If you run a restaurant, you likely have a lot of things to manage. Staff, ordering, vendors, sales, inventory… to name a few. The fact is that a restaurant owner or manager has a long day. Keeping track mentally of all restaurant data is impossible. So what can be done to make it easier? Is it possible to track restaurant service with data?
One ignored element of operating a restaurant is using data to optimize service. In the old days, customers came in, ordered off the menu, ate, paid and left. The manager wanted to be sure the food was there, but they weren’t interested in efficiency. There is a new age of business in the world. Businesses, including restaurants, want to operate with efficiency. The easiest way to do this is to have a method of compiling, organizing and analyzing data.
The way to manage more efficiently is to know how to use incoming tallied data. Things like which server offered the biggest discounts, who served the most tables and how long did it take for tables to be opened and closed out by the servers can give you valuable information. They tell you exactly who is operating at top capacity and who might need more training. Service insight is vital information for overall restaurant management.
Data is also a way to maximize your inventory. This is a very basic example – Let’s say your chicken vendor wants to give you a 20% discount on an order of 500 chicken breasts. Without information, this may seem like a great deal. However, you have data. You review it and realize that you use 200 chicken breasts a week. To take advantage of the special would leave you with more than twice as much chicken you need for the week—taking up valuable space in your storage. Here’s where your data is invaluable—it gives you the ability perform inventory optimization.
When taken a step further and beginning to combine data points you can form more useful actions. Such as knowing which dishes bring people back and which ones make diners less likely to return. When applied correctly the sky is the limit!
You also can use that data to estimate what your customer demand will be throughout any time of the week. Forecasting the optimal tool to use when creating schedules. On top of this, you can also conglomerate all of your data to give you an immediate snapshot of sales, average guest check, and voids. Get a birds eye view of information that helps you to have an exact picture of your restaurant at any given time.
To truly understand your business and operate it efficiently and strategically, you need to have information. No matter what- information is power. It lets you project wisely and decide what is the best situation for your business. Take time to find the best resources that will bring you the most value. Having data readily available is going to be one of the most important and critical aspects of your restaurant strategy and the decision-making process.