Diners’ information is out there, whether it be from point-of-sale systems, or reservation, analytics or social media platforms. As these companies form mergers and partnerships and allow for more integration, restaurants can do something with all this data.
The latest example of this trend comes from OpenTable, part of Booking Holdings and the largest reservation platform, which announced a partnership with Upserve on Wednesday, a POS and restaurant management system.
This integration can impact all restaurants using both OpenTable and Upserve. There will be no additional fee for the service, Joseph Essas, chief technology officer at OpenTable, told NRN. OpenTable has about 50,000 customers globally. Upserve has about 10,000 customers.
"This combined data resource gives management and staff the ability to retrieve guest details at the POS, providing a VIP experience with every reservation," said Sheryl Hoskins, CEO at Upserve, in a news release.
Real-time cross-communication between POS systems and reservation platforms and the ability to use that data has been a missing link for many restaurants.
Typically, a host might communicate to a server that the guest was celebrating a special event, information the guest included when they made a reservation. Or the host might let a server know that the diner had previously given the restaurant a great review on OpenTable. With this partnership, the server has this information while on the dining room floor.
Competition has been heating up between reservation platforms, and OpenTable isn't the only reservation platform with a strong personalization approach or one embracing POS systems integrations.
SevenRooms integrates guests’ profiles with their marketing services. Resy, another reservation platform, was recently acquired by American Express prompting questions about how data from credit card purchases might be integrated into the platform.
Tock and SevenRooms pull guests' information, like their birthdays and photos, from social outlets, so hosts are able to recognize and greet guests. Tock offers a real-time activity feed between the front of house and back of house so both sides know a diner’s status (ie. finishing dessert).
If a server knows that a diner is a big spender, ordered the steak and raved about it in the past and that she's celebrating a special event, well, it might behoove the server to suggest the steak, and perhaps suggest a California red the sommelier is excited about. If she liked the wine, the restaurant then might follow up by email when there's a California wine tasting event.
Combining the knowledge of a guest's orders along and their dining preferences, can help servers provide better hospitality during a meal and help the restaurant provide personalized marketing after the meal in the form of targeted emails, said Essas.
Of course, these personal touches need to be done in just the right way.
"Our job is to walk the line between creepy and hospitable, and that's a fine line," said Essas. "Diners are very protective about their privacy."
OpenTable is proceeding with caution into their increasingly personal approach to dining.
OpenTable's recent acquisition of analytics platform Venga, is part of their personalization strategy. Venga's customer relationship management (CRM) system can pull data from social media profiles, gather reviews and feedback from diners, and translate that information into targeted marketing.
"In general, our vision for the restaurant world has been that we would like to be the restaurant operating system," said Essas. "We connect all the tools and systems through our platform [and] make sure the data flows seamlessly."
Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected]
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June 6: This article has been updated to clarify the number of restaurants using Upserve and which restaurants can be impacted by this partnership.