skip to main content

Identify and Understand Diners

Identify and Understand Diners

Diner Identity

Identity is complex. Each channel through which your customers engage your brand – whether that’s a Facebook ad, your website, a retargeted ad, an in-store visit, digital purchase, social media post or email – holds just a fragment of insights into who that person is, their purchase history with your brand, their preferences and interests. Most brands have 4 – 7 internal systems containing data which is managed by 3 – 5 Internal IDs.

Without an identity solution to align those fragmented and rapidly growing data points, and to recognize who an individual is and the history with your brand, you’ll likely deliver a disjointed, inconsistent customer experience.

Acxiom has been at the forefront of identity innovation since the launch of AbiliTec in 1999, the first referential identity graph allowing for persistent IDs, to the recent launch of Real IdentityTM,  which enables identity transparency & brand ownership of identity graphs.

In the digital age, it is important to remember that restaurant customers are people, not proxies (like devices or IP addresses). According to the 2022 Acxiom Restaurant MadTech Study, just over one quarter of diners visit the website of their favorite restaurants; only 1 in 10 use a restaurant location's wifi or scan its QR codes. So these signals tell only part of the story.

Real IdentityTM enables you to recognize 5x more diners and connect together all of their experiences with you.  

Build a Diner Identity Graph

Cookie-dominant identity graphs, on-boarders and platforms are in decline. PII and first-party data mastery, integrations, identity and data sharing are the new currency to future-proof your business and seamlessly create unique value exchanges with diners. Acxiom has a clear roadmap to transition restaurants through these changes:

  1. Assemble all people-related data into your privately-owned Identity Graph:
    • rGRAPH collects personally identifiable information as a normal part of establishing a relationship with a customer.
    • rGRAPH360 stores and supports pseudonymous data, allowing brands to ethically connect it with deterministic data in the graph.
  2. Leverage this first-party framework to activate, personalize and measure with rID as your brand-specific universal identifier enabling a true 360° single customer view.

The Diner Identity Graph offers the following key benefits:


Simply put: You own it. You scale it, and you have more leverage into publisher networks and/or second-party partnerships.

Future Proof

Eliminate reliance on third-party cookies and instead use a first-party tag: rTAG is a first-party tag for deployment across owned and paid media and functions as a pure first-party tag delivering diner signals data back to your ecosystem.


Identity isn’t just about marketing. Your identity graph also ensures your back-of-house operational use cases, like menu development, supplies and people planning are kept up-to-date with diner engagements, transactions and touchpoints in real time.

Create First-Party Data at Scale

Restaurants are at a disadvantage due to a lack of extensive first-party data, which is increasingly critical due the phasing out of identifiers like third-party cookies and changing privacy regulations. As recently as Q1 ‘22, around 20% of restaurants chain transactions were anonymously done in cash, only around 40% of customers were sharing any personal information (PII), just 20% downloaded a favorite restaurant app and 17% signed up for its loyalty program. Moreover, only a quarter of these loyalty or app users always identify themselves when dining in or ordering from their drive-thru2.

It is therefore essential to modernize rich data capture from Restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems and other sources. To turn more tables, most POS systems were originally optimized to enable rapid order capture and payment. Newer payment systems, however, are cloud-based with mobile hubs that have native capabilities and/or APIs to connect with reservation, loyalty, inventory, menu, accounting, and other systems.  To remain competitive, restaurant systems must enable customer identity capture, dining history and menu preferences from their integrated POS. Because about 2 in 3 of dine-in and take-out/drive-thru transactions (and roughly 8 in 10 delivery orders) are made with credit/debit cards, Acxiom can help brands recognize customers and complete their portraits with rich appended data.

In addition, since the pandemic, QR menu codes have become increasingly popular. Dynamic QR codes, combined with your first-party HTML rTag, can capture behaviors for each person in a dining party and land this data within your Customer Data Platform (CDP). 

QR codes tend to have high scan-to-app install rates, which further boosts first-party data collection. They can also be used on delivery packaging, mailers and in-restaurant displays with exclusive coupons. Other innovative applications of QR codes include automatically connecting to restaurant wifi and scan-to-call for food delivery.  

Acxiom solutions provide Restaurants with the ability to:

  • Transform payment processing into rich first-party data
  • Collect comprehensive insights across consumer touchpoints including QR codes
  • Maximize ingestion of paid and owned media consumer behaviors

Simply put, we enable brands to know more and to convert that knowledge into high value interactions at scale.

Enhance Diner Insights with Data

As your modernized restaurant systems capture data, what you know about your customers can be further enhanced with zero-party (customer volunteered), second-party (shared by business partners) and third-party (licensed demographics, affinities and behaviors) data.  This new rich foundational asset fuels your Restaurant Customer Data Platform (CDP), enabling highly engaging and personalized interactions from your owned properties, paid media to in-person dining, pickup or delivery.

