What Is a Restaurant CDP? Your Simple Guide — No Tech Jargon

April 14, 2022

First thing’s first: 

Which type of “CDP” are you interested in? 

Pick your path: the data-related CDP or the kitchen-role CDP.

pick your path - what kind of restaurant cdp are you looking for
Pick your path

Path 1: If you want to learn more about the kitchen role CDP, or a “chef de partie,” — we’ll keep this brief. Check out this great post for more information. 

(Long story short: a kitchen-staff CDP is a person who supports both the sous chef and head chef and focuses on food quality, purchases, ingredients, and plate prep.)

Path 2: If you’re here for the data CDP, great. You’re in the right place. Let’s keep going. 

What Is a Restaurant CDP? In Simple Terms, Without Technical Jargon

A restaurant CDP, or customer data platform, is a platform that’s put in place to centralize guest data and help it talk to marketing systems. 

The term “CDP” wasn’t coined until 2013. It’s a relatively recent concept, which makes sense, if you think about the proliferation of new tech platforms over the past decade. We had to build out and live through the problem before a CDP could enter and solve it.

back to the future- why a restaurant cdp exists

Here are the problems that a CDP solves for: 

  • Your customer data lives all over the place. The platforms you use specialize in a certain area of expertise, and they collect data on that type of customer behavior only. 
  • You have no way to see, understand, or report on your guests. Because your data is in different places, you can’t see customer John or Jane or Jim in one place. You see pieces of their guest experience in different places but it’s never shown in aggregate. This makes analyzing behaviors, finding trends, and seeing revenue difficult. 
  • You can’t make business decisions easily because 20%+ of your time is spent on gathering data and combing through numbers and guest data in spreadsheets.
the problems a restaurant cdp solves for

So take this problem, across any industry, and let it marinate — for years and years. 🥩 🥩 🥩

the problem that marinated for a cdp to solve

You have these data silos and teams working around them, digging deeper and deeper, establishing processes with workarounds. While workarounds become hardened in time, so does the visibility of the problem. More systems are added, more manual exports and imports, and more frustration from leadership that this can’t be a sustainable way to carry the business.


(The demand for a solution was there; the supply just wasn't. All of these business leaders needed a way to bring together their data automatically.)

So, finally, the concept of a CDP enters the scene. Here are a few platform names you might recognize: 

  • Segment.io
  • Tealium
  • Simon Data

See a wider landscape of CDPs here — this includes a graph of top contenders for CDPs that are cross-industry platforms. 

But, if you’re in the restaurant industry, you know that you have a very specific technology stack. These general CDPs that ingest data for B2B technology companies have a very different set of integrations than the ones that leaders at multi-location restaurants need. 

why horizontal cdps dont work for restaurants

That’s why a restaurant-specific, vertical tool like Bikky exists. You need a CDP that was built specifically for enterprise restaurants. 

A restaurant CDP ingests data from these platforms: 

  • Point of sale (POS)
  • Reservations system
  • Online ordering system
  • Third-party delivery apps (DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates)
  • Loyalty programs

In addition to data aggregation, ia restaurant CDP also connects this data to marketing systems and ties marketing engagement back to revenue. The CDP becomes a system of record for guest data with business insights that drill all the way down to revenue, past click-throughs, open rates, impressions, sales conversions, et cetera. 

A CDP helps you to answer questions like: 

  • How much revenue has my email driven?
  • How much revenue are my operating systems bringing in across all locations? 
  • Which of my guests have spent more than $1000 across all platforms? 
How data-backed is your business? Click the asset above to find out.

Can you explain the problem specific to restaurant data? 

Glad you aked. The problem is complicated, and it’s a big one. Let’s hop in and tackle it. 

Like we said, there has been a huge digital transformation in the past two decades. What’s interesting for restaurants is this has increased exponentially the past few years. 

  • The maître d' and hosts have gone from taking reservations by hand to using a reservation platform
  • Front-of-house staff have gone from takeout orders over the phone to using online ordering. 
  • Restaurant establishments have gone from being cash-only establishments to using a POS system for dine-in checks. 

You get it? 

So the problem is, while all of these digital platforms have favored the operator with their innovation, increasing the speed in service, they’ve all done so in siloed platforms, which makes corporate reporting more and more difficult. 

A c-suite leader who wants to report on revenue across the tech stack needs their team to: 

  • Export dine-in POS data
  • Export reservations data
  • Export online ordering data
  • Export third-party data for reservations & delivery apps
  • Export loyalty data

So operators are moving faster, but back-office teams aren’t. In fact, they’re moving slower and slower as new platforms are added to the tech stack. 

sloth  - how not having a cdp slows a restaurant brand down

At one level, this makes it difficult for marketers to see data across all platforms and to send targeted communications.

