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Restaurant CRM Software: What Is It? And Why Do You Need It?

Restaurant CRM Software: What Is It? And Why Do You Need It?

Guest CRM

Guest CRM

November 13, 2023

November 13, 2023

You can’t ‘wing it’ when you’re collecting your guests’ information at your restaurant.

Your mind isn’t a machine. With changing server shifts, turnover, and other factors, you can’t keep track of your guests, their personal information, dietary or health restrictions, among others.

What you need is a tool or system that lets you log in guest information, update it, track visits, and more. This tool is called a restaurant customer relationship management (CRM) system or software.

Specifically, a restaurant CRM.

The main benefit of using restaurant CRM software is that it’s specifically designed for restaurants and F&B operators. Its features are created with restaurants and their needs in mind.  

In this article, we’ll explain what a restaurant CRM is, its top features, and why it’s important.

Keep reading to get a clearer picture of why customer relationship management is important for restaurants today.

What is a CRM?

What is a CRM?

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is how software businesses manage their clients’, guests’, or customer’s information.

Companies use CRM systems to collect customers’ information and to improve their retention and sales.

But that’s not only what a CRM does. Not only does it collect and store information, but you can also use it to send personalized messages such as email or SMS (depending on the strength of your CRM).

What is restaurant CRM software?

What is restaurant CRM software?

A restaurant CRM system is CRM software that’s specifically designed for restaurants. It’s created to support a restaurant owner’s or manager’s needs.  

You can use a CRM system across different teams, including but not limited to servers, restaurant managers, F&B directors, marketing managers and owners.

For example, with restaurant CRM software, you can collect guest information when they come to your restaurant for the first time. You can collect basic details such as their name, email address and phone number. You can then add more details such as the venue they visited, the food they ordered, and how much they paid.

If you’re using restaurant CRM software, like SerVme, you can integrate your CRM with your restaurant’s POS system. This will allow you to combine information from the CRM and POS systems to improve accuracy and create more detailed guest profiles. 

CRM software also comes with analytics, which means you can use it to track customer behavior and other metrics. With restaurant CRM software, you can analyze your guests’ behavior before, after, or during their visit.

Businesses, including restaurants, have been using CRM systems for years because they help them increase retention and repeat business.

Why does your restaurant need a CRM?

Why does your restaurant need a CRM?

Using a restaurant CRM doesn’t just make running your restaurant a lot easier, but it improves and speeds up various operations.

Generally speaking, using CRM software has an average return on investment (ROI) of $8.71 for every $1 spent. It can also increase sales by 29% and conversions by as much as 300%! (DemandSage)

Using restaurant CRM specifically means more benefits across your various day-to-day, weekly, monthly, and annual operations.

1) Collect and collate guest data 

Using CRM software means you can collect guest information to create a complete customer database. This database will comprise guest profiles with information such as name, phone number, and email.

Using restaurant CRM software specifically lets you collect information about guests’ preferences, their dietary restrictions or requirements, among others.

In other words, CRM for restaurants allows you to get to know your guests better. 

2) Review guest history to create better future experiences 

Using a restaurant CRM not only means having a database of your guests’ information but also your guests’ visit history.

You can see how often guests come to your restaurant, branches, or venues. You can review if they have the same experience across those venues and if they prefer to visit certain branches over others,…etc.

You can use your guests’ historical data to improve the service provided in certain locations to create better future dining experiences.

You can also use historical data to learn more about customer behavior such as favorite dishes, visit frequency, and more.

3) Increases retention through personalization 

One of the major benefits of using restaurant CRM software is it helps you increase repeat business and retention. This ultimately translates to higher revenues and profitability.

A restaurant CRM lets you create profiles and manage guest information. This means your servers can see which guest they’re serving, their preferences, and accordingly create personalized experiences.

Servers don’t need to worry about remembering a customer’s name, their last order, or their favorite dish. The restaurant CRM does all that for them. All they have to do is use the information to make the guest experience memorable.

Getting a memorable and enjoyable dining experience means guests are more likely to come back to your venue.

4) Unify data 

If you run multiple restaurant branches or venues, you don’t have to worry about data duplication. You can use your restaurant CRM to combine and unify customer data.

This ensures clearer information about how often guests visit your restaurants, which locations they go to, and more.

5) Tracking and analytics 

Having clean, unified data means you can track various analytics using your restaurant customer relationship management system.

