However, restaurants face several challenges to reach this 1:1 marketing nirvana: third-party cookies and mobile IDs are being phased out, privacy laws are becoming more restrictive and not all diner segments are receptive to data sharing and new ways to connect with brands. On top of that, few restaurateurs have mastered the marketing automation technology and processes that fully unlock this potential.

The 2024 deprecation of third-party cookies – do not procrastinate – and the remaining Android mobile IDs has boosted the importance of first-party data and owned channels. But according to a 2022 Acxiom Restaurant MADTech Study, a lot of work lies ahead in building the capabilities to enable consistent and personalized customer experiences: only about 40% of customers are sharing any personal information (PII) with a top 50 restaurant chain, 17% are signing up for their loyalty program and 20% are downloading their restaurant app. 

The hurdles to making these personalized connections differ by diner segment. Urban diners, higher income consumers, Gen Z and Millennials are more open to sharing PII, downloading loyalty apps and scanning QR codes but are more likely held at arm’s length by third-party delivery platforms. Restaurants need to entice them to go “direct” with differential pricing and item choices on native vs. third party menus, and find other ways to engage them, such as feedback forms that harvest PII.  

Others like rural, lower income diners, Gen X or Boomers are harder to connect with because they are more reluctant to volunteer PII, download apps or join loyalty programs. They also tend to use cash more, which reduces your ability to recognize them on-premise. Customer recognition solutions can provide a boost to restaurant engagement among this segment.

A seamless personalized experience drives customer engagement, boosts loyalty and ultimately grows topline growth and market share.

However, personalization needs to adapt with changing customer needs along the customer journey and interaction points.  Restaurants that focus on holistic journeys and evolve from one-way communications to bi-directional customer conversations are better positioned to create superior experience and performance.

Acxiom helps restaurants prosper by ingesting and mining bi-directional signals along every step of the customer journey.