5 strategies to drive one more visit, purchase & dollar per order

Let’s face it. Diners have a lot of options when it comes to selecting the restaurant they’d like to have their next meal at. In order to get this market share, restaurant marketers are continuously focused on driving one more visit, purchase and dollar on each order.

At the Restaurant Leadership Conference this week, we connected with over 100 leading restaurant brands to discuss and strategize how they can meet and exceed their goals. And it all starts with knowing who your customers (diners) are.

From our research, we learned that only 18% of restaurant marketers are extremely confident in understanding who their diners are after leaving their restaurants.

Get the research: Driving one more visit: How restaurant marketers fare in the digital age


With the constant ‘revolving door’ of customers interacting across channels, it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. You need to focus on speaking to customers on a 1:You personalized level. 1:You is a holistic customer experience strategy that focuses on personalizing communications with the best choice for individuals across all touchpoints or interactions.

Here are five strategies to consider as you embrace the 1:You messaging journey leading to one more visit, purchase and dollar:

1. Determine who your best customers are, and find lookalikes.

Oftentimes we focus our planning around customer acquisition. While acquiring new customers should be a goal for all, it’s important to identify your best customers and then find lookalikes. And to accomplish this, intelligence must be derived from the data.

Our transactional data solution, MarketView™, includes 167 restaurants totaling $308 billion in spend by brand, all tied to individuals by name and address. 

When accurate matching is coupled with proprietary hygiene methods, we’re able to find and correct up to 50% more customer addresses. And when online and offline data connections are made, duplicate customer ID’s decrease by up to 12%.

As a result, you have a better understanding of your customers, and they have a better experience.

2. Better understand customer behavior inside and outside your location, including competitors and other lifestyle brands. 

Understanding how your customers interact with other brands is telling because it provides insights on additional interests and behaviors. The intelligence derived from quality data can inform restaurant marketers of six key findings: 

  • how much your customers are spending with you versus competitive brands
  • who your highest potential customers are
  • whether a loyal customer has stopped buying in a particular category versus stopped transacting (entirely) with your brand
  • your most valuable customers’ brand preferences in other categories
  • how much and how frequently customers spend in your category
  • deep insights into your customers to enable more relevant messaging

Additionally, looking outside of the restaurant vertical can teach you a lot about customers within your industry.

We often discuss with clients how there are commonalities in marketing goals amongst specific industries (or vertical markets). For example, there are similarities between the restaurant and retail verticals. Both industries learn from each other as to how to improve their programs, service and so on. Within these industries, customers expect superior customer service.

Restaurants are known for marketing an experience while retailers have been slower to adapt this approach. Several retail brands appraise the vision and success of restaurant marketers and have seen first-hand how restaurant marketers have improved personalization when communicating with diners.

3. Create an engagement strategy for customer retention and beyond. 

Once a customer is engaged with your brand, they are more apt to be loyal. We recommend using a customer experience playbook.

The playbook is a comprehensive go-to-market blueprint for a particular customer segment and contains recommendations on how to engage with these customers strategically and tactically across value and occasion segments. Additionally, loyalty programs have long been a great way for businesses to get to know their customers, and to engage with them as part of a personalized experience.

From our research, we learned that 70% of restaurants have a loyalty program, and 79% indicate that members receive special offers, discounts or promotions. Restaurant operators determine the success of their programs by increased visits and sales, but only 30% say their loyalty programs are extremely or very effective.

When done right, and by leveraging the right data to drive relevant messaging, loyalty programs are extremely effective. According to a global study from Accenture, loyalty members generate between 12% and 18% more incremental revenue yearly than non-members. Also, 66% of U.S. consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal.

For instance, Dunkin’, a leader in loyalty programs, uses its DD Perks program to engage with 10 million customers. And, the average year-over-year spend for new program members has increased 40% since its inception in 2014.

4. Drive revenue through data-driven marketing techniques. 

Implementing data-driven marketing techniques truly does drive revenue. As my colleague recently shared in his recent blog, it’s important to:

  • Embrace CRM data to reach the right customers. Understanding which data to focus on and capturing the most useful data is essential. From a recent research study we conducted, only 9% of restaurants stated they work with external partners to match CRM data with online IDs. Integrating all data sources to truly get to know diners is a must.
  • Prioritize existing customers before focusing on acquiring new customers. Remember the 80/20 rule? About 20% of customers produce 80% of sales. You need to understand the needs and wants of the 20% of these customers to sustain their loyalty. From our research, we learned that 53% of restaurants stated that acquiring new customers is a top priority. Restaurant marketers should consider focusing on your existing customers and the members of your loyalty program.
  • Tailor advertising, promotions and experiences to frequent diners and prospective customers. Creative 1:1 messaging and content is essential in achieving 1:You communications. And remember, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for each communication. Consider creating a library of content so you’re prepared to deliver unique content that is most relevant to the individual and their life stage (millennial, parents with young children, baby boomer, etc.). Having ‘filed images’ (or multiple creative options to select from) in the library enables real-time reaction to behavioral situations.
  • Analyze purchase data to identify trends and optimize future marketing campaigns. Applying analytics (modeling) to understand buying behavior is important to further improve program outcomes. Purchase data can be further analyzed to predict future desired outcomes including how frequently diners can be motivated to visit, where to spend marketing dollars, which menu items should be promoted, what type of creative will resonate and what channels should be used.

5. Use machine learning to offer personalization for re-purchase and menu recommendations.

As you're able to make menu recommendations for diners, engagement increases and they experience first-hand the value of personalization.

Machine learning efforts continue to be integrated into marketing programs and brands are at different levels of machine learning maturity ranging from basic to ultimate. By building machine learning algorithms, you're able to identify the top menu items that a customer is most likely to order with a 2x higher success rate versus using the most popularity driven approach of frequently purchased items.

The use of machine learning to improve offer personalization has resulted in 12+% improved conversion rates and 62% higher click through email rates for our clients.

As you continue to embark on your marketing journey of earning one more diner’s visit, purchase and dollar on each order, remember the fundamental differentiator is your data. Having the right data truly enables 1:You communications where no two emails, product recommendations or curated purchasing paths are the same.