Nurture your guests through smart and successful use of data in your hospitality business

13 Oct 2021
Reading time 5 min

More and more hospitality entrepreneurs are seeing added value in smart use of data. It is no longer enough to focus only on intuition and experience. Thanks to quantitative insights and predictive data analysis, you can perfect your service, improve guest experience and maximise profits. But how do you successfully leverage big data?

New hospitality era

Changing expectations, government measures, staff shortages, rising costs, encroaching competition. Some of the factors from which today's hospitality entrepreneur can get an anxious feeling. As restaurant owners, café owners or snack bar owners, you are forced to continually hone your skills. Digitalisation means that looking for a restaurant on the spur of the moment is no longer an option; nowadays the smartphone acts as a compass. If you want to have a distinctive proposition and not lose your grip on the consumer, you have to make choices based on facts - or become data-driven. Larger companies are already taking advantage of this, but smaller entrepreneurs can also learn a lot from the behaviour of the masses.

What can you do with data?

Using big data involves combining large amounts of data to gain more insight into customer behaviour. You turn data (numbers) into information (insight). You as a hospitality entrepreneur know, based on intuition and experience, what the influence of weather conditions can be or which dishes do well in different seasons. The right information, on the other hand, provides the right foundation and allows you to organise the processes in your business more tightly. And that translates into more efficiency and therefore cost savings.

So data use in the hospitality industry is based on everyday questions to effectively improve your service levels. Do you know what the most popular dishes are? Do you know how often a dessert is ordered? Do you remember six months after the guest's visit that they had a nut allergy? With the answers to these questions, you attract (and retain) guests and create a better guest experience.

Data ensures appropriate service

The 2021 advantage: there is more insight into customer behaviour than ever! Everyone has a smartphone that continuously sends signals. Guests make reservations online, leave reviews and use social media. In your POS system, you build up arsenals of sales figures around reservations and orders - a goldmine of management information. The combination of these data tracks are valuable for you as a hospitality entrepreneur. The more complete the guest profiles - who comes into your establishment, when and what is ordered - the more you keep your service on target and the better the perception the guest recognises and acknowledges.

By dividing guests and behaviour (think location, frequency, time of day, favourite dishes) into profiles, you can create highly targeted promotions and actions. If you analyse the information into spending patterns, you can respond to personal preferences. Small efforts - such as an extra contact moment or upselling - can already surprise the guest. And that encourages repeat visits!

Data optimises your menu

Data is valuable not only in terms of customer loyalty, but also for your internal business processes. The trick is not to waste money that guests spend by inefficiently using logistical processes such as ingredients to serve your menu (menu engineering). You need to find a balance between new dishes and favourites that your guests come back for. On which days and in which weather conditions should which dishes and drinks be available? Which product groups and dishes are the runners-up? Which ones have the most margin and create the most turnover?

If you discover trends, you can take immediate actions. For example, if hamburgers are popular, you can add more extras (upselling) and boost them on your socials through a meal deal (social selling). Thanks to data, you optimise your hospitality business based on data instead of gut feeling.

Data perfects your staff scheduling

Staffing remains one of the biggest headaches in the hospitality industry. How do you keep costs down? Your employees are the most important link between your guests and your hospitality business. They communicate 1-to-1 with the guest and provide a personalised service. Do you know through turnover reports what the average spend per shift is? How many upsell items your employees sell in a day? And how they perform relative to each other? Data helps answer questions like "How many employees should be there on specific days or parts of the day to serve your guests?" more easily. By optimising staff deployment, you can both save staff costs and generate more revenue (less waiting time, higher average order value).

Don't drain your restaurant ... and make work of big data.

Datadriven hospitality industry thanks to the right BI tool

This article describes only the tip of the iceberg. Just collecting data is not enough. Datadriven hospitality requires a different way of working. The prerequisite is knowing how to translate numbers. Data has to be converted into information, which has to be analysed precisely to hang targeted actions on it. The business intelligence tool booq BI helps you visualise data in graphs, bar charts and trend lines so you have understandable insights. Only then do you use data to bring about rapid change and eliminate inefficiencies.


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