11 Big Data No Brainers in QSR — “Quick Serve Restaurants”

In addition to quick service, QSR has quick data and a lot of it. They also have the advantage of frequent interactions with customers and with the same customer. This adds up to a huge Big Data opportunity. However, many QSR companies are not very analytically oriented or they have complicating franchisee relationships to navigate for investment in data systems and analytics. The article linked below comes, in part, from an interview I had with John Morell — who was very interested in exploring the role of Big Data in QSR. He is finding that Big Data best practices and applications, while being applied well in pockets, still has a lot of opportunity in QSR.

McDonalds is exploring social media in greater depth. Dominos wowed the pizza ordering world with their online information system that lets users track pizza making progress. Taco Bell is working wonders operationally with their inventory management systems. Even given these pockets of application, few, yet, are harnessing the power of the data they have at their fingertips. What can they do?

Here is a quick list of “No Brainer” ideas. They are “No Brainers” because not because they are obvious nor because they are simple. They will all lead to increased revenues and generate a high ROI both in the short and long term if approached right.

  • Start or deepen loyalty programs and combine with social, apps and gamification elements to generate rich data — so much opportunity here to create value
  • Organize individual level purchase data and combine with digital, social and media information for rich data — the basis for real time interaction with customers
  • Combine unit performance data trade-area geo-demo-psycho information, social, individual level purchase and loyalty data — for much more effective targeting
  • Correctly attribute sales to online, digital and offline activities and tie this attribution to the individual level for more powerful cross-channel integration
  • Build recommendation systems for promotion customization, loyalty deepening, word of mouth generation, online ordering, in-person prompting
  • Optimize inventory systems to decrease costs and increase quality
  • Customize local menu options for increased sales
  • Track and respond to customer service issues before they become big issues — by area; curate your brand
  • Optimize your online and offline media spending and efforts for better ROI and increased sales

And there are many more Big Data opportunities and priorities. When considering Big Data investment, especially for QSR, here are a few guidelines:

  1. Always include short term (1-3 month) wins that can be used to generate momentum
  2. Define win in terms of ROI or even direct impact on stakeholder decisions or KPIs
  3. Put in place a larger vision and plan that can motivate deep emotional commitment and advocacy

The key is to start down the path and begin to gain experience and get your head in the game. Folks who keep putting it off, at this point, are at risk of just being in a different league of success than their competitors who are trying to play in this arena.  While these are not quite “No Brainers” by some definitions, they should be if they were on your radar.

Restaurants Activate Big Data to Leverage Customer Dining Data | QSR magazine.

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