When Marissa Freeman was a server at a restaurant years ago, paying attention to details such as diners’ favorite cocktails helped boost her connections to her guests, as well as her tips.
Now, Freeman is leading the charge to find new ways to tap into that kind of first-party data. As the newly-appointed chief marketing officer at Union Square Hospitality Group, she’s part of a team layering that kind of first-hand knowledge with technology to help restaurants such as Maialino and Union Square Cafe deepen relationships with diners even as the pandemic persists.
Freeman recalls servers passing down details such as frequent guests’ allergies, anniversaries and birthdays, as well as the little touches such as which tables they preferred.
“That data is our gold,” she says on the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast.
Union Square Hospitality is among the restaurant operators eager to use that data beyond a diner’s visit, such as sending an invitation to a wine tasting to guests who order wine. Technology can play a greater role in the experience people have at restaurants, says Freeman.
Take, for example, the sometimes frustrating moment of waiting for the check after a meal.
“We’re thinking even further into the future of things like get up and go payments,” says Freeman, speaking about the ability for diners to leave without waiting for another interaction with a server. “I can’t say exactly when it will happen but it’s in our roadmap and we’re working on it.”