This tool helps operators learn the real story behind sales numbers.

In the restaurant business, sales numbers don’t lie— but they also don’t tell the whole story. 

For example, your fries might be a top-selling item, but that doesn’t mean that they’re driving customer retention— your sales numbers will only tell you when someone orders fries. There are still many unanswered questions: Did they like the fries? Are the fries enough to keep them coming back? If offered as a loyalty incentive, would that motivate a return visit? While most restaurateurs know what their top-selling items are, they lack a reliable method to determine which items elicit repeat visits and which items lead to customer churn.

Incentivio aims to change that. By using the right tools, however, it’s possible to gain rich, ROI-boosting insights into menu optimization.

Menu Intelligence, a new tool from Incentivio, offers unprecedented insight into menu item performance and how it affects customer retention. 

Machine learning engineers and data scientists spent nearly a year analyzing which data points contributed to long-term customer loyalty and churn, then created an AI model that scores menu items based on how they impact long-term customer behavior. 

Menu Intelligence generates a score for every item based on which kinds of customers order them the most and which kinds of customers order them the least. For example, if 60 percent of total customers ordered the fries, but only 10 percent of loyal customers ordered them, the algorithm would give the fries a relatively low score. If the opposite were true and most loyal customers habitually order fries while only 10 percent of customers who churned ever tried them, the fries would have a high score. Because Menu Intelligence has data not only on the volume at which menu items are ordered but also rich data on who those customers are, it can provide much more meaningful menu analysis. This can help restaurateurs decide which items to promote and which should be improved or removed from the menu. 

“Prior to implementing Menu Intelligence, we experienced a gap in the understanding of our frequent visitor’s purchasing preferences and lacked a consistent way to engage with and reward our most loyal guests,” Chris Ruszkowski, chief marketing officer of Badass Coffee says. “Now, we better understand which items drive customer satisfaction and repeat business and can optimize menu composition based on insights into the popularity of specific menu items. This ensures the menu aligns with our customer preferences, ultimately contributing to increased sales and customer loyalty.” 

For instance, say onion rings are ordered a quarter the amount of fries, but when people order them, they place another order within a week. This might lead an operator to include onion rings with combo meals instead of fries. At the very least, drive-thru operators should be consistently upselling onion rings since they lead to long-term positive brand engagement.  

In the era of self-serve kiosks, delivery, and skeleton crews, Menu Intelligence can also help operators be more efficient. 

“By focusing on menu items that contribute to customer retention and profitability, we can streamline operations and marketing budgets,” Ruszkowski says. “Analyzing the AI-generated customer data also allows us to allocate resources toward initiatives that have a proven impact on customer satisfaction and long-term success.” 

To learn more, visit the Incentivio website.

By Davina van Buren

Sponsored Content