Making sense of big data
It’s one thing to have all this customer information and another to process it. And pizza chains, arguably, have the most. If a diner visits a burger brand, for example, they’re probably walking in, ordering, and walking out. Perhaps they’re a loyalty member and the restaurant gleans information to target with future incentives and other deals. In the case of pizza companies, however, especially those that operate mainly in the take-out and delivery space, fueled by digital, they know guests’ names. Where they live. Phone numbers. What they eat and how often they eat it. Currently, about 44 percent of Hungry Howie’s orders are online.
“We can work with that information pretty successfully to understand your buying habits and try to alter them, if we can, with digital promotions,” Jackson says.
Hungry Howie’s wrote all of its own enterprise reporting software internally. At 9 each morning, the leadership team receives a series of reports on single pages that tell them every metric that’s important to the company. Then they use Microsoft Power BI to sort through the results. If they have a wish list of questions, the program arranges the data in seconds.
Hungry Howie’s also works with a large data company in Los Angeles that downloads data points and presents it the way Jackson and the team want to use it.
Here are some of the things they look for and how they leverage the information.
A lapsed customer program is critical for many quick-serves. Hungry Howie’s can see if a customer falls out of the ordering cycle and then suggest an offer to get them back. If that continues, a better offer can be pulsed. After running through the cycle three or so times, Jackson says, the chain will go to a freebie deal.
Hungry Howie’s looks at daypart sales. Product mix. The top 10 marketing coupon responses of what took place that particular day. It views door times, as far as how long it takes to get the product to leave the store and the delivery system.
With social media, Hungry Howie’s is big on “natural posts,” where somebody will go in and order a pizza and take the imperfect shot. It’s all about natural communication and making sure those ties cut as seldom as possible, across the channel spectrum.
Howie Rewards just completed its second year. The brand implemented online ordering about a decade ago, Jackson says, but they’re constantly updating the platform to be more user friendly and to provide information. Getting the loyalty rewards program integrated was a natural and instrumental stage.
“We’re trying to incentivize them to sign up to be a rewards member,” Jackson says. “That’s what we’re trying to build right now.”
There’s no understating how valuable those contacts are. Every time Hungry Howie’s gets an email address, whether it’s a rewards member or new customer, it grows that 4 million-person base that serves as the lifeblood of its marketing efforts.
And here’s the straightforward reality of online ordering: Checks track higher, on average, across nearly every segment of foodservice.
The reason behind this changes by company, but for Hungry Howie’s it’s a rather simple phenomenon. When a customer calls into the restaurant, especially during peak times, the employee will likely rush them off the phone. That’s just the nature of the business, Jackson says. “You’re going to have a young person says, ‘OK is that all you want? Are you done? Are you done? Because they’re waiting to answer the next one,” Jackson says.