patrick donnelly

Applying Analytics to the Restaurant Industry

As many of you know, I have just joined the team at Revel Systems (www.revelsystems.com) .  I am super excited to join a top notch startup who is changing the way the service industry is run.  I am fortunate enough to work with three of my favorite things every day – tech, data, & food ( grocery/ retail service ).

One thing that really drew me to this new job was the opportunity for data to influence the restaurant industry. From my time at WCG ( now W2O ), I learned so much about how analytics could drive a strategy for marcom or engagement. The real epiphany though of the “data” buzz words we have been hearing about over the last year though are really about tracking assets and being self aware of your decisions to simply forecast your own decisions and refining your plan for better quality.

I am now a converted “foodie.” I dream of Michelin Star restaurant dinners once a year, and have begun to appreciate a good wine   or the different notes of a seasoned dish.  That’s the artist in me. However, the business side of me understands that their is a value of that dish – both perceived/ earned value and actual costs per plate.  The balance of the art and business of a restaurant is what I find so intriguing.  People pay for the value, but dont mind the cost.

The dream of the chef ( artist ) is to be able to produce tastes on a plate that can inspire the critic, but also make the account manager happy with the books. Understanding your menu / ingredient data can help justify how you shape your dishes, but also understand how you are using ingredients, and where you can be efficient with your assets.  Same applies to mixologists in the bar industry.  I feel that people are afraid to embrace data in that people may not want to know the cost of a slice of tomato, but really, once you understand the data, you have the power to make better decisions.  It’s empowerment.  People will always pay for art and an experience. Its just nice to be able to understand and justify the math behind art.

I love what I am working on with the Revel team. Its amazing to see what you can passively track from a POS system.  Let me know if you have any contacts in the service industry who are open to hearing about how data analytics and a sleek POS system can change how you do business.

-Patrick

August Smartlock: What else should marketers be thinking about unlocking

yves august donnelly smartlock phone mobile door

 

Nest was cool, but August is awesome.  As we talk about the internet of things, I think about how this is a perfect execution of having something be “smart” but actually be useful as well – not just appealing to the geeks.

The beauty of August is that is plays on constructs that we already use in the digital realm ( permissions ) but makes them analog. In a way that has never been done before.  And really, the key itself is an outdated concept. We have replaced it everywhere possible. This makes me think about homes and spaces in terms of those same digital terms – people crave contextual access. 

Although the launch focused on homes, I think where this could really shine is with brands, guerilla marketing, and nightclubs.  Pepsi came out with the like machine yesterday, which was impressive, but August is that on another scale. Imagine a brand telling you that you have an exclusive pass to the movies, or a VIP party, or a car.  And these may not be the best examples, but what we really again are talking about here is access. What could you unlock that could provide a meaningful experience.  And if we expand this handshake protocol to other types of mechanical actions, perhaps a lightswitch, or a valve, or a secret elevator floor, imagine what could be unlocked. What experiences we could create.  In a world where digital and IRL are blurring, access to a new place could change your whole perspective.

In a world that craves exclusivity and scarcity – what power does a lock and key hold ? I think their are opportunities to move past surprise and delight here.  I hope that other people are thinking this way as well.  Past the physical to think symbolically about how this marries experiences, mobile, digital, and access.