The customer is always right: Olga’s Kitchen listens to guest data to grow valuable relationships while cutting costs

couple laughing in restaurant

Olgas blogLeveraging data analytics for success is a challenge of two skills: knowing the right questions to ask, and knowing what to do with the answers. Backed by data insights from Fishbowl’s Customer Engagement Platform, Howard Hardy, Director of Marketing at Olga’s Kitchen, demonstrates the value of these skills with two recent strategic wins that helped them grow and maintain valuable guest relationships.


When Olga’s Kitchen first partnered with Fishbowl to seek data insights from the Guest Analytics platform, Hardy looked for insights that could shed light on guests who visited Olga’s once and never came back. An analysis of their individual order history revealed that the majority of these guests were ordering new or unique menu items that often differed from Olga’s traditional menu and the expectation of their brand promise. Hardy and his team were able to reduce the frequency of one-and-dones by quickly changing the menu.

“That’s something we put into action immediately. We changed the item name within about 60 days.”

Return on Relationships

“Measuring success for us has become a little trickier with all the data because when you begin targeting smaller groups of people,” says Hardy. “It’s probably not going to move the needle on sales or covers or guest counts, but that doesn’t mean that campaign wasn’t successful.”

Olga’s longest running promotion—a buy one, get one free entrée—came at a heavy cost to the bottom line, but Hardy thought a more targeted promotion would offer guests more value at a lower discount. Not every guest needs a free entrée to drive an extra visit. In fact, many will visit for a small discount on a favorite item, but if you discount every menu item… well, that’s just a menu strategy (and not a good one). Instead, Hardy analyzed the redemption habits of Olga’s guest segments and found the family segment showed a preference for free kid’s meals. By changing the promotion for the family segment to include a free kid’s meal instead of a free entrée, Olga’s greatly reduced the discount on the promotion without affecting traffic from the family segment.

“The business needs and guest needs marry each other with some of the data analytics there are out there now.”

Successful brands like Olga’s Kitchen invest in building relationships with guests, knowing those who continue to choose the brand and promote the brand over the long-term are more valuable. The key to these relationships is understanding guests and creating an experience relevant to their personal needs.