For example, if you’re using SerVme’s restaurant CRM, you can track and measure various customer analytics in your restaurant.

Tracking these analytics means you can see how much you’re earning per day, week, and month. You can see how many reservations you’re getting, forecast revenues, see guest ratings and reviews, and more.

6) Restaurant CRM software allows for integrations 

Another benefit of using CRM software in your restaurant is it allows you to integrate with other software to improve operations.

For example, restaurant CRM systems let you integrate with point-of-sale (POS) systems, and property management systems (PMS) for hotels, among others.

Some restaurant CRMs let you integrate with rewards programs or include their own.

7)  More direct marketing opportunities 

CRM systems usually come with some marketing platform. There are marketing CRM systems like HubSpot, which work for various businesses. And there are restaurant CRM systems, like SerVme, designed specifically for F&B operators.

If you’re using SerVme, you can easily create, manage, and automate various elements in your restaurant’s marketing strategy. This includes email and SMS marketing.

The strength of the marketing features will differ from restaurant’s CRM to another.

As a restaurant CRM, SerVme lets you use and segment your guest profile data to use in your email and SMS marketing campaigns. 

Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Restaurants

How to choose the best CRM for your restaurant

How to choose the best CRM for your restaurant

By now you know what a CRM for restaurants is, how it works, and the important features it houses.

But how do you decide which CRM is the best one for your restaurant? There are several criteria to consider. The following list isn’t created in any specific order.

Some restaurants may choose to look at pricing over features, while others may prioritize ease of use over features and price.

1) Features

Features are what make – or break – restaurant CRM solutions. Naturally, features will differ from one software to another.

As a restaurant or F&B manager, you need to determine your biggest problem areas and the top features you need.

If you’re not the only person using the restaurant CRM, ask the restaurant or marketing manager, or both, about what their needs and problems are.

For example, SerVme isn’t just a restaurant CRM, it’s a complete restaurant table management system that includes

To name a few perks.

2) Price

Price can be a determining factor for many restaurants. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars without knowing how long will it take you to offset the expense.

But before deciding on a price, review the features available in the restaurant CRM solutions you’re comparing.

You should also see how receptive this restaurant’s CRM is to getting and fulfilling requests.

For example, at SerVme, we’re constantly developing our restaurant CRM to meet our clients’ needs. Our most recent feature releases include Manager’s Notes, and auto-tagging, among others.  

3) Ease-of-use

In general, when selecting CRM software, businesses and professionals see ease of use as the most important feature. (DemandSage)

It’s important that not only your restaurant manager knows how to use your restaurant CRM but also your servers. They’re the direct connection between management and guests.

This is even more pronounced for restaurant chains and F&B groups and enterprises where there are multiple branches, with dozens, if not hundreds of servers, and thousands of guests.

4) Customer support

When researching any type of software, you need to know if there’s adequate – or better yet, great – customer support. Some CRM software offers automated customer support (chatbots) or a help centre only, while others may offer dedicated customer support agents.

Having dedicated customer support can also vary if the restaurant CRM’s pricing comes with tiered-pricing. The higher the tier, the better the customer support you get. 

5) Reviews

When comparing restaurant CRMs, you should look at reviews and testimonials. Sure, getting 1000 5-star reviews is great. But be sure to read into what these reviews have to say.

For example, several of our customers comment on how easy it is to use SerVme and how attentive our customer support team is.

6) Additional benefits

We mentioned that one of the benefits of using CRM for restaurants is being able to add integrations.

Make sure you review which integrations are available with the restaurant CRM systems you’re comparing.

For example, SerVme offers restaurants, including hotel restaurants, integrations such as:

  • POS integrations

  • PMS integrations for hotels (Oracle)

  • Phone integration

  • Payments 

Wrapping it up

One of the top restaurant tech trends for 2024 is using restaurant management software. This includes reservation management and restaurant CRM software, like SerVme.

So, if you want to improve dining operations and generate more revenues, a restaurant CRM is the way to go. Even more so if you’re planning on expanding and adding more branches in the next couple of years. 

In the next article in this series, we’ll compare the top restaurant CRM systems. 

If you want to see what a restaurant CRM looks like in action, get in touch with SerVme to learn more. 

Further reading

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Posted by:

Mohammed Rafy

Guest CRM