Need of knowledge, better guest relations fuels use of CRM tools

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Wishing to do more than surmise about why sales or guest frequency may be rising or falling, restaurant chains such as family feeder IHOP are embracing customer relationship management, or CRM, technologies or services to gain better insights into such developments and cement bonds with their clientele.

"We may think things are going well because sales are up," says Patrick Piccininno, Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP's vice president of information technology, or IT. "But

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