When First Watch partnered with wait list management platform NoWait last month, the restaurant company was making a move more strategic than many in the industry realized.
"We have about 120 restaurants, and like any marketer, the more I can know about my customers, the better," says Chris Tomasso, chief marketing officer at breakfast, brunch, and lunch brand First Watch. "The restaurant industry is very transactional, and it's hard to get data on your customers. We've been working with Zipscene for a long time on a number of different points, and when they presented us this opportunity on this platform, it fell right in line with what we were looking for."
The platform Tomasso is referencing is zDMP, launched last month by Zipscene, a technology company that uses data to understand guest dining habits and help restaurants market better. zDMP is tying together all of First Watch's disparate technology vendors—Fishbowl for email marketing, NCR for point-of-sale, and NoWait for its wait list—to start assembling profiles of each customer, using customer data that is scattered across the varied platforms.
"The idea is that a lot of restaurants are employing multiple technology vendors to meet whatever their customers' needs are," says Sameer Mungur, founder and CEO of Zipscene. "Unfortunately, as they're doing that, they're building data silos about their customer. zDMP's role is to pull all those data pieces together from separate systems and construct that profile for the first time. Some of our clients have never really seen that holistic profile."
Zipscene's clients include First Watch and Hooters, which both aim to reach individuals in a personalized format.
Reaching Customers on an Individual Level
"For us, a lot of times it starts with: Does the restaurant even have systems in place that are capturing data today?" Mungur says. "In most cases, the answer is no."
That was the case with First Watch, which had been working with Zipscene as an ongoing consultant for more than three years, Tomasso says, but wanted to create a more solid foundation from a POS and IT standpoint, such as the NoWait partnership, before engaging Zipscene for this specific service.
"We don't take reservations, and our customer feedback over the years had told us that our customers would come more if the wait was more manageable," Tomasso says. "Now, whenever a customer utilizes the NoWait system to get on our wait list, we get a cell phone number. Likewise, with our email marketing campaign, our loyalty club, which is run through Fishbowl, we have email addresses, birthdays, and all kinds of information."
What First Watch desires is the ability to coalesce the information from Fishbowl and NoWait—and, ultimately, its online ordering and loyalty vendors—so that no matter which door customers come through to connect with the brand, even if it's more than one platform, First Watch can tie it to that person's profile and begin to understand how that individual uses the brand, when they use it, their frequency, and their likes.