With the newest restaurant technology systems, customer data is gathered with every credit card swipe. Restaurant analytics and data for your operations can be found in the restaurant management software and systems you use to run your business. Depending on what you are using, you may have to compile and organize the data on your own or it could be ready and waiting for you to use.
Below are six ways you can improve operations, elevate the guest experience, and increase profits at your restaurant by utilizing data you already have.
1. Manage Staff Performance and Turnover
Staff turnover is one of the biggest frustrations we hear from restaurant owners. It’s something that will always be an issue in this industry, but using data analytics can help you reduce, manage, and prepare for it.
The right analytics will show you who your top servers are and who is under-performing. Do you have a server who is consistently outselling the others by leaps and bounds? Pair them with staff members who seem to be struggling for extra training time. Not only will they sell more product and increase your bottom line, but also they’ll start to see their tip averages increase as well. When you set everyone up for success, it reduces staff frustrations that often lead to turnover.
2. Reduce Discounts and Comps
Does it seem like comps and discounts are higher when you’re not in the building, or when a particular staff person is working? Using data analytics you can see who is voiding or discounting items, how much money they are comping, and how often they’re doing it. Whether it’s theft, careless mistakes, or a dish not being executed up to standards, data analytics will help you understand where the problem is so you can fix it.
3. Improve the Guest Experience
You can know who your best customers are by looking into your analytics and seeing how often they visit. Pairing them with your top servers will ensure the best experience possible and that they’ll continue to come back again and again.
In addition to their number of visits, you can also see a guest’s favorite menu items and reservation history, so you can anticipate needs or wants. Do your VIPs always order a glass of chardonnay as their first drink? Have it ready and waiting for them before the table is sat. That extra attention to detail shows you appreciate their loyalty, plus it helps turn them into advocates (that’s free word-of-mouth advertising) for your restaurant.
4. Create a Smarter Menu
If you didn’t have restaurant analytics to look back on, you would probably think your best-selling item is the most profitable—but that may not be accurate. Do you sell hundreds of grilled chicken sandwiches to guests, only to never see them again? It may be time to ‘86 it from your menu.
On the flip side, it is possible that one of your lower-selling items may have some untapped potential. Your restaurant analytics will be able to tell you if one of these items creates a higher-than-average percent of return guests. Highlighting this item on the menu, training servers to promote it, or updating its name or description could help you sell more and create more repeat visitors.
5. Reduce Food Waste
With an automated inventory solution that connects to the menu in your POS, items are automatically deducted from your inventory management system, even across multiple locations or from a central kitchen. In addition to being a major convenience, it can help you spot excessive waste or theft, so you can get to the root of the problem sooner. As an added bonus, an integrated inventory system can save you as much as 30-50 hours a month!
6. Improve Your Restaurant Marketing
One of your most powerful tools for filling seats is strong digital marketing—and when you are able to see the successes and losses of campaigns or tailor them to individual preferences, that makes them even stronger.
Whether it’s a weekly Taco Tuesday special, or something more temporary, like a Mother’s Day prix fixe menu, tracking a campaign within your POS analytics will let you compare sales data to see if your efforts are bringing in more business or are just a waste of time. If it’s the latter, you can then change your strategy to something more profitable.
And remember, marketing efforts don’t stop when a guest walks in the door. Use your analytics to delight VIP guests with a complimentary glass of their favorite wine or a free dessert. Simple gestures like remembering someone’s name or what dish they enjoy most go a long way too.