Third-party Data Enrichment

Licensed third-party data can be leveraged for audience insights and discovery by sizing and segmenting the addressable market and building 360° customer archetypes. Restaurants that have sufficient and clean first-party data can append these third-party data elements and propensities to fill in gaps in their customer portrait for use in analytic, personalization and targeting applications.

Audience models are important because they provide information actual data does not, like:

ScaleSolely using actual data has an opportunity cost due to limited coverage.
Look-a-like models can take a small panel of consumer transactions, responses or actions and expand them across the US.
Personalized and Creative MessagingWith the insights and knowledge Acxiom models provide across the customer life cycle, restaurants have significantly more flexibility to customize messaging & match creative to echo customer preferences.
Media EfficiencyTailored messaging delivered to the right customers consistently returns higher value.

Learn more about best practices around testing, custom model creation and more to build optimal audiences.


Acxiom InfoBase® is comprised of several services:

  • The premier source of marketable and accurate consumer lists with coverage of more than 260 million U.S. individuals and approximately 186 million households for digital and offline customer acquisition.
  • A comprehensive single source of third-party descriptive and touch point data for nearly all addressable U.S. diners with more than 5,000 attributes and propensities (including consumable food & beverage preferences) allowing you to better understand patrons, predict brand affinity, preferences, and behavior as well as engage and personalize their experiences across digital and offline channels.
  • Personicx® provides marketers with high-performance, multi-dimensional consumer segmentation solutions that deliver robust insights in ready-to-go personas for quickly defining audiences and creating exceptional customer experiences. For example, Personicx Lifestage is a household-level segmentation system. Using demographic and behavioral data, it assigns every U.S. household to one of 70 clusters within 21 lifestage groups. All segments are updated monthly to maintain accuracy.

Food Service Audiences

Acxiom can further enrich insights by integrating restaurant and food delivery audiences developed in partnership with select data providers who meet requirements for ethical data use – covering your brand and your competitors.

With past purchase behavior remaining the best predictor of future buying behavior, Acxiom partner audiences deliver highly predictive data for acquisition and prospecting:

Restaurant Visitation AudiencesPowered by InMarket (formerly NinthDecimal) geolocation data:  diner visitation frequency for your brand and competitors
Restaurant Spend AudiencesCredit card and debit card transaction-informed segments for your brand and competitors powered by Commerce Signals and detailed dining data powered by the integrated POS, ordering and contactless payment systems from NCR Behavioral

Second-party Clean Rooms

The largest brands in the world are driving market transformation by working with suppliers and partners to combine insights with marketing tactics to grow sales efficiently. The imminent deprecation of third-party cookies and more stringent privacy regulations have given this more urgency. Advances in data sharing tech and a migration from on-premise to the cloud have made this more cost-effective and less cumbersome.

Acxiom’s Clean Room, powered by Snowflake, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or other partners enables second-party data sharing and monetization by joining your diner data with select partner(s) data via a neutral collaborative data ecosystem. Our standard clean room processes more than 3 billion records. Collaboration can be as simple as overlap analysis or enabling co-marketing campaigns, or it can be complex like partner data hubs or exchanges.

Our privacy-by-design approach helps safely share and monetize data in our complete clean room solutions environment and services for better marketing results. We never release your customers’ personally identifiable information to partners. We only allow partners to see the data that is agreed between them.

  • Enable co-marketing initiatives and cross-sell opportunities
  • Increase ROI, insights and leads
  • Efficiently ingest and manage all types of disparate data into a single environment for business activation
  • Leverage Acxiom’s unparalleled data governance and superior identity spines, which are essential for collaboration

Zero-party Data Insights

Data volunteered by diners through surveys and other tools can deliver high-level strategic insights but often don't scale well due to sample size limitations.

Restaurants collaborating with Acxiom can significantly enhance the utility of this zero-party data by matching survey respondents to the 260 million individuals in Infobase to:

  • Append Infobase and Acxiom partner data elements for richer insights
  • Leverage the survey as a seed for lookalike modeling and scaling up audiences
  • Score the enriched first-party graph with these new classifications
  • Activate these new high value audiences across digital and offline channels

For Acxiom’s point-of-view on how relevant and quality data can create a connected customer experience, see here.

Customized Audiences

Acxiom’s automated logistic regression modeling service is available for building custom models based on restaurant first-party data.

Data Guru, our team of data strategists, looks at your campaign objectives and provides the expertise to guide you through audience creation, curating the best possible audience to crush your advertising goals.

With Data Guru, you can create custom audiences, extend look-alike audiences and distribute to your preferred publishers and platforms as easy as one, two, three, determined by your:

ObjectivesAwareness, Engagement, Lead Generation, Restaurant Traffic, etc.
Pain PointsSegmentation strategies, Competition, Scale, etc.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)Click-through Rate, Cost per Action, Cost per Acquisition, etc.