Operating a restaurant used to be a guessing game based on experience and intuition. A restaurateur would put food on the menu and hope the customers would enjoy it. He or she would schedule staff and hope it was not too many people or, worst case scenario, not enough. The guessing days are over. With increased competition, new restaurants, and rising costs, a restaurant owner or manager cannot afford to be guessing.
Business intelligence (BI) provides facts to help solve problems and minimize business and financial risks. Using BI, any information collected can be used to identify trends, gain customer insight, and reduce costs.
There are a lot of different aspects to running a restaurant. To name a few, a restaurateur has to keep track of food and beverage costs, labor costs, recipes, meal preparations, inventory, staffing schedules, table turnovers, and customer interactions. You also have to keep track of the back of the house. Have the air filters been changed? Have the water filters been changed? When is the next inspection? These are things big data analyzes for you and reports to you.
A well-executed restaurant BI tool will give users a detailed look at their entire business from top to bottom. Rather than clicking through multiple tabs on a spreadsheet or digging through ten reports to get an overall view of your restaurant, BI dashboards and reports can aggregate the data you need quickly. The faster you are able to access the information you need, the better you can manage, control, and improve your restaurant.
With BI analyzation, you can be made aware of peak times, peak seasons, and even labor efficiency. If you usually staff 50 people on a Monday, but BI showed you only needed 30 staff members, you save by not paying 20 people for just standing around. Likewise, if you only scheduled 30 people, but needed 50, you can lose money from customers leaving because they had to wait too long. With BI in your corner, you will know what you need, when you need it – in real time.
With data provided by the kitchen staff and suppliers, managing inventory and recipes have never been easier. This gives you better control of quality and costs and ensures consistency.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of BI software in a restaurateur is the knowledge that customers are happy. To an exact precision, BI can pinpoint the menu items customers liked or disliked, if food quality and service met customers’ expectations, and whether or not customers are interested in receiving promotional or special offers. BI gives owners and managers real-time visibility to address issues immediately – before a customer can post a bad review about your restaurant online.
The Bottom Line
There are endless possibilities to the data that BI can analyze. It can even tell you what two items were sold together the most at any given time. This information is huge to a promotional campaign or a weeknight special. Anything you want to analyze can be analyzed quickly and effectively. Any restaurant owner still playing the guessing game is likely losing time and money.