Take one look at the ecommerce marketing world and you’ll see a frightening amount of data at work. One search for socks follows you to the very ends of the earth. The restaurant industry is playing catch-up on big consumer data, but the massive shift to digital ordering has accelerated that dramatically.

During a panel discussion with Food On Demand, two marketing vendors with a handle on big, big data discussed how the marketing end of the restaurant sales funnel is getting digitized.

“Hospitality at its core is understating who your guests are,” said Abhinav Kapur, founder and CEO of Bikky. “As the restaurant space goes increasingly digital, the way for restaurants to actually understand who their customers are is through data. Having that data, not just order data, but behavioral data and enriching that with demographic information so restaurants know who they are serving is going to be the bedrock of digital hospitality.”

He said Bikky, a customer relationship management (CRM) software solution, sits at the center of all that data and helps make the terabytes of information actionable for all the other marketing tools out there.

“The way I describe it to my team is we are Switzerland, we do not have a guest-facing app,” said Kapur. “What we like to focus on is what we think is the most overlooked part, what you actually do with that data to drive more repeat business through any channel?”

On the business end of that data collection and utilization game sits Sid Suri, the head of marketing for in-app chat provider Sendbird. The company works with some of the largest delivery providers in the world, including Delivery Hero and “some U.S. companies that we can’t talk about.”

Sendbird helps move people through the sales funnel from a question such as, “Is this gluten free?” to the sale. A core competency is helping clients avoid cancellations. For delivery providers, direct chat between delivery agents and end consumers gets out of a lost-driver situation that makes a lot of things easier.

He said just opening up chat generates a huge amount of data, all of which is user generated.

“We are one of those channels that would hand off to Switzerland, I think it would be a very complimentary scenario,” said Suri. “Probably our most popular feature at the enterprise level is the data export. People want to mine that stuff for all the goodies. The want to know what is this user’s sentiment, what do they like, are they always upset, are they at risk of churning, do I need to give them a more customized outreach? Or, I know they’re happy and I know their birthday and I can get them in the door with a bigger party for their birthday,” said Suri. “We generate a ton of data through those conversations, especially though chat.”

Grabbing that data and using it is no small feat. Check out the full session below for lots of data and marketing insights from Suri and Kapur at our Building Your Off-Premises Tech-Stack page and journey down the sales funnel from there.