guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence

Using Restaurant Data to Drive Guest Traffic

Data technology is growing exponentially, resulting in some restaurant brands innovating faster than ever before. For others, this rapid evolution comes with major challenges: choice overload and cost fears.

Unlocking the Power of Restaurant Data for Enhanced Guest Traffic

Over the past couple of years, the restaurant industry has seen a quantum leap in technology innovation, specifically concerning AI data integration solutions. This evolution has allowed brands to gain access to unprecedented industry and organizational information—all within a single repository—leading to:

  • Streamlined data management: By reducing the need to maintain multiple systems and databases, businesses have more time to act on insights and boost efficiency—saving money in the long run.
  • Collaboration and cross-functional insights: Giving teams from different departments access to the same data fosters a culture of knowledge sharing. When everyone in an organization has the opportunity to observe and understand systemic issues or significant improvements from the perspective of the customer, it leads to enhanced problem-solving and decision-making processes.
  • Increased engagement, personalization, and customer satisfaction: In today’s fiercely competitive and digitally driven restaurant industry, the most critical factor for success is ensuring a positive customer experience (CX). This involves collecting and assimilating guest feedback, whether online or via surveys.

A study by McKinsey revealed restaurants that focus on CX grow their revenue 1.7 times faster than businesses that don’t—they also grow their customer lifetime value by 2.3 times on average.

Additionally, our GuestXM’s Market Intelligence research has shown that:

  • Guest sentiment and review sites remain key drivers of year-over-year (YoY) increase in guest traffic.
  • Brands in the top quartile of service net sentiment (an aggregated customer satisfaction score) have a 1.5 times better four-year sales growth and 6 times better traffic growth than their competitors.
  • Brands that saw the most improvement in their value net sentiment scores over the past four years saw 1.5 times better sales growth and 8 times better traffic.

The problem is, however, that restaurants often lack the time and resources to monitor, request, and respond promptly to customer reviews—let alone understand the message within the data.

Advanced data solutions leverage AI natural language processing to comb through reviews and surveys at lightning speed, revealing valuable insights into customers’ impressions and recommendations from their in-store, takeout, or third-party delivery experiences.

Despite these exciting developments, some restaurants looking to join the digital race and capitalize on next-generation tech are now facing two major challenges: choice overload and cost fears.

To illustrate, a Nation’s Restaurant News survey study of 400 restaurant operators revealed that 74% consider cost among their top three considerations when vetting or investing in new technology.

On the flip side, other brands are impetuously investing in often non-relevant technology as a way to relieve the fear of falling behind.

If these challenges seem familiar to you, there are steps you can take to squash trepidation and invest in a solution that you feel 100% confident in. These steps involve (1) evaluating all operational requirements, including financial, customer, and workforce needs; (2) assessing existing data technology to see what is working and what is not; (3) identifying critical and prospective pain points; and (4) exploring solutions that address operational inefficiencies and unlock the messaging contained within the data.

GuestXM: The Power of Purpose-Built Technology

To become an expert takes deliberate practice and dedicated focus. For over 25 years, we have developed and perfected our knowledge and insights to become the most trusted and devoted partner for restaurant brands.

Our GuestXM platform is designed to help multi-location brands unlock the true potential of restaurant data and grow their businesses through memorable Industry-leading listening engines, local market analytics, predictive intelligence, and location-level reputation management into a single platform.

As the only customer experience management platform designed specifically for restaurants, GuestXM is a fount of industry knowledge. Whether you want to track restaurant performance benchmarks or home in on how guests are responding to your newest menu item, our platform offers simplified access to restaurant analytics so you can gain a deeper understanding of your guests, see how your workforce metrics stack up against the regional competition, track your overall financial performance, and more.

1. Feedback & Sentiment Analysis: Social & Review Listening and Surveys

By leveraging Feedback and sentiment Analysis, you can gain an aggregated view of what guests are saying about your brand and others in your industry/segment/area.

GuestXM pulls restaurant feedback from online review sites and uses AI-powered natural language processing to help you understand the guest sentiment for food, beverage, service, hospitality, ambiance, value, and intent to return, our AI tool helps you find the needle in the haystack.

All in all, GuestXM Feedback & Sentiment Analysis entails:

Hospitality Measurement: Understanding how to measure hospitality is the first step in improving it. By gaining insights into its impact on your brand, you can continuously enhance the guest experience.

