5 Ways Restaurants Can Start Building First-Party Data

In light of recent regulatory changes, first-party data is quickly eclipsing third-party data in the marketing world—making now the time for restaurant owners and operators to learn how to collect and leverage this data.

First-party data is information you collect about your consumers directly. In the restaurant industry in particular, this data can provide valuable insights, helping restaurant owners and operators improve their advertising, marketing, products, and services based on consumer wants and needs.

Below, we dive deeper into the benefits of first-party data, why it’s important, and share five effective ways restaurants can start collecting first-party data this year.

Why is First-Party Data Important in 2023?

2023 is setting a new standard for consumer privacy laws in the United States. For many years, American businesses could collect, share, and sell consumers’ data without expressed consent. These days, this is no longer the case.

Here’s why first-party data is important:

  • Google Chrome is phasing out third-party cookies – In the past, third-party cookies allowed advertisers to track users’ online browsing behavior, including data from sessions taking place on other websites.While third-party cookies had immense marketing utility, they made many consumers feel uncomfortable. Over 80% of consumers said the risks of this type of data collection outweighed the benefits.As a result, Google has decided to get rid of third-party cookies on Chrome by the end of 2024, and other popular internet browsers are quickly following suit.
  • State laws are changing – As of 2023, five states (California, Virginia, Colorado, Utah, and Connecticut) have enacted comprehensive consumer privacy laws that closely resemble the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These new laws give consumers much more control over their personal information and how it’s used. More states are likely to enact similar laws in the coming years.

Due to these changes, businesses can no longer leverage third-party data like they once could. Fortunately, first-party data is a sufficient replacement in most situations.

The Benefits of First-Party Data

First-party data is more accurate and reliable than third-party data since it comes directly from your customer base. Thus, you can confidently use your first-party data to:

  • Improve your restaurant’s offerings and service
  • Give customers more personalized experiences
  • Inform targeted advertising and marketing campaigns

Another advantage of first-party data is that it can be more affordable to acquire than third-party data. Rather than paying another company for it, you can collect it yourself using a few simple tactics.

Lastly, you own your first-party data forever—Google or social media platforms can’t take it away.

How to Start Building First-Party Data For Your Restaurant

Now that you understand the benefits of first-party data, here are five ways you can start collecting it:

#1 Use a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

The first step to gathering first-party data at scale is selecting a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP pools together data about your customers from different sources to create unified profiles for each one.

Your CDP can help you:

  • Collect real-time data about your patrons from various sources
  • Store this data securely
  • Stitch together disparate data points to generate customer profiles
  • Send customer profile data to other systems you use at your business

Some CDPs use AI to automatically segment your customers, allowing you to easily target your advertising campaigns. Many CDPs also integrate with other key business software, such as customer relationship management systems (CRMs) and point of sale (POS) systems.

#2 Build a List of Email Addresses of People Who Have Ordered Online

A robust email list can be the foundation for your first-party data collection efforts. Not only can an email list help you stay in touch with your patrons and send them timely promotions, but it can also inform you about their preferences and behaviors.

Before you craft an email marketing strategy, you need to grow your email list. One place to start is your online orders. Simply ask customers to include their email addresses when they order food delivery from your restaurant.

Once you’ve established an email list, you can use it to:

  • Encourage repeat business by staying fresh in new patrons’ minds
  • Keep customers up-to-date on your hours of operation and holiday specials
  • Highlight new menu items and enticing promotions
  • Send loyal patrons discounts they can use on their birthdays and anniversaries. Note that with this one you can ask them to register their important dates for the discounts which adds to the valuable info you have.

#3 Leverage Your POS Data

As a restaurant owner, you know first-hand how POS systems can streamline the payment collection process. Another lesser-known benefit is that they collect vast amounts of first-party data. For instance, you can use your POS to record and track the following information about your customers:

  • What they purchased
  • Their payment method
  • The time and location of their transaction
  • Whether or not they participated in your loyalty program
  • Whether or not a promotion, coupon, or discount was used

When properly analyzed, this type of data can help you grow your restaurant business by optimizing your menu offerings, hours of operation, loyalty program, and promotional offers.

You can also use your POS to send e-receipts to your patrons’ email addresses or facilitate their enrollment in your loyalty program.

#4 Incentivize Guests to Share Their Data By Offering Free WiFi

Many patrons appreciate having access to free WiFi when they sit down to eat a meal or enjoy a few drinks. By offering free WiFi, you can achieve the following aims all at once:

  • You can satisfy these patrons’ expectations.
  • You can ask customers to share their names and email addresses (which you can then add to your email list) when they log on to your network. The majority will be more than happy to do so.
  • You can encourage customers to stay at your establishment longer (and hopefully purchase more items) as they browse the web or work remotely.

#5 Use Customer Surveys To Acquire More Data

Customer surveys give your patrons a chance to share their thoughts about your restaurant, and many may be eager to provide feedback, whether they love your establishment or have some criticism. You can even offer survey participants a discount or coupon on future meals to help sweeten the deal.

There are several ways to administer customer surveys, but one of the best methods is using a QR code that links directly to your online survey. You can place this code on your dining tables and on customers’ receipts for easy access. You can also send your survey out to your email list.

Your survey can ask your customers for the following types of information:

  • Their demographic details
  • How happy they are with the quality of your food and service
  • Which new menu items they would like to see most
  • How they discovered your restaurant
  • Whether they think you do a sufficient job of accommodating dietary restrictions
  • If they plan to dine with you again
  • If they would refer their friends and family members to your restaurant

Boost Your Restaurant’s Business with Liberty Interactive Marketing

There are many creative ways to accumulate valuable first-party data. And by using first-party data to learn more about your customers, you can provide them with a better customer experience—and, in turn, enhance your bottom line.

While leveraging first-party data is integral for restaurants, utilizing it properly can require some marketing expertise. Fortunately, if you’re focused on running your restaurant, you can let the experts at Liberty Interactive Marketing take over the process. We’ve helped restaurant brands grow their businesses using our data-driven digital marketing techniques, and we can do the same for you.

Reach out today to learn how Liberty Interactive Marketing can take your restaurant business to the next level.

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