Recipe for success: How this startup uses data to help restaurants reel in customers

Andreas Rekdal
February 13, 2017

In the food and beverage industry, where operations are complicated and margins are tight, bar and restaurant owners are always on the lookout for ways to get ahead of the competition.

By diving deep into the numbers of how their establishments are doing, Revzi wants to give restaurants the edge they’re looking for.

Founded in Chicago in 2014, Revzi is the provider of a cloud-based platform that helps bar and restaurant owners get a holistic view of what’s going on inside their establishments. Its dashboards capture data on things like sales, online reviews, labor costs and server performance. The platform also draws reservations, specials and historical data to give managers insights while planning for upcoming shifts.

But what really sets the platform apart, said founder and CEO Paul Hadfield, is the way in which it combines internal data with payment card information. In doing so, the startup can help owners understand how to increase customer loyalty.

“One of my favorite things that we can tell restaurants is which items cause first-time visitors to become repeat customers,” said Hadfield.

These kinds of insights can be extremely valuable. In the case of one client, Hadfield said, Revzi’s analytics revealed that 40 percent of customers who bought one particular menu item came back to buy the same thing again. The only problem was that the item was one of the restaurant's worst sellers overall.

“They changed the description of that menu item, moved it to the top of the menu and started promoting it,” said Hadfield. “We saw their overall business rise by 8 percent... They saw more repeat business, a slightly higher average check and an overall increase in total sales.”

The same type of analytics can also be used to discover menu items that are bad for business. In some cases, Hadfield said, restaurants have discovered that customers who buy certain popular menu items hardly ever return. Given that knowledge, the restaurant may want to take that item off the menu, change the recipe or description, or ask servers not to recommend it to first-time guests.

To date, Revzi has 12 employees, serving 1,100 clients in seven markets across the country, but Hadfield's goal is to grow his bootstrapped startup into a major national player. To that end, he expects to double its employee count in 2017.

Though that growth will require hiring salespeople across the country, Hadfield has every intention of keeping Revzi's headquarters in Chicago.

“I think Chicago is the best restaurant city in the world, and one of the best cities to do business in,” he said. “I’ve worked in other cities before, but I’ve found the best mixture of quality employees and big thinkers — people who want to be involved in helping companies grow, but who are also extremely hard workers.”

Image via Revzi.

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