P.F. Chang’s Dishes Up A Digital-First Data Strategy

While P.F. Chang’s first order of business is stir-fry, it’s also cooking up a fresh data strategy to support its new brand push.

As the owner of 212 Asian-themed concept restaurants around the globe, P.F. Chang’s strategy – and its custom-built technology stack – once primarily catered to the dine-in audience.

“As takeout and third-party delivery with Grubhub and Amazon emerged, we had to build a technology stack to support and leverage digital, as our reach there has grown,” said Brian Best, director of interactive engagement at P.F. Chang’s. “The company has made a significant investment in digital, where we are redoing our ecommerce, CRM and engagement platforms.”

Although P.F. Chang’s doesn’t have a mobile app yet (or in-app ordering, for that matter), a big part of its digital reboot involves getting its customer data operation in order, just in case it does.

The company has struck a deal with Gigya to manage all of its social authentication information and log-in data. The restaurant chain will use Gigya to create a single Amazon-style sign-in across all of its online portals.

When registering for P.F. Chang’s Preferred Rewards Program, for instance, Gigya prompts a user to register for an account or log in with their email address or Facebook credentials.

Gigya then stores data about customer preferences, such as how often a guest visits a store or when they lapsed, to help personalize offers or to inform win-back campaigns.

Because Gigya connects anonymized identity data to several other systems, such as email, CRM platforms and DMPs, a brand like P.F. Chang’s can link information about known and unknown customers to bridge the gap between its retention and acquisition strategies.

“You never move out of acquisition if you’re always retargeting or chasing the same person around, using cookies or [only using] data marketplaces,” said Jason Rose, the CMO of Gigya. “Whereas if you know someone came into P.F. Chang’s today and they’re a preferred member, you might know they have a preference for wok-fried filet mignon and can offer them a special on a red wine pairing.”

New user acquisition and loyalty and retention are important practices for P.F. Chang’s. To keep up in a competitive environment, Best said, the brand is always “shooting to grab more market share, while also reactivating our last guest.”

“While we have a substantial database built on our loyalty program, we have a group of individuals larger than our loyalty business who have simply transacted with us once,” Best said. “We’re using every digital touchpoint to acquire customers, and Gigya will allow us to do progressive profiling to make the experience even better.”

Another big focus for P.F. Chang’s is combining brand-building and customer acquisition. For instance, a new brand push called Farm to Wok highlights how the restaurant brand works with local purveyors through a series of digital and offline sweepstakes.

This digital engagement campaign includes branding tactics, such as original video content about how P.F. Chang’s sources its vegetables and acquisition efforts like providing real-time entry into sweepstakes for every email signup.

Although P.F. Chang’s hadn’t historically been a digital-first organization, now it’s almost 100% digital from a media investment perspective.

“We don’t buy TV, radio or print, whereas normally, companies have this competitive divide between digital and traditional media,” Best said. “Through the vision of our CMO, digital and social is very much the arena we’re playing in.”

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