For any venture to be successful, you need the right tools for the job. If you were in construction, you wouldn't use a flat-head screwdriver on a Phillips head screw. If you were a financial professional, you wouldn't use a piece of notebook paper to chart the performance of your client's portfolios. The same sentiment applies to the modern-day hospitality and food service industry.
We're going to take an up close and personal look at the tools that today's cafes, restaurants, arenas, and other dining venues need in order to thrive, with a specific focus on customer relationship management (CRM) software custom made for the hospitality industry itself.
The impact of CRM across industries
As a business owner, what is your experience with CRM platforms? For those of you who have zero experience, or those of you who consider CRM to be a sales-driven tool only, let's include a quick definition. A CRM platform is a type of software that helps you manage your existing customers and prospect for new business, all while cataloguing valuable data from each and every interaction.
CRM systems are powerful and multifaceted tools, and they are absolutely critical to every modern industry including the food service and hospitality industry.
The restaurant landscape has changed irrevocably over the past few years. Customer demographics are skewing younger and younger all the time. That means that the industry is in a period of pronounced transformation with tech solutions leading the way.
Customer relationship management software is at the forefront of that movement, regardless of the industry in question. Let's turn our attention toward some adoption statistics in order to paint a truly comprehensive picture of CRM's global prevalence.
CRM adoption: a growing industry
CRM technology is far from an industry-specific tool only suited for sales-intensive purposes. Think of it like a Swiss Army Knife of functionality. In turn, that level of functionality has propelled CRM into the spotlight in recent history. Over the past decade (2010-2020) the global CRM industry grew by a whopping 393%. In the beginning, global CRM technology generated approximately $14 billion in revenue. Fast forward to the turn of the decade, where CRM platforms now generate $69 billion in revenue. In fact, we've reached a point where 91% of all small businesses with 10 employees or more use some form of CRM software in their day-to-day operations.
Growth statistics aside, it's easy to see why CRM adoption is surging when integrating a software suite comes with so many benefits included. According to the CRM.org article referenced above, companies that do adopt a CRM platform can expect a radical return on their investment of $8.71 for every integration dollar spent.
That's good, because when it comes to CRM usage, expectations are high. An overwhelming 85% of business owners expect that investment to return dividends in the form of enhanced customer experience. Which brings us to the hospitality industry in specific.
CRM in the hospitality industry
So far, we've been talking about CRM from a birds' eye view; let's take a more granular look.
From the stats cited above, you can see that customer relationship management has a near-universal appeal regardless of industry. In the most simple of terms, it makes life easier for businesses that take the time and money necessary to implement it into their operational model. The question is, "What does that look like for the food service industry in particular?"
Firstly, integrating CRM into your venue's operations can help you to provide a superior customer experience. From personalised service and tailor-made loyalty offers to more authentic interactions with the waitstaff, customer relationship management usage can help you transform the dining experience within your venue.
Secondly, it directly affects your restaurant's bottom line. Imagine an all-in-one tool that not only helps you drive business into your venue, but one that can also increase the value of every customer touchpoint while simultaneously setting the stage for repeat business. CRM usage helps you create a self-sustaining loop that will feed your business. Given the turbulence of our current market, a high-quality CRM is worth its weight in gold, but only if you use the right one.
In the next section, we'll take a look at the key elements that a hospitality-specific CRM should contain, and why they are so valuable.
The Elements of a High-quality CRM Platform
The benefits –and necessity– of implementing CRM into your establishment's workflow are clear. But what makes a CRM platform ideally suited for the food service/hospitality industry in the first place?
One of the hallmarks of a good CRM platform is the ease with which it integrates with your existing tech stack. That means that the CRM has to "play nicely with," as well as add value to, your front-end and back-end systems, like your POS, order capture, and delivery scheduler.
In turn, a hospitality-specific CRM will form an ecosystem with your front-end stack, capturing valuable customer data points with each type of transaction. Everything from customer purchasing habits, to demographic information, to favoured payment tender becomes actionable data for your benefit. But to what purpose?
A restaurant-specific CRM platform should also be able to manage discounts, incentives, and customer loyalty programs for you. A truly powerful platform can even customise those programs and offers for each individual customer.
As a final benefit, your CRM system should also be able to help you refine your establishment's marketing efforts. Repeat business is the overall goal, but first you have to get customers in the doorway. A high-quality, hospitality-centric CRM can leverage your existing infrastructure alongside the data that you've accumulated to help you prospect new business.
Here's the bottom line: the food service industry is changing rapidly. The only way to stay afloat is to use the tools available to you in order to maintain parity with your competition. CRM provides entrepreneurs with an all-inclusive tool to help them generate and sustain a profitable level of business. Unsure what CRM product is right for you? Mr Yum can help. Contact us today for more information.