At another level, it strips the ability to get business insights from every c-suite leader and general manager (GM): 

  • CEO or owner can’t see revenue across the business, view top customers, understand their behaviors. 
  • COO can’t see visibility into operational efficiencies or marketing ROI. They can’t see guest spend, frequency, recency.
  • CFO can’t see frequency cohorts or understand how to move guests into higher-frequency tiers because they don’t know which tiers hold guests in the first place. 
  • CIO can’t control security or privacy and has no easy way to arm other leaders with connected data in an efficient, inexpensive, low-engineering-resources way. 
  • General manager can’t see revenue across all operating systems in one place or answer questions about top spenders or certain ordering behaviors. 

Here’s what a typical week might look like: 

CEO asks business questions that no one is able to easily answer.

not able to answer business questions without a restaurant cdp
  • CFO asks CIO for data from their systems, or manually exports data from systems to build their own dashboards (in Excel)
  • CFO slices and dices the data to understand current state of recency, frequency, and spend
  • CMO may ask CIO for cohorts / segments of guests (or rely on segmentation in their loyalty platform)
  • CMO looks at attribution of campaigns on a one-off basis
  • COO exports reports from POS, online ordering platform, reservations platform, and tries to find patterns across each. 
  • CIO tries to look as solutions to update the tech stack but it’s costly to buy, CDPs that serve across many different industries don’t offer restaurant-specific integrations, and there are too many c-suite chefs in the kitchen
  • No one has any idea what a full guest journey looks like. Developing personas for customers at various locations is an unattainable dream state. 

Potential benefits that come up when a CDP is able to solve for these issues:

  • Instead of a CFO relying on loyalty / digital customer data to develop KPIs and tracking success through that specific prism, can they understand the quality / performance of the entire business?
  • Instead of a CMO just influencing loyalty-specific data (because that’s all they have), with a CDP that tracks 100% of guest data, can they come up with system-wide initiatives that improve performance in accordance with those KPIs?
  • Do CFOs and CMOs get a self-serve platform for understanding and using guest data, removing the CIO as the bottleneck / lynchpin for giving their counterparts customer data?
  • When a  COO can easily see revenue in one place across all platforms, how can they spend more time on strategy for employee retention and lowering the cost of goods and services?
c-suite issues a restaurant cdp solves for
problem, eliminated

What’s the pay-off?

A CDP helps you track and improve: 

  • Customer lifetime value
  • Frequency
  • Recency
  • Customer personas
  • KPIs by location, menu item, daypart, etc.
olga berkovich lopategui quote about bikky cdp

Because of this, there are also the secondary benefits of: 

  • Saving time per week across Marketing, Operations, and Finance by eliminating the need to do exports and analysis for a) seeing customers, b) measuring revenue, and c) measuring project and campaign performance;
  • Instantly delivering data, which saves a headache across these functions as well, improving efficiencies, opening strategy time for other focus areas, and increasing staff retention. 
  • Outpacing competitors by having the strongest understanding of your customers in the market and being able to focus on tactics that delight customers with deep personalization. 

As Olga Berkovich Lopategui explains, “A CDP like Bikky allows you to run instant queries and surfaces dashboard analytics to see — who is actually purchasing from my campaign? Is it a new guest? A lapsed guest? A frequent guest? Are there different levels of adoption based on retention tiers? Do new guests respond to different offers than frequent guests?”

Other Customer Data Platform FAQs

What are the main benefits? 

A CDP gives you a persistent, unified view of your customer database. Let’s break that down: 

Persistent = your team doesn’t have to keep doing exports from your various platforms to match together pieces of the guest journey, or slices of the reporting you need. It all lives in one place so the data is collected for you, presented in a viewable format, analyzed to surface the metrics you need, made flexible to manipulate the reporting view as you’d like, and made actionable for your team to take action in real-time (i.e. trigger marketing campaigns, present to general managers, etc.). 

Unified = everything you need is one place, which means your team isn’t having to spend time going to different places to gather data. It’s a time-savings, a sanity-protector, and a budget-cutting benefit potentially by no longer requiring top-tier packages on all of your individual platforms to get the reporting you need. One system of record to access, analyze, and act on your data. 

What’s the difference between a CDP and CRM?

Glad you asked! There are similarities, but there are also many differences. 

Check them out here.

How can Bikky connect my guest data?

Bikky is a CDP for restaurants. We break down silos across POS, online ordering, reservation, and loyalty platforms to give a 360° view of guests. Brands like Boqueria, Urbanspace, and Westville use deep insights in Bikky to personalize engagement and to 3x customer lifetime value.


That's all for now! Hungry for more? Check out more FAQs in our webinar with the Director of Analytics at Just Salad!