Here is a little industry secret. The restaurants and bars in St. Louis that are killing it are the ones who have learned how to harness the power of big data. Sitting on your server right now is a wealth of information that you can use to help in your restaurant operations on a daily basis.
Everything from who to schedule when to how much food to order can be determined when you analyze historical data from your point of sale system. There are three main areas pro restauranteurs apply restaurant data that you should be copying.
FOH and BOH Efficiency
In order to control costs, you must first be able to understand how much you are spending. It sounds like a basic business principal but sometimes it’s easy to overlook the obvious. The restaurant data you have access to is almost limitless when it comes to efficiency. Some key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor for the hospitality industry are:
- Table turn times
- Ticket times
- Labor costs
- Items sold
- Beverage and food costs
- Product mix
- Voids and comps
- Food and beverage sales
Tracking these areas is the first step to pinpointing areas of concern, improving the numbers, and ultimately increasing efficiency. If you discover your average table turn time is 55 minutes — great if you are a fine dining establishment, abysmal if you are a quick service eatery — you can decide if you need to implement strategies to improve it or if it’s exactly on point.
Anticipating Customer Preferences
Determining what your most popular menu items are is as simple as running a point of sale report. So, are you using that information to make menu decisions and cutting items that cost too much to make? Once you find out what your customers are spending money on, you can begin to cater to their preferences, thereby turning them into happy customers and more importantly, loyal customers.
Forecasting Future Trends
You would be surprised at how many general managers and owners guess and go with their gut when making decisions pertaining to ordering or scheduling. Using historical data to forecast the future will help you decide how many cooks to schedule on a slow Monday night or how many kegs of beer to order for the upcoming busy holiday weekend.
Get a Handle on Your Restaurant Data
Albeit managing data can become a full-time endeavor if you don’t have the right tools. A point of sale (POS) system that pulls all the data together for you is invaluable in this day and age. You don’t need IBM’s Watson to analyze the data, you just need to make it a priority. Getting a grasp on it will put you in league with the pros in the industry and benefit you in ways you may not have realized possible, like cutting down on costs and increasing sales.