You don’t need to be in the hospitality sector to know that it has been decimated by the COVID crisis. With the government’s latest tier policies continuing to keep thousands of restaurants and bars closed, the future of many businesses really does hang in the balance. However, hospitality settings are still permitted within all tiers to provide takeaway services – and with this in mind it seems the moral responsibility of the likes of Deliveroo and Just Eat, who are seeing monumental spikes in demand for their ‘middle-man’ delivery services, to share customer insight data direct with restaurants to give them the best chance of both survival and thriving in 2021.
It is no secret that the likes of Deliveroo take a significant percentage on a sale – up to 35% commission plus VAT in some instances – but with restaurants, including independent ventures, having little choice but to engage with these platforms in order to continue serving their food, it seems a no-brainer that key data captured by these companies should be shared. If the right data were shared with brands, it would give a richer understanding of the profiles and behaviours of their most valuable customers, as well as their wider base, which may now be different given the context of the pandemic. It should be acknowledged that crunching data may not be top of the list of priorities for businesses just clinging on for dear-life, but the time and energy – or a professional bought in – to analyse that rich source of data, if it were shared, could result in a highly effective marketing strategy for 2021 and increased revenue.
Whether the big delivery companies do share this data or not, all hospitality businesses would benefit from recognising that this winter period could be an opportune time to capture data and then assess who their most valuable customers really are. This could be by utilising their own Test & Trace QR code, along side the NHS one, and offering opt ins; taking email addresses when takeaways are ordered, along with recording other key data, such as the time and day of the week of orders; or considering incentives for diners to share their data whether eating in or at home. In my experience of working with hospitality brands, many make assumptions about their customer base and those assumptions – not founded in any fact or statistics – mean they are literally leaving money on the table.
When uninterrupted in-restaurant dining recommences in 2021, with early spring looking the most realistic time for that, all those businesses who’ve survived the COVID crisis will need to thrive in order to make up for the losses endured in the pandemic. If restaurants don’t survive, then the big delivery companies will also begin to struggle for the levels of success and revenue they’ve achieved in this period. In the spirit of supporting our industry as a whole – one they rely on for their existence – I call on these delivery companies to consider sharing data. I am in no doubt that given the circumstances most customers using the various apps and platforms, would opt into the restaurant also having eyes on their data.
This article first appeared in Premier Hospitality