The Personalization Revolution: Turning Data into Delightful Dining Experiences

May 7, 2024 | Lauren F. Green
Olo Engage + NomNom

Digital orders represent a growing segment of restaurant sales, posing an ever-evolving challenge for brands: how to create and deliver experiences that cultivate loyalty and entice guests to return regularly. The days of “spray and pray” marketing are over; today’s savvy consumers want digital interactions that reflect their individual preferences and add value and convenience to their lives.

Meeting these expectations requires a shift away from generic, one-size-fits-all advertising campaigns to viewing diners as individual, valued guests who essentially receive their own “micro-campaigns.” Personalization at scale hinges on the effective use and analysis of data to create customized experiences for every guest—yet many restaurant brands either aren't collecting relevant data, or don't know how to analyze and use the data they do have.

Personalization Means Knowing Your Customers 

Personalization holds different implications for different guests. In a survey conducted by Bounteous x Accolite, 70% of respondents said menu recommendations based on past purchases make them feel like a restaurant “knows” them, while 59% said seeing their name in an email or app has the same effect.

Others valued the ability to order quickly and without friction. More than half of respondents (55%) said the ability to view previous orders, save favorite items, and reorder easily was a primary factor that would make them more likely to order from a restaurant again. This was second only to loyalty benefits (68%).  

In short, personalization means different things to different people, so it’s critical to learn about guests as individuals. This requires much deeper and richer data than surface-level demographics.

Scaling Personalization Demands Innovative Solutions 

Driving personalization in the current competitive landscape demands innovative solutions. A combination of powerful platforms such as Olo Engage and Bounteous x Accolite’s NomNom™ Growth Engine offers a striking advantage for restaurants aiming to navigate this digital pivot successfully.

Integrating Olo's Engage suite with NomNom forms a powerhouse for personalized guest engagement. Engage harnesses the power of generative AI, offering tools like its Guest Data Platform (GDP), Marketing, and Sentiment modules that empower operators to deeply understand guests and tailor every interaction. With features such as automated marketing and loyalty initiatives, multichannel campaign management, and the capability to collect and act upon guest feedback in real time, Engage is an indispensable tool in the quest for personalization.

“Powered by Open AI and Chat GPT-4, our AI Assistant is available to help with content creation based on individual guest data and insights,” said Ray Gallagher, VP and GM of Olo Engage. “With this feature, marketers now have more time to focus on sending powerful content to their guests to increase recency, frequency, and, ultimately, guest lifetime value.”

NomNom, with its extensive library of built-in features and integrations, acts as a universal adapter that bridges data, content, commerce, and loyalty platforms. Leveraging NomNom, restaurants can quickly market with a high-functioning, scalable application that's not just a digital experience but a personalized journey for every guest. From targeted upsells to detailed menu metadata, the platform enables brands to customize elements of the user experience to service different user preferences based on the data the Engage collects and analyzes.

Leveraging the combined strengths of these platforms, restaurants can navigate the complexities of personalized engagement, ensuring that every guest interaction is meaningful and memorable. Whether it's through leveraging first-party data to craft tailored marketing campaigns or enhancing guest loyalty programs with deep insights, the synergy between Olo Engage and NomNom equips brands with tools to transform guests' digital experiences.

Fusing Technology and Loyalty Strategy

Imagine a quick-serve restaurant chain that wishes to promote another ordering daypart to a group of existing lunchtime users. Olo Engage can help create and distribute coupons to those lunchtime users for something like “BOGO Dessert After 5 p.m.” In tandem, logic configured in NomNom can offer a few benefits: Ensure users are only shown those coupons after 5 p.m.; drive use by day-parting the mobile app’s dashboard content to highlight the new coupon and related dessert items; and automatically add the coupon to their cart at checkout once the user adds a dessert item to their basket.

Individually, these moments seem simple and small. But incrementally, they add up to a positive experience for users that make them enjoy the ease of use, the feeling of getting something “free” with a BOGO, and even making a habit out of getting dessert every weekend with their family at that restaurant—changing behavior and building brand affinity.

Continuously Refine the Guest Experience

By embracing innovative solutions like Olo Engage and the Bounteous x Accolite’s NomNom™ Growth Engine, restaurants can deliver unparalleled, tailored experiences to every diner. This sophisticated synergy of technology and strategy enables brands to meet—and exceed—the evolving expectations of today's digital consumers, making every interaction not just a transaction, but a step towards a more personalized and delightful dining journey.

As demand for personalization evolves, restaurants that leverage these advanced tools to understand and engage their guests will be the ones that serve up encounters that feel sincerely personal and uniquely tailored. 

For more on personalization, download the Olo + Bounteous research eBook, The Power of Personalization in the Restaurant Industry.

Olo + Bounteous Consumer Research