Introduction to Restaurant Data
Restaurants that leverage their data are able to gain valuable insights regarding their performance and consumer base. This knowledge can put an eatery one step ahead of its competitors who do not perform data analytics.
With restaurant data, owners and management teams can cultivate a unique dining experience. Effectively utilizing measurable information will also help improve overall restaurant management and marketing.
Where to Find Restaurant Data
Restaurants generally use software systems and platforms to input orders and process customer payments. These applications store a trove of data that restaurant owners can extract and analyze.
However, depending on the solutions that the business is using, the data collection process may have to be manually done. Restaurants can streamline this process by using a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system. These tools can complete purchases on any Internet-enabled device and will automatically compile data for every transaction.
In order for the gathered data to be meaningful, management teams must effectively interpret it. To do so, they should first define their goals for the data analytics process. The following are questions restaurant owners should consider answering with their data.
- Where will the business be in the next 5, 10, and 20 years?
- Are there any pending processes or programs, like marketing promotions and specials, that the restaurant plans to implement? How can the restaurant begin carrying out these projects?
- What issues are obstructing the business's growth and operation? How should the restaurant address these problems?
- What can the restaurant do to improve customers' dining experiences, loyalty, and referrals?
How to Use Restaurant Data to Improve Customer Experience
Restaurant management teams can gain constructive information from data. The following are key ways that restaurant data can be used to enhance customer experiences.
Personalized Customer Service
Many modern POS software will collect customer's information, like their most purchased item, preferred dining locations, and average check sizes. Eateries can use these insights to customize and tailor their dining experience according to the specific customer's habits. Personalized services will boost consumer satisfaction and loyalty, and will increase the chances that they recommend the restaurant to others.
Digital Loyalty Programs
Compared to traditional loyalty cards that are signed or punched, a digital program is much more convenient and modern. These programs can typically be integrated into a POS system. Therefore, restaurant owners can gain further information about customer preferences and how often they make purchases. They can also use this data to make tailored rewards for diners.
Online Reservation Systems
Online reservation systems enable guests to book a table and put in special requests early. The POS platform will store this information and ensure restaurant staff is prepared to serve these diners.
How to Use Restaurant Data to Develop a Better Menu
Menus are a key component to attracting customers to a restaurant. These catalogs and their design will give diners an idea of what environment and kinds of food they should expect from the eatery. To effectively develop a menu that reflects the brand and boosts sales, executives need to refer to restaurant data.
Identify Profitable Dishes
With big data, businesses can pinpoint which items that have a high-profit margin or have a high rate of repeat customers. These dishes should be highlighted on the menu to drive people to order them more.
Examine Popular Items
Although an item may be popular, it may not generate returning customers. Teams should review how well their dishes are selling and determine if any adjustments need to be made to the recipe.
Promote Specific Categories
Restaurants can sometimes experience fewer sales for their drinks, appetizers, and desserts. They should identify which menu category needs more promotion and create specials, like half-off desserts at a specific hour.
Optimize Inventory Management
By understanding which menu items are popular, restaurants can properly replenish their inventory levels and prevent stock-outs. The latest POS platforms can be integrated with inventory management software. Therefore, when items from the menu are purchased, the stock quantities are automatically deducted from the system. Managers can then have real-time information and make purchase orders to keep inventory at an optimal level.
How to Use Restaurant Data to Improve Server Success and Management
Restaurant data can also be used to improve server performance and management. The following are ways in which owners can leverage data for employee success.
Enhance Server Training
Restaurant data can highlight which server is generating more revenue during a given period. Managers can utilize this to develop training programs to help improve a server's abilities. They can also use these metrics to pair specific restaurant staff to work together and build on each other's strengths.
Minimize Employee Turnover
Management teams can look at their employee data to understand what they can do to improve performance and encourage growth. If a staff member is making progress, managers should reward them for their progression. This will make employees feel cared for and appreciated, which will subsequently reduce turnover.
How to Use Restaurant Data to Improve Marketing Campaigns
Lastly, data is useful for assessing marketing endeavors and identifying the success of promotional campaigns. The following are ways data can be employed to improve a restaurant's marketing department.
Track Marketing Campaign Progress
A point-of-sale system will collect key information that shows whether a menu special, promotion, or event was successful. For example, if a restaurant business launched its first happy hour special, managers can look at their POS data to see how many customers participated. They can then decide if the event was profitable, if beverage prices need to be adjusted, or if they should run the special regularly.
Manage Restaurant Reputation
In today's digital world, a restaurant's reputation is often dictated by online reviews and feedback. Businesses can collect these insights to identify trends in commentary and improve their marketing tactics accordingly. This helps managers stay on top of their reputation management and brand enhancement.
Restaurant data is generated in many different forms, from the number of dishes sold to customer reviews. Utilizing this information will help restaurateurs grow their businesses and meet expectations.