Quantified Plate: Swipely updates tie sales with waiter performance and online reviews

Every time you swipe your credit card at a restaurant, you aren’t just simply paying for your meal. Each transaction has information behind it: Who you are, what you ordered, and how often you eat there.

Swipely’s newest product update, launching today, puts this information to work for local businesses hoping to better understand their customers.

“It’s a record of everyone who comes in, including the favorite dishes that customers come back for,” said Angus Davis, founder of Swipely.

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Swipely has been helping local, small merchants for years by processing credit card payments and turning them into actionable data. But the new update has features specifically catering to the hospitality industry, where Swipely was finding the most customer traction.

The first feature is menu intelligence. This will tell restaurants managers and owners what menu item is the most ordered and which is least liked.

Merchants are able to log onto Swipely and see daily, weekly, or monthly reports of their customers, according to Davis.

Andy Husbands, chef and owner of Tremont 647 in the South End, said this feature is important.

“The more you know about your business, the better you do,” he said.

Husbands has been using the new Swipely features for months as part of a beta group.

The updated reports will even pull in online reviews that mention the particular item, pairing hard sales data with qualitative customer opinions straight from the source.

“It’s important to know what customers are saying about you, good or bad,” Husbands said.

The second new Swipely feature Husbands uses is server performance, which tells business owners the top servers based on sales. Davis said if a server is not performing well, Swipely can see which product they are struggling with. Then management can work on the employee’s technique.

Davis said the cost to the customer scales based on the size of the business.

Swipely is designed to give small business owners the same powers that national franchises already have on a budget they can afford.

“We help companies that don’t have the resources like McDonalds, but want to benefit from technology to better understand their customers,” Davis said.

Davis’ company, which he started in 2009 in Rhode Island, is now helping over a thousand restaurants and hospitality businesses across the country, including businesses in Boston.

He said he wants his company to help local merchants better understand their customers and service them better.

“Go into a restaurant like Cheers, and everyone knows your name, and you feel welcomed there,” Davis said. “We are making customers feel special, and helping restaurants and bars do a better job remembering what they like to eat and drink.