Data is a valuable commodity, which is why businesses tap into multiple sources to generate insights that can be leveraged for continued growth. But there is one data source that is exclusive to restaurateurs: an online reservation system. Customers are essentially handing restaurateurs a wealth of personal data before they even step foot into the dining room.  

Before we dive into how that information can be used to your restaurant’s advantage, there is one thing to keep in mind. If you solely rely upon third-party booking sites to manage table reservations, you won’t be reaping the big benefits. You see, third party apps own the data customers provide during the reservation process, not you. That means your restaurant is unfortunately going to miss out on valuable strategies to generate repeat visits and build a loyal customer base.

For example, collecting critical customer information with an online reservation system such as cell phone, email address, or birthday arms restaurants with the tools to build a connection with their guests. You can send customized offers, generate exclusive experiences, and build a bond that encourages regular, repeat visits to your dining room.  

Customer data gleaned from a reservation system enables restaurants to develop better marketing strategies too. Restauranteurs can segment customers into various categories to better allocate advertising dollars. Data-driven decisions surrounding expansion, vendors, and partnerships will give you a competitive advantage. 

Having full access to customer data also helps restaurants optimize menu items. What is a top seller? Which seasonal offers attract an influx of customers? Is the kitchen adequately stocked for busy days? A menu that is optimized with more profitable options based on guest intel will generate more revenue, which is key to continued growth.

Another way to gain richer insights into customer behavior is a loyalty program. Restaurants would be wise to leverage table reservation data to enroll guests into their loyalty rewards program. Customers are typically more willing to complete their loyalty program profile with highly personal information so they can collect more points toward future rewards. That gives your restaurant additional data to mine and analyze for engagement campaigns. 

As you can see, an online table reservation system represents an excellent opportunity to gather customer data before, during, and after a meal. It’s a lucrative tool that is quite powerful, especially if you own and control 100% of the data.