“If you are going to open up a dialogue with customers, you better show up to the conversation.” — Lane Cardwell (restaurant executive for P.F. Chang’s, Boston Market & Eatzi’s)

Fred LeFranc, founder of Results Thru Strategy, discusses restaurant marketing trends, digital strategies and blending data sources for Big Data at the Table, the official Bridg Blog. #BDATT Produced by Bridg in Los Angeles. The technologies available to restaurant marketers to take advantage of the billions of data points they have are changing rapidly. Fred helps navigate the waters.

“Hi, my name is Fred LeFranc, I’m the founder of Results Thru Strategy. Restaurants are living in a whitewater world where every single day something new is happening to potentially disrupt your business. There’s a lot of changes going on in the industry which include generational changes as well as format changes.”

What are the marketing trends for 2017 and beyond?

“What’s been discussed ad nauseam will remain is that [the smartphone] is the vehicle that people are going to be using from now on and so that means as an opportunity to reach me as an individual consumer, very directly through my phone. Now it’s not something that’s just ubiquitous because you want it to be, I have to opt in, but at the same time whether I opt in or not you’ll be able to reach me through my Twitter, came to my Facebook account or the apps that you may have.”

How can restaurants be more like Amazon?

You can now use some of the technology that Amazon is using to find out who your customers are and put them into cohorts. Cohorts are groups of customers that are segmented into various groups such as families, couples or singles, whatever the case may be. Using that technology they’re able to geo-locate them and then through third-party sources: Facebook, CNN, any viewership they may have on the web, they can pretty much approximate who that user might be and once they do, they sort of connect the dots and reach out to them. Now, what’s the best vehicle to reach out to them? Currently, the most inexpensive, most popular is Facebook. Facebook has over a billion members.”

How do we blend all the data coming from separate sources?

“Stop and think about it. You’re getting POS data, you get online ordering data, you get engagement through your app and other things, in your third-party delivery systems. All these databases are very disparate so getting them into one place to be able to make some intelligent marketing decisions becomes critical, so is having a company that aggregates the information and gives you enough information regarding how people use your restaurant.

Through today’s technology, you are able to take this from the separate sources, put it into one database and take action. We discussed earlier identifying your cohorts. Who are your primary users? In fact, you have like a living segmentation set at all times if you’re able to pinpoint exactly who is coming in to your restaurant, how they utilize you and what in fact are they ordering. So researching that can help you take that data from these disparate sources into meaningful, actionable knowledge is critical for you to be an effective marketer today.”

Fred LeFranc on Restaurant Marketing and Digital Trends

More about Fred LeFranc and his firm, Results Thru Strategy.