get to know guests and carefully manages interactions with them. It also helps develop relationships with potential diners at your establishment. CRM provides restaurateurs with a set of tools to organize, track, manage, and market to customers through a business’s entire sales lifecycle.

Customer relationship management tools can help restaurant staff identify trends in customer behavior. They’re critical to understanding customers on a more personal level, and to marketing to them accordingly. They can shape future menu offerings and promotions, based on purchasing trends.

We love this explanation from Salesforce of a CRM’s goal: “improve business relationships to grow your business.” That sums it up perfectly. As they put it, “A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.”

Here’s another good one, from Investopedia: “Customer relationship management includes the principles, practices, and guidelines an organization follows when interacting with its customers. From the organization’s point of view, this entire relationship encompasses direct interactions with customers, such as sales and service-related processes, forecasting, and the analysis of customer trends and behaviors. Ultimately, CRM serves to enhance the customer’s overall experience.”

CRM can make all the difference in developing streamlined and efficient working practices. It lays a solid foundation for enhanced customer intelligence.

Which Type of CRM Is Best for Your Restaurant?

Restaurants should look for integrated guest CRM functionalities that collect data while providing the best customer experience. Restaurant owners who use integrated CRM systems appreciate the advantages of having everything in one spot, enabling them to make better choices when it comes to customer loyalty, marketing, and upselling.

Finding a CRM that fits your restaurant’s needs and budget doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some key benefits to look for when choosing a CRM for your restaurant:

  • Key customer contact information, especially email address
  • Order history
  • Option to create customer accounts
  • Detailed sales data, such as order counts, average spend, and total spend
  • Connected to your restaurant’s loyalty program
  • Can be used for your restaurant’s marketing campaigns
  • Extends your guest’s experience beyond your storefront
  • Data storage integrity

MenuDrive isn’t technically a CRM; it’s an online ordering system for restaurants. Yet it has all the above capabilities and more, fully integrated with its online ordering platform. You might find that you don’t need a separate CRM system at all. You might be able to use other restaurant software if its CRM capabilities are robust enough.

Why CRM?

Using CRM in any business is a step in the right direction, but that’s especially the case in the hospitality industry. Any business that uses any form of marketing can benefit from having customer data, such as order history and contact information. This data can inform marketing campaigns and help business owners understand their clientele. Instead of flooding as many contacts as possible with a generic marketing campaign, restaurants can identify trends in customer habits and act accordingly, increasing profits and fostering greater customer confidence and satisfaction.

Integrating information from a CRM helps you better serve your customers and make positive changes to your restaurant’s business model. Use a CRM to provide top-notch service to your most valuable assets: your customers.

Check out our list of benefits for using a restaurant CRM.

Benefits of a CRM for Restaurants

There are plenty of reasons why it helps to have a restaurant CRM. Below are some of them.

Store customer data alongside other key restaurant data. If your online ordering system has CRM capabilities, you can track orders, sales reports, and customer data all in one place. Managing your restaurant has never been easier.

Keep customer data secure. Customers want to know that their personal data is safe. Make sure you’re using a secure CRM to protect from data breaches. By storing data in a customer relationship management system with security protections, you give your customers peace of mind, and your data is kept safe.

Know your customer. Customer relationship management is one of the most fundamental aspects of any business. Using CRM correctly means that customer transactions and interactions are smooth and efficient. CRM plays a large role in successful marketing campaigns and can be a huge help to sales staff when they’re trying to identify customers’ purchasing trends. CRM removes the guesswork of having to remember customer details and buying patterns. It helps you keep track of important details about a client, such as their anniversary or birthday, and it allows you to keep an updated email list for restaurant marketing automation.

Integrate your loyalty program into your CRM. With a CRM that integrates with your loyalty program, you can give better offers to your loyal restaurant patrons. Create offers for your loyalty members that are personalized based on the information gathered through your CRM.

Analyze sales trends. Track KPIs and metrics in real time with the use of a restaurant CRM, and get thorough sales reports. See what customers order, when they order, and how much they order. Powered by a detailed analysis of your restaurant’s sales trends, you can take positive steps for the future of your restaurant.

Create smart, targeted marketing campaigns. Use the information you’ve collected from your CRM to create a marketing plan tailored to your target audience. Having CRM data will help you craft marketing materials, such as email newsletters and social media promotions, that will connect with your customers. When you use CRM data to create marketing programs, you’ll start seeing results from those campaigns faster, for a higher restaurant marketing ROI.

Motivate action. A CRM can help you foster a connection with your customers outside your restaurant. By encouraging customers to take an action — such as return for a visit or use a coupon — the marketing tactics you use based on your CRM’s data will convert customers into regulars. Many CRM systems can automatically track and send greetings, discounts, or special holiday messages, along with offers or information.

When customers are understood, everything else becomes easier to navigate, from their needs to their purchasing behavior and preferences. Without customer data, how can a restaurant decide which menu items to promote, what specials to offer, or even when to operate? With a strong understanding and the use of a CRM, restaurateurs can confidently make decisions about their business.

Increase your profits. And keep them.

Boost your restaurant’s bottom line with commission-free online ordering.

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