3 Major Pitfalls to Avoid with Restaurant CRM

So you’re ready to compile good, smart data about your guests. You’ve either signed up for Upserve already or you’re intellectually committed to launch your own restaurant CRM (customer relationship management) initiative and starting to kick the tires on solution providers. Congratulations.
Your head and heart are in the right place. Now it’s important to connect all the dots to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, while sidestepping frustration coming from your staff, and worse yet, fall short of meeting your customers’ expectations.
Let’s review the major pitfalls you’ll need to avoid in order to get the most from creating and digging into your guests’ profiles.

Pitfall #1: Not launching your CRM program well.

.Whatever tech tools you decide on, a well-though-out installation will pave the way to an awesome future for your restaurant — think through how you want to roll this out with your staff. You know them. You know your managers. Watch this short video on  Making the Switch to Upserve to hear how other restaurant owners smoothly transitioned to Upserve and started getting value from the CRM-enhanced data immediately.
The insights on guests you’re going to immediately have access to will influence your way of thinking. Be proactive. Educate your staff at least to a minimal level on what you’re going to know about the business that you’ve never known before. Tell them what you hope to accomplish. Get them excited, but don’t oversell things, yet.
Let managers know your restaurant will have a way to  clearly identify your VIPs and you intend to adapt your thinking accordingly. A new emphasis on CRM will help you make great staff scheduling decisions, menu decisions, and marketing decisions. Let servers, hosts, and/or bartenders know that getting to know your guests is an important part of your restaurant going forward.
An informed staff means a staff that gets behind what you’re reaching for by initiating a restaurant CRM program. An uniformed staff, well, let’s just say they could undermine everything.

Pitfall #2: Not committing time to review your program regularly.

The notion of having one wonderful login to see broad data on your guests and see how your restaurant is truly performing, only to ignore it, seems crazy — and I don’t mean a bland Business Intelligence dashboard that merely spits out a lot of information. But it happens.
Your tomato prices triple. A manager quits. The icemaker goes down. All of these things are unplanned, urgent issues that demand your attention. Deal with them as they happen. But if you want restaurant transformation, you’ve got to be proactive and put first things first, too. You’ve got to set aside time each day or week to go through your reports and be decisive about what you glean from them.
Maybe it’s time to delegate more of the front-of-the-house activities for a short time while you get your head around your new reports and insights. The key isn’t to launch a program. It’s to run a smart program that improves your restaurant. That might well require a new approach to managing.
As restaurant coach  Donald Burns says, “You cannot expect to meet the challenges of today’s restaurant industry with yesterday’s tools and techniques and expect to be in business tomorrow.”

Pitfall #3: Not trusting your data.

A  recent Forbes study  that polled senior leaders with major brands on their use of data, gave us four categories of marketers: Laggards, Dabblers, Contenders, and Leaders. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re either a Contender or Leader, but let’s not make too many assumptions here.
The Dabblers. You’re a Dabbler if you’re amassing powerful data…only to intermittently use it. Too many restaurant owners say ‘Yes’ to collecting great CRM (and other) data, but then ignore or discount the insights they gain, thinking their gut is more trustworthy. They then halfheartedly embrace the valuable insights they get, viewing them with a cynical eye based on nothing than pride.
I have seen this happen, folks. Set your ego aside and trust what the data tells you. Blend it with your experience — especially when it comes to people decisions, which need that safe blend of objective data and the subjective, human element.
There are obviously other ways you can limit your success in getting started with Upserve or CRM in general, but these three are the most common reasons for getting only a limited ROI. Don’t let this be you.