Restaurants have had a tough few months due to the pandemic. People are staying home for meals, even now, months into the pandemic. Thinking back to March, the restaurant business really came to an abrupt halt.
3x — Bloomin' Brands tripled off-premise sales with data-driven messaging.
But the story of Bloomin’ Brands is a bright spot in the restaurant industry. Our own Tim Glomb spoke with Chief Customer Officer (and avid Carolina Panthers fan) Michael Stutts about how Bloomin’ Brands has been able to not only forgo furloughs, but to flourish. You might not recognize the company Bloomin’ Brands, but you certainly know familiar names like Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and Bonefish Grill. Bloomin’ Brands is the parent company behind those names and where better to meet up with Michael than… the parking lot of an Outback Steakhouse!
The Bloomin’ Brands data story is one that started way before the pandemic. The team at Bloomin’ Brands has consistently made investments in data collection and analysis, which enabled them to pivot quickly as in-store dining temporarily ceased. One of the more interesting points Michael’s team found was that customers that dine with their brands in multiple ways have a higher overall value. Translation? It is within the brands’ best interests to encourage purchases in new ways, such as dine-in patrons being served emails with carry-out options, and for phone-in carry-out orders to be directed to online ordering.
It was Michael’s observation about the data they already have, and how to use it, that I hadn’t really thought through. He mentioned that for some customers, dining in no longer interests them anymore and that restaurants know who those people are because they haven’t visited a dining room since March. So instead of peppering inboxes with offers about dining rooms being open and clean, it is instead a good idea to align their offers and promotions with carry-out and online ordering options. What data does a brand already have, and what does it mean? This was my big takeaway - instead of asking someone what kind of offers they want, what do we already know based on the data?
8x — Bloomin' Brands derives 8x more revenue from consumers that use multiple channels to engage the brand vs. those that only use 1 channel
Bloomin’ Brands does excellent data analysis, looking at the data to frame segmentation and targeting. The example that Michael gave of the pandemic giving way to the initial use of online ordering is another takeaway. Now that the customer has learned something new, how can we support that behavior? Now if you excuse me, I’m going to support a learned behavior and find myself a Bloomin’ Onion. Cheers!
Check out the Bloomin' Brands session here or check out the
helpful content we've cooked up for restaurant marketers.
Brittany Luebke is a Content Marketing Strategist at Cheetah Digital. You can find her writing through our corporate social media channels, so follow Cheetah Digital on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. She has worked with email marketing programs since 2007, and her work has won awards from dotComm, Hermes Creative, and MarCom, as well as recognition from Really Good Emails.