How Well Do You Know Your Customers?

Knowing your customers is crucial to success in business.  Learn how to use your data to do just this.
Photo by Brad Stallcup on Unsplash

I was invited recently to join a panel on Clubhouse about restaurants and how data can help them. One topic kept coming up: just how important it is for restaurants to understand the data about their customers. It’s gold. Pure and simple.

What’s that have to do with how well you know your customers?  Everything.

[Not in the restaurant business?  Skip ahead to grab some tips for you too!]

“Knowing” vs. “Knowing” Your Customers

When I hear restaurant industry professionals say, thanks but I already know my customers, they’re absolutely right.  They know what drink’s their favorite.  Whether they always order dessert, or never do.  If they always leave a good tip.  Whether they had a recent illness, or welcomed a new member of the family.  That’s the core of being in the hospitality industry, making those connections with your customers. 

There’s more than just this to “know” about your customers, though.  And that knowledge can have a big impact on your bottom line.  Here are a few ways to get to “know” your customers better and that will boost your bottom line.

Which Customers Are Your Best Spenders?

Maybe the most important of the ways of knowing your customers is by how much they spend.  Do you know which of your customers are your best spenders?  A good way to start identifying your “best spenders” is to look at the size of their check.  If you’re already doing this, you can take it one step further and measure the amount a customer spends in a month, or a quarter.  Try a few different ways of measuring your “best spenders” and see what stories you’re able to uncover in your data with each.


Not sure how to start looking at your data? Check out my blog post that walks you through how to get started, or download my Data Jumpstart Guide.


Which Customers Are Your Frequent Fliers?

Another great way to get to “know” your customers is to look at how often they frequent your restaurant.  You might have a gut feeling for this one, but I promise it’s worth the time to take a look at what your data says and compare it to your gut.  Two categories that are easy to start with are the one-timers and the very frequent regulars.  Who are the customers who have only visited you once?  Then, who are the customers who return again and again?  Nailing down these two categories will help you to see patterns between the two, such as check amount or party size.   

The Secret Sauce:  Mix The Two Together

Now that you “know” a bit more about which of your customers are your best spenders, and how often customers tend to visit, you can put those insights together and start to analyze your customer behavior. 

  • Take your best spenders.  You know they spend a lot with your establishment.  How often do they visit?  By looking at your data, you might realize that your best spenders are infrequent customers.  What could you do to entice them to visit more often?
  • Sticking with your best spenders, what do they tend to buy?  Maybe it’s appetizers and drinks, which is information you can use to build out your menu.  “Frequent fliers” will be looking for new, fresh ideas, so it would pay off in this case to update your appetizers and specials on a regular basis. 

What If I’m Not a Restaurant?

This same strategy works even if you’re not a restaurant.  (Maybe not the drinks and appetizers!)  Take a look at your clients.  Which are the one-timers, who purchase from you once and never return?  Then look for which customers are “frequent fliers.”  Now come at this from a different angle:  which are your best spenders?  Try putting the two categories together and see where there’s overlap. 


Connect With Me

Still have questions? Do you want to talk through more ways that data can help you know your customers? Schedule a free 30-minute discussion using the scheduling form below. I look forward to connecting!

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