With the advent of technology, more and more restaurant owners are gaining access to valuable real-time data via restaurant management systems. These data can give restaurant owners insight into every aspect of their operations and help them understand their business patterns and evaluate their business success.

However, most restaurant owners do not know how and where to start when it comes to implementing data-driven strategies to optimize their operational efficiency and improve sales. In this post, you will learn how to get started with a data-driven strategy and how to optimize your restaurant operations with Data and Insights.

What Are Data and Insight?

In recent times, margins have become so thin, maintaining top-line is difficult and operations are becoming challenging. Increased competition also plays a big part in impacting your top line. One thing is to set up a standard or world-class restaurant, and another thing is to optimize your restaurant operations with data and insight to maximize profit. As they say, ‘top line is vanity, bottom line is sanity’. 

It would be best to remember that many other restaurants offer similar products and services you offer. However, your objective is to gain the upper hand so that yours will be more preferred to others.

It is a fact that restaurants often run on low profit margins due to inefficient back of house implementation. Most restaurateurs tend to ignore this aspect as they feel it is not their first priority. However, focussing on inventory and back of house will definitely improve the possibility of increased profit margin.

Data refers to the volumes and gigabytes of information collected by your software – Sales, purchases, suppliers, customers, stock value, tables occupied, etc. 

Data of financial planning with sales analysis and operations are vital instruments in operating your restaurant.

Apart from data, insight also plays a crucial role to gain an accurate and deep understanding of restaurant operations. After all, any data is useless unless you know what to look for and how often. 

For e.g. taking a sales report and just looking at top sellers or bottom sellers wouldn’t suffice. You need to know if those top sellers are high on margins. Is there a pattern to the bottom sellers list? Are they appearing consistently for the last 2-3 months?  

Restaurants gather in-depth guest data and most use a booking software or table reservation software to gather and analyse customer information. Gathering in-depth guest data will help you understand who your customers are and why they visit you. 

Ideally you need to collect and keep customers’ details, contact address, preferences, allergies, complaints about services, and feedback. 

You would agree that margins are low, and profit-making seems to be a little difficult in restaurant operations. However, optimizing your restaurant operations with data and insights would help you utilize your resources and maximize your revenue.

There are two significant approaches of gathering data from your business. These are:

  • Internal Data: This consists of the inventory, staff members, previous customers’ satisfaction reviews, and POS.
  • External Data: Here, we are concerned with social media reviews, traffic, and other third-party content.

Let us see how data management and insight optimizes your restaurant operations.

TIPS FOR OPTIMIZING YOUR RESTAURANT OPERATIONS WITH DATA AND INSIGHTS

DATA-DRIVEN INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: It would be best if you kept tracking food costs as this helps your restaurant have a precise estimate of future costs on inventory. To shove more cost-effective items, keeping track of profit margins is essential. If you keep accurate inventory data, it will assist you in evaluating your most profitable and best-selling menu items to set your priority right. The use of digital inventory controls and menu mixes is a crucial factor in optimizing your restaurant operations with data and insight.

DATA-DRIVEN MENU ENGINEERING: Do you agree with me that your menu is the heart of your business? Your sales report, cost, and price of your meal are great tools needed to access and update your menu. Engineering your menu with insights will help you discover the right balance between trending new dishes and familiar favorite dishes. 

Low margin or slow-moving items might be a significant challenge for your restaurant. However, engineering your menu through data assessment and evaluation to determine the items you ought to keep each quarter will go a long way in ensuring your dishes are attractive for the customers.

DATA-DRIVEN CUSTOMER PROFILES: If you gather and keep your customers’ data, you will be able to identify trends and group your customers to various segments. Booking system data is an essential system for identifying your customers. Building relationships and keeping the profile of your customers will help you plan for the future of your business. How will you establish that connection? You obtain their data (Both general and specific information) and get to know them. Keeping your customers’ data gives a high likelihood of coming back to re-order. Their Name, Address, E-mail, Birthday, Food preferences, Best times to visit are basic information needed.

DATA-DRIVEN REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: An online reputation is a powerful system that showcases a wide range of feedback from different places and various social media channels. Paying attention to online reviews will help you understand consumers’ preferences. The average number of followers, average reach, direct comments and engagement rate are the data points you have to place on your watch list. It is because social media presence is a potent tool in getting feedback from customers and followers. At the end of the day they spend a significant part of the day relating with other people on social media.

DATA-DRIVEN ORDER AND SALES MANAGEMENT: Data-driven order and sales management will help in improving order accuracy. The data you have with you will help you predict what meal your customers will order at a particular time of the day. Tracking inventory and sales will help you know the items to stock up based on customer demand.

DATA-DRIVEN INVITATION AND RESERVATION: When you take a deep dive into the data, and you recognize your off-peak times, you can use a digital invitation to come and try the new menu at your restaurant. Tell them you are doing that to show them gratitude for their loyalty to your business through various social media channels, as this sounds to be a perfect tactic.

Setting up a reservation deposit for existing customers to fill up the table through special offers will also make them talk about your restaurant. These tactics could lead to the inflow of new diners as well as keep your data and predictions accurate.

DATA-DRIVEN LOYALTY PROGRAM:   Loyalty program strategy is used to reward your customers based on their visit frequency and to collect their data to serve them in a better way. Setting up a data-driven loyalty program will help your employees to understand regular customers’ preferences. Loyalty card integrated with your sales and order management system will help you to gather data and insights faster and smoother than before.

STRONG DATA SYSTEMS:  Finally, a robust restaurant data management system will help you not only to optimize your restaurant operations with data but also get you daily or weekly system-generated insights and recommendations. 

CONCLUSION
If you’re ready to see how restaurant analytics can improve your revenue, it’s time to piece all the data together! For the ambitious, revenue-driven restaurateur, investments in the right tools are necessary to extract meaningful insights. Regardless where your restaurant is located, your niche and your seasonality trends data and insights will act as powerful and trustworthy weapons to make your fight in the market more predictable.

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