The decisions restaurant managers make have a significant impact on their businesses. How many people will you schedule for the last daypart tomorrow? Should you change the menu? Which rewards will you offer loyal customers? The right answers mean plusses in your revenue, profit, and customer retention columns. Wrong choices lead to losses. Restaurant analytics provide you with insights to inform decisions that are the best for your business.
Navigating your business based on hard facts has never been more important than during the economic recovery period post-COVID-19. The restaurant industry experienced $130 billion in losses from March to October 2020, and now, every table turn, and every online order counts. Additionally, gauging consumer sentiment regarding their expectations for health safety as well as menu items and service is crucial at this time.
Restaurant Analytics Provide Insights
With restaurant analytics, you’ll have the facts you need to operate profitably and deliver the experiences that your customers demand. Valuable insights from analytics include:
1Proof that Menu Items Sell—and Are Profitable
Restaurant managers may be convinced they’re making the right decisions based on observations or intuition, but data may tell another story. Decreasing amounts of ingredients may be related to waste rather than meals delivered to customers, and an in-demand menu item during one manager’s shifts may never be ordered during the remainder of the week. Data will show, indisputably, how stock is used, what’s selling and what’s not.
Additionally, a point of sale (POS) system with robust inventory management can provide data that will show which menu items are the most profitable, which should be sold at a higher price, and which should be removed from the menu seasonally – or forever.
2A 360-Degree View of Your Customers
The data you collect will enable you to build a detailed picture of your customer base. Demographics are just one aspect of what you can learn about your customers – possibly from the information they provide when they join your loyalty program. However, when you align that data with the times of day or week when they’re most likely to dine in your restaurant, what different segments of your customer base purchase, and which promotions they’re most likely to respond to, you begin to understand them better – and how to capture their attention and win their business. Insights from data analysis will help you upsell more effectively, craft marketing campaigns that resonate with your customers or specific segments of your customer list and improve marketing ROI.
3Evidence of Who Should Be Working on Friday Night
Labor rivals food as a restaurant’s highest expense, and controlling that cost is key to running a successful business. However, restaurant managers need to find the balance between having enough staff to operate efficiently and provide the level of service that customers expect and not overstaffing and paying for labor that isn’t necessary.
Restaurant analytics leverage historical data to help managers understand the busiest times when more labor is required and slower times when a smaller staff is adequate.
Data analysis can also provide the facts about each employee’s performance so that managers can schedule their best team members at peak times.
What Don’t You Know?
Restaurant operations are fast-paced, and managers continually make on-the-spot decisions. You may be concerned that data analysis would slow things down—but it won’t. Depending on the technology you use, you may even be able to access insights from your smartphone before you make a call on ordering, staffing, or an operational change—you can have the power of data in the palm of your hand.
Back up the next decision you make with insights based on data from your POS system and restaurant analytics.