“What do our customers think about the job we’re doing?” That’s a question most businesses are looking to answer, whether they’re using traditional guest feedback surveys or more sophisticated CRM software. At Garces, a Philadelphia-based hospitality group with more than a dozen restaurants spread across the East Coast, getting inside the minds of consumers and more strategically managing guest feedback has become a top priority.
Since 2016, the company has been using a CRM platform for restaurants called Venga to identify past guests who’ve stopped coming in as frequently and then motivating those guests to return. Garces has also used Venga to increase the frequency of visits from loyal customers by pulling in data from platforms like OpenTable, and using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Although Garces is now using Venga at all 14 East Coast restaurant locations, Esplen says the company took a measured approach to rolling out the system as it evaluated the ROI and other key metrics.
“We typically start with a couple restaurants, seeing that we have a diverse portfolio of operations we try to pick one restaurant in each category to see how it’ll work before implementing across the group,” he says.
In addition to consolidating reviews and feedback data, Esplen says he’s also been impressed with Venga’s capabilities for distributing data across multiple restaurant locations. Rather than storing the customer data from each restaurant in a silo, Garces centralized its guest database and now keeps better track of guest preferences, so general managers and servers can know a guest’s preferences even if that customer has never visited the specific restaurant before.
“Knowing that John Smith prefers a booth versus a table gives us an edge to really make a connection with our guests on a different level,” he says.
In the coming months, Garces plans to continue integrating its CRM platform with existing marketing technologies to expand its data mining capabilities.
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