Big Data Gives Foodservice Operators Lots to Chew On

Posted in Millennials on May 22, 2018

lukas-blazek-367945-unsplashIn our app-happy age of head-spinning technological advancement, where more and more consumers have goods and services under their thumb—literally—thanks to their mobile devices, big data is a big deal.

According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of U.S. adults overall and 92% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 say they own a smartphone.1 What’s more, Pew survey data shows that upwards of half of 18- to 29-year-olds live in a household with three or more smartphones, and around half of all U.S. adults surveyed use their smartphones to make online purchases.1

The rise of mobile technology has led to a proliferation of food delivery and loyalty program apps which collect data based on the consumer’s interactions and usage patterns. As a result, technology that consumers have turned to for speed and convenience can also be used to create a more personalized experience with targeted promotions and customized food and beverage concepts.

Spurred on by busy lifestyles, with a growing appetite for saving time and money, consumers feed into a wide range of channels and technologies for faster, more budget-friendly sources of food and drink, from e-commerce sites to mobile apps to voice-enabled smartphone accessories.

As the global market research firm Mintel noted, technological advances that allow for “prompt and affordable delivery, a curated adventure courtesy of subscription services, ease of automatic replenishment, and simplicity of synchronisation with smart home devices”2 are driving a new era of personalization. Mintel includes this tech-driven tendency toward “Preferred Treatment” as one of its top food and drink trends for 20182—and it is hardly alone in foreseeing the ongoing transformative impact of data-driven insights across the foodservice landscape.

“We expect data to impact every area of operations, from marketing messages personalized based on behavioral analytics, to hyper-customized menu suggestions based on past purchases, to sensors that track staff productivity,” said Kelly Killian, director of the foodservice content group for Winsight, a business-to-business media and information company specializing in the convenience-retailing, restaurant and noncommercial foodservice industries.3  “And in the kitchen, smarter equipment will gather data to make for more efficient purchasing, production and more.”3

Global Markets Gobble Up Food Data

Far from limited to the U.S., the power of data is also a defining factor in the reorienting of the global market. Thirty-five percent of UK online grocery shoppers surveyed by Mintel consider the ability to add products to their grocery order through voice command technology appealing.2  Sixty-five percent of 20- to 49-year-old Chinese consumers surveyed now use their mobile phone more than a desktop or laptop for online grocery shopping—a major development, considering that 77% have shopped at online grocers for home delivery.2 And three in 10 Brazilians find loyalty programs that give personalized rewards based on their interests are appealing.4

While big data is typically associated with big companies like Amazon and Google, 18% of small and 57% of medium business use business intelligence and analytics.5 The trend is particularly prevalent in the restaurant industry, according to Shama Hyder, founder and CEO of Zen Media, a digital marketing consultancy. Tight margins and a constant need for menu innovation seem likely to compel operators to leverage data to make informed decisions on processes and product selection.

“As technology advances and more platforms emerge to help restaurants leverage the power of big data, my prediction is that the experience of diners, restaurateurs, and business consultants will change dramatically,” Hyder said.5 “Diners will receive more finely targeted ads and campaigns, business consultants will have new tools at their disposal, and restaurateurs will base their operational decisions on not only their own experience, but on the feedback they receive from software that's specially designed to process many different kinds of relevant data. Regardless of the rate of growth, I would say this 'trend' is here to stay.”5

The smart money seems to be on smart technology to continue to help make the bottom line better. Reach out to us below to learn why pairing our big brands with big data can be a no-brainer for your foodservice business.


1 Raine, Lee and Perrin, Andrew, 10 facts about the smartphones as the iPhone turns 10, Pew Research Center, June 28, 2017
2 Mintel, Global Food and Drink Trends 2018, Oct. 26, 2017, p. 15
3 Winsight LLC, “Data will take over the restaurant industry in 2018," PR Newswire, Oct. 21, 2017  
4 Mintel, p. 175
5 Hyder, Shama, “How Is Big Data Transforming the Restaurant Industry?Inc., March 23, 2017










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