Sense360 – Mobile-Sensing Fast Food Location Tracking Technology?


Sense360 is a startup company that just raised $7 million to track customers in fast food restaurants. Find out everything you need to know about Sense360 today in our review.

What is Sense360?

Sense360 is a unique platform that physically tracks customer locations in retail spaces.

That may sound creepy and futuristic, but similar technology has been used since 2013. Companies use a cell phone’s location combined with video monitoring to track customer movements around the store. They’re using this data to try to stay relevant in an age where online shopping reigns supreme.

Sense360 targets one specific corner of the brick-and-mortar world: fast food restaurants. The Los Angeles-based startup has its customer tracking technology installed in nearly 20,000 fast food locations.

That early success has attracted the attention of several big name investors. Firstmark, Qualcomm Ventures, and Upfront Ventures contributed to the company’s $7 million first round of financing. Sense360 has also put together an advisory board with industry heavyweights like Joel Aach (former vice president at Darden restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden) and Huw Griffiths (the global chief product officer at the marketing firm Universal McCann).

$7 million is an impressive total. However, Sense360’s competitors include firms like BirdEye, which raised $25 million in February. They’re building off the success of other similar startups like ShopperTrak, Retail Next, and Prism Skylabs, among others.

How Does Sense360 Work?

Sense360 uses mobile sensing technologies to track customers. It uses this technology to track customer location and collect survey data. This data is used to determine what’s working – and what isn’t working – at fast food restaurants across the country.

Those mobile sensing technologies come from existing apps. Essentially, Sense360 implements tracking technology into existing apps, allowing companies to track customers and their behavior without having a significant impact on battery life.

That technology has always been there – but it’s always been too draining on battery life. If someone notices the McDonald’s app is constantly draining half their battery, for example, then they’re going to uninstall that app.

One key advantage with Sense360 is that it has a minimal impact on battery life. This makes it an attractive option for companies who want to track customers with minimal hassle.

Another thing that makes Sense360 different is how it works with apps:

“We only work with apps that have a legitimate reason to collect location data and all participating apps must get user consent to acquire and share the location data,” explains Sense360 chief executive Eli Portnoy in a recent interview with Techcrunch. “In fact, we intentionally obscure sensitive data like wifi access points so that we cannot access that information, ensuring added privacy.”

These procedures were implemented after there was a pushback from consumers and the industry. Other invasive retail tracking software led to the technology getting banned in several high-end retail outlets.

Where Will Sense360 Be Used?

Sense360 is best-known for being used in fast food restaurants. However, the company’s platform can – and has been – implemented at a growing number of retail locations. Here are some of the industries mentioned on the official Sense360 website:

  • Restaurant & Foodservice
  • Retail
  • Convenience Stores
  • Supermarkets
  • Hospitality Services
  • Automotive

What Kind of Data Does Sense360 Track?

Here is some of the data collected by Sense360 at 20,000 fast food restaurants across the country:

  • Market Share
  • Loyalty
  • Head to Head
  • Origination Point
  • New vs. Returning Customers
  • Brand Draw
  • Visits by Hour
  • Distance Traveled
  • Frequency & Frequency Bands
  • Customer Overlap
  • Visits by Day
  • Distance from Home

Sense360’s Actionable Data and Reports

All of the metrics collected above are used to create actionable information about the fast food restaurant (or other businesses). Sense360’s customers gain access to things like:

Management Scorecard and Benchmarking: Track key metrics by DMA, by custom region, or by meal-time to see how you’re stacking up against top competitors in the fast food world.

Diagnose Strengths and Weaknesses: Sense360 can help restaurants determine why a region, a meal-time, or a set of locations are under-performing. To do this, Sense360 looks at their traffic composition, competitive set, and the industry in general.

Discover Growth Opportunities: Sense360 explores where customers are from and identifies gaps in the market that a fast food restaurant can take advantage of – including day-parts that are underserved, specific demographics that are underserved, and up-and-coming trends.

Develop Localized Marketing Plans: Sense360 identifies the most efficient focus areas for each region’s marketing, helping you assess the competitive set, drill-down on demographics, and drive smarter, more optimized marketing campaigns.

Competitive Intelligence: Sense360 will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors “by giving you access to detailed data about everyone of the top 130 QSR brands allowing you to keep your eye on your current competitors and track emerging ones”.

All of this data is accessed through an interactive dashboard. Sense360 customers also have a dedicated analyst to help them make sense of that data.

How to Sign up for Sense360

You can join Sense360 by requesting a free custom analysis using the online form here.

Stay tuned for more information about Sense360 and the company’s unique technology as it continues to grow!

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