Hospitality & Retail

BlueFox has been deployed to solve multiple challenges in the hospitality and retail industries.   Most applications of foot traffic analytics focus on operations management and include Guest Service, Food Waste, Safety, and Staffing.

Manage Better By Understanding Customer Behavior

Hospitality and retail operators deal with consumers every day, sometimes in large numbers.  The traditional solution to measuring consumer demand in many industries has relied on point-of-sale data. The fraction of shoppers that make a purchase is steady for many businesses. For example, in the grocery category, well over 90% of shoppers buy products, so point-of-sale data can easily provide an historical record of groups of shoppers.  

However, categories have much lower and much more variable numbers.  And the shopper/buyer ratio is only backward looking. It can’t tell you if your store is encountering a surge in foot traffic…now.  

BlueFox has been deployed to solve multiple challenges in the hospitality and retail industries.   

Most applications of foot traffic analytics focus on operations management and include:

Guest Service

A common application of BlueFox is to track occupancy rates at cafeteria, restaurants, retail stores, and even bars. Knowing how busy a destination is allows consumers to schedule their visits to avoid disappointment that may result from overcrowding.  

Universities and corporations with multiple on-site dining establishments use BlueFox to publish occupancy rates on a web site, so diners can check their mobile phones before choosing a place to eat.  LinkedIn, Cedarville University, and East Tennessee University are examples.  When multiple dining establishments are in close proximity, displaying occupancy or wait times at the entry helps set diner expectations.

Another “guest service” application is staffing.  When a retail store gets busy, even before a line forms at the point of sale, staff can be alerted to leave the back room and provide service to customers either as they shop, or as they move to make their purchases.

Food Waste

Sodexo, the world’s second largest food service provider, estimates that they can save 2% of food costs using the BlueFox occupancy service. Cafeterias closely track food expenses and historical consumption, but it’s hard to anticipate variabilities in consumption.

Sodexo uses BlueFox to measure dining hall occupancy in real time, giving them that added insight to help them minimize food waste and maximize freshness.  Aggregate daily traffic is useful to anticipate slow Fridays or busy Tuesdays…but real time data helps them identify days that are busier or lighter than trends suggest.

Sodexo Digital Signage Occupancy

Safety & Staffing

Overcrowding can be an issue for any establishment with limited space for customers.  Capacity limits are often set and enforced by fire marshalls, or sometimes even insurance companies.  A timely warning of overcapacity conditions can be of great value.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made overcrowding a still more clear and present danger.  Public health departments worldwide are requiring businesses to reduce capacity.  For restaurants and other businesses that require reservations, capacity is easy to manage.  Capacity tracking can be expensive; some retailers place staff at entries to count customers as they arrive in order to have an up-to-date total of store occupancy.

Retailer Ace Hardware uses BlueFox to save on staffing costs and maintain a real time count of store occupancy. Staff is needed at the entry only when occupancy exceeds a pre-established threshold, allowing staff to focus on customer service and other productive tasks.  Read the case study about Westlake Ace Hardware in Mountain View, California.