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How data reporting powers Southern hospitality for a growing restaurant group

OpenTable makes crunching the numbers on multiple locations easier and more useful than ever

Type of restaurant:
Restaurant Group

Locations:
19 locations across 14 states

Year founded:
2000

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6K+

Additional covers in a
month with one setting tweak

A+

Guest insights helped earn higher
value and service scores

$130K+

Additional revenue

For more than 20 years, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar restaurants have brought a taste of Southern food and hospitality to guests across the U.S. The friendly service draws just as many fans as the cat head biscuits. Word of mouth has always driven a stream of walk-ins through the door. But in an environment that’s changing more rapidly than ever, restaurateurs see the value in the predictability that comes with reservations.

After a recent upgrade to OpenTable Pro, chief operating officer Caroline Skinner says she can hardly remember how she managed without it. Now she has a wealth of organized guest insights and company-wide reporting at her fingertips. With these powerful tech tools in place, Tupelo Honey has been able to increase covers, drive revenue, and get to know their guests on a whole new level.

Staying true to their roots

The restaurant industry has always evolved rapidly, but recent years have brought changes at a frenzied pace. Since 2019, Tupelo Honey has shifted everything about how they think about their business model, how they staff the restaurants, and how they look at metrics.

“While the brunt of COVID is behind us, we’re still dealing with changes in the supply chain, changes in guest behavior, and changes in technology,” says Skinner.

She believes success today means staying a step ahead of the changes. “We hold true to our true north of Southern hospitality while innovating around the edges,” says Skinner.

Achieving more with OpenTable

OpenTable allowed Tupelo Honey to refine their service while bringing in more guests wherever possible.

Pre-shift reporting has allowed Tupelo Honey to set the bar higher for service. “We can see guests’ dining history. We see what they’ve ordered in the past, and that lets us really tailor the experience. It’s all right there in that snapshot on the pre-shift report,” says Skinner.

Tupelo Honey also recently began using relationship management to track and respond to online reviews in OpenTable directly. “It replaces a separate system that we were using before. We get all the same features,” says Skinner.

The restaurant group has leaned into OpenTable reporting to help increase revenue and covers directly. Some of their best results have come from adjusting the party size setting. “We’ve been able to increase revenue significantly by unlocking this one feature,” explains Skinner.

Like many restaurants, Tupelo Honey set a maximum party size for online reservations at six or eight guests. Based on their reports and metrics, Skinner decided to set a new standard max party size of 12. In June of 2022, this small tweak netted an additional 6,500 covers across the brand.

Many of these insights have been facilitated by Megan, an enterprise restaurant services manager, who Skinner says has been instrumental in getting the most out of all the data and reporting available in OpenTable.

“The best feature of OpenTable pro is Megan, because she’s helped us navigate the system itself. When I want to deep dive a report, or when I want to understand how to optimize our usage, Megan is there to help.”

Looking into a crystal ball

All of these insights and adjustments have had a measurable impact on how guests feel about the restaurant. Skinner and her team carefully track their service and value scores, which measure how guests perceive a restaurant. Over the past two months, she’s seen the value score rise from a B+ to an A- while the service score has improved from an A to an A+. Skinner expects both these grades will settle at an A+ in time.

“Nothing’s really changing with our food, and our prices are staying the same. The thing that’s changed is we have these insights about our guests, and we use them,” says Skinner.

Overall, she’s able to get more out of analytics than she used to. She can spot possible problems and opportunities faster. She can make crucial pivots in real time.

“It’s crazy, because we’re almost 50% bigger than before the pandemic, but I have such a better handle on the data because I’m able to look at it from this high level. It takes me so much less time than before when I was trying to figure this out without all these tools.”

Learn more about OpenTable Pro

“The best feature of OpenTable pro is Megan, because she’s helped us navigate the system itself. When I want to deep dive a report, or when I want to understand how to optimize our usage, Megan is there to help.”

Caroline Skinner, Chief Operating Officer
Tupelo Honey

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