Industry Marketing News Loyalty Marketing

Restaurants: Protect Your Guest Data

I’m excited about what 2014 promises for restaurant marketing leaders and their brands.

By the end of the year, I’m certain that over 80% of restaurant chains with more than 20 locations (give or take) will have signed on with some loyalty marketing provider.

Or, they’ll make the big change to working with a POS provider who provides advanced, transaction data, in order to build a custom loyalty program. Or, they’ll publish a mobile app that allows for mobile payments.

Big Data meets small to medium restaurant chains.

But I’m also convinced that more restaurant chains are going to have their customers’ data exposed. It’s already happened recently in Boston.

You’ve read the news about Starbucks — that their cutting-edge, industry-leading mobile app exposes usernames and passwords of app holders. And you’re surely well aware of the news regarding Target, maybe even affected by it? Starbucks hasn’t yet responded on its blog or via press release, at the time of this writing. But it highlights a major concern for restaurant chains.

Your guests’ data is sacred. Treat it like that.

Loyalty marketing providers, custom app builders, and online ordering services need to outline to the industry how they protect guest data.

If I’m a restaurant marketing leader reading that news about Starbucks, and I’ve begun the buying cycle for one of these services, guest data security is near the top of the list of must-have screening criteria. PCI Compliance is a serious issue if I’ve got a vendor helping me implement mobile payments.

As Arshad Parvez stated on Twitter:


Read:  This Week in Restaurant Technologies #01

I made a prediction that 2014 is the year loyalty marketing for restaurants really takes off — beyond the digital punchcard. But it will come with a couple setbacks like these, and some SaaS providers scrambling to make sure security is a carefully managed aspect of their service.

Restaurant leaders, you need to be smart about the partnerships you enter into as you take advantage of the opportunities. 

As a start in this direction…

About the author

Brandon Hull

Brandon is the original founder of He has helped thousands of restaurants implement innovative marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics by incorporating new technology, in order to attract loyal guests.