Closing the Loop

Restaurants already collect certain types of data, for example, check data and order history. But compared to e-commerce companies, restaurants don’t actually collect as much as they could. For example, Amazon knows exactly how many times you visit their website, how much time you spend on each page. Not only does the website remember the items you’ve purchased, but also the items that you’ve looked at and didn’t purchase. Restaurants might have data on what customers have purchased, but they’re missing out on other information that can allow them to close the loop on why customers are making the decisions that they’re making. 

Track User Behavior

One of the advantages that Presto’s products bring is that we allow restaurants to actually close the loop on the kinds of data that they’re not collecting currently through their point-of-sale system. One example of that is through our Presto UI, when users are going through the digital menu, we can determine which pages, categories, and menu items they’re looking at. They’re spending time looking but might not be purchasing, which is another important indicator of the guest experience. 

Collect More Surveys

Another Presto Pay At Table feature is enabling restaurant operators to collect a significantly higher volume of surveys than they currently have. Surveys are critical because they empower operators to close the loop on how customers actually feel. Were they satisfied with the meal and service? What elements could be improved on?

Accurate Forecasting

In addition, Presto’s technology allows restaurants to forecast their check data more accurately. I’m often surprised to see that many restaurants perform labor and sales forecasting based only on the current day, previous week, and year. If you think about the wealth of check data that they have, they’re only looking at 8 days worth of historical data each time they try to figure out the labor schedules and sales for the next few weeks.

We found that by instead training neural models on the full range of check data, we can improve the error rate of those predictions by 30%. By layering on further data like current events, weather, and sports game schedules, we can improve that accuracy even further.

Closing the Gap Between E-Commerce and Brick-and-Mortar

Restaurants are finally able to capture some of the metrics that e-commerce websites have had for years. For example, bounce rate—when people visit a website and immediately leave. One of the things that Presto Computer Vision does is that it allows restaurants to determine exactly how many customers are walking in the door, and also the number of customers that are bouncing—leaving the restaurant without ordering food—possibly due to an overly busy lobby or long wait time. Our goal is to use current technologies to fill in the gap and allow restaurants to compete with e-commerce and online-ordering aggregators like Grubhub and UberEats.

The Importance of Real-Time Metrics

To fix something when it really matters, you need to first be able to measure it in real time. Real-time data is especially relevant and important to the hospitality industry. To meet this need, all of the Presto products that produce data are able to publish that data to a restaurant events stream. That means multiple devices can act as sinks—which means they can receive data—to that event stream.

 A long wait time until a staff member greets a customer not only impacts their current guest experience. It can affect their likelihood of returning to the restaurant. With Presto Computer Vision, restaurants can actually measure their lobby occupancy, bounce rate, and the time it takes for the host to greet a customer in real time. This gives staff members a chance to correct any critical situations when a guest is likely to leave the restaurant with a bad experience. Alerts are sent out in real time about overly long waits to Server Handhelds that staff carry, as well as manager’s Wearables—similar to a smartwatch. 

Real-Time Metrics Enable Personalization.

In addition, with our table management system for computer vision, we add in the ability to detect critical events within the dining room, such as whether tables need to be cleared, as well as the number of table touches that a server makes. 

Another one of our real-time events that managers rely heavily on is the negative survey feedback alert. If a customer completes a survey on Presto Pay At Table and leaves a low enough score, managers will instantly receive a notification on their wearable. This enables them to walk up to the table and remedy the guest’s negative experience before they leave the restaurant. As a result, the manager can prevent a negative review on Yelp and the possibility of the guest never coming back to the restaurant.

Humanizing the Guest Experience

While technology allows restaurants to gain much more visibility into what’s going on inside their restaurants, it’s also designed to be as non-intrusive as possible, and enable guests to rediscover what hospitality and the human experience mean again. Personalization does enable speed, and expedites the ordering process for lunch-time regulars who simply want to hit the reorder button and have an efficient as possible experience. 

Another aspect of personalization is discovery. An effective personalization system uses AI and collected data to give intelligent and relevant meal recommendations to guests. E-commerce websites are able to determine what people will like based on their past favorites. Our goal is to bring this possibility into the restaurant industry, help customers expand their horizons, and enable them to try something they may not have tried before. We’re also looking to tie in some of our multiplayer games with personalized IDs so that we can have persistent leaderboards going and allow people to connect with each other in a whole different way. This is actually a feature that many restaurant customers demand. Whatever consumers can imagine and desire really is the limit in terms of what personalization can offer.

Bill Healey
CTO of Presto

Presto’s platform offers a comprehensive set of solutions to increase staff productivity, improve guest experience, and deliver actionable insights to managers. Please contact us to get detailed product information or to schedule a demo.