Feedback aggregation and analysis: Whether through direct (surveys) or indirect social channels, we capture the voices of the guests to uncover what is important to them. This unlocks actionable insights for your frontline managers.

Surveys as a diagnostic tool: Objectively measure strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. When properly used, a survey can provide detailed information about the guest experience.

2. Brand Reputation Management: Review Management

Hospitality begins by demonstrating that you genuinely care. Listening and responding to feedback is the best way to show your commitment.

Our Brand Reputation Management solution allows you to take an omnichannel approach to responding to guests, improving search engine visibility, and streamlining feedback management processes through automation.

Achieving higher visibility in search engines involves a multi-part process, including factors like the number and velocity of reviews, star ratings, and prompt responses. Our research has shown that top-quartile restaurant chains that capture 5 times more customer reviews see a 3.5 percentage-point increase in YoY traffic growth compared to their peers, and businesses that respond to reviews are seen as 1.7 times more trustworthy than those that don’t.

On the whole, our Brand Reputation Management solution consists of:

A unified review inbox: Handle every customer review in one place. Track across all major sites and platforms, including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.

Timely alerts: Monitor, request, and respond to customer reviews and influencers to improve ratings and review volumes.

Response templates: Scale response efforts with approved custom-response templates.

Automated flows: Create rules to automate various functions like review response, task creation, and sentiment tagging.

3. Market Intelligence: Workforce Intelligence, Financial Intelligence, and Competitive Social Intelligence

Finally, we provide Market Intelligence, which includes Workforce Intelligence, Financial Intelligence, and Guest Intelligence.

Recent GuestXM Market Intelligence analysis indicated that full-service restaurants have roughly 7% fewer direct-service hourly employees and quick-service restaurants are operating with just under 10% fewer hourly employees on average. Despite the subtle improvements in retention over the past couple of months, employee turnover is still much higher than in 2019.

Our Workforce Intelligence solution gives you insights into critical internal and external workforce trends, leading to educated decisions that ensure your brand truly prospers in today’s volatile environment.

Additionally, having a 360-degree view of your financial performance can help you identify opportunities to innovate and allocate or reallocate resources that’ll have the least negative impact on your guests, workforce, and overall business performance.

Last but not least, by leveraging our Competitive Social Intelligence solution, you can track guest behavior across the market, unveil micro and macro trends, and compare these to industry and competitor data to unlock opportunities that drive sales, traffic, and revenue.

In sum, the GuestXM Market Intelligence solution provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Become an employer of choice: Understanding compensation, retention, and turnover market by market will guide you there. By using these insights to address skill gaps and foster a positive work culture, operators can elevate the overall guest experience. Our research determined that guest net sentiment improves with employee retention.
  • Contextualize achievements: Comparing and contrasting market information provides critical context for a restaurant’s performance. You can use this information to learn industry norms and determine if your restaurant meets expectations.
  • Gain motivation: Knowing the extent of performance in the markets surrounding your restaurants can motivate you and your team to improve and celebrate successes. Competitive market information generates specific, attainable goals that you can strive to achieve.
  • Identify opportunities: Recognize new business opportunities and areas for improvement. If a market is performing exceptionally well in an area where you have a smaller presence, you can start researching ways to mimic success.

GuestXM combines all three restaurant data solutions in a single platform to help you gain a better perspective on how you’re truly performing.

Furthermore, we provide a quarterly performance review, which includes a reference tool known as “The Scorecard.” This provides a detailed overview of all your data points regarding workforce, financial, and guest sentiment, which, in turn, allows you to identify broader restaurant industry metrics and understand how different aspects of your business affect others.

For instance, even if sales are up, your guest sentiment may be trending down. Being able to take a closer look at your restaurant data is the key to uncovering the cause. With the quarterly scorecard, you can see the most critical restaurant data in a single snapshot and use it to have data-driven discussions with your frontline managers on guest experiences that correlate with workforce and traffic performance.

Along with restaurant reports, our team can offer insights into trends we see in your business. We can, for example, alert you to ​​rising complaints about portion size, food quality, or off-premises guest sentiment so you can address them proactively.

Ready to get access to the restaurant data that will help you identify opportunities to improve revenue and become an employer and restaurant of choice? Click here to speak to one of our experts.

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