If you are a restaurant owner, you have to ensure that everything is running smoothly. From customer satisfaction to running on a tight schedule and creating a friendly but efficient work environment, you can find it difficult to organize your restaurant data. At the same time, you may have a hard time implementing the ever-rising changes across many restaurants.
In this ever-changing world, businesses cannot thrive without analyzing their own data. Business data plays a critical role in helping business owners draw conclusions, adjust their budgets, and make crucial changes based on their data analysis. So, as a restaurant owner, you should consider analyzing your business data if you truly want to succeed.
The availability of cutting-edge technologies makes it easier to collect, keep and handle your restaurant data. These technologies enable you to make sense of your restaurant data and use it to your advantage. Read through this helpful guide to understand how you can organize these important metrics.
Here is what you will need to do:
- Start with a comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) system
- Track and keep individual customer data
- Monitor your front of the house (FOH) data consistently
- Analyze both inventory and financial data
- Make good use of data to improve management
Your understanding of this data and how to organize it can enable you to make a lot of positive changes in your restaurant business. These changes will certainly boost your employee and customer satisfaction, thus increasing your revenues.
1. Start with a Comprehensive Point of Sale (POS) System
You need to look for an online order management system before you can start gathering data. This system serves several functions such as accepting payments and collecting important information needed to better understand your business trend. However, before you spend a coin on a brand new online order management system, you need to ask yourself some questions about its functionality and features.
Here are the possible questions:
Is the online order management system mobile?
Unlike the traditional legacy system, the latest online order management system is mobile and flexible. This new version of the POS system allows for more mobility throughout the restaurant. The new mobile systems enable you to use several devices to accept payments or track every order made by customers.
Can your new online order management system collect the desired data?
Online order management systems are designed to enable you to accept payments and perform other analytics. The system can track key performance indicators that play a significant role in your business growth strategy. Most importantly, the system can clearly display data for you to understand every detail well.
Is the online order management system secure?
Your restaurant data should be secure and well protected to be considered useful. That is why it is recommended to invest in a platform that comes complete with security features to safeguard your data throughout. Most of these platforms have EMV chip reader technology to make card payment a reality. This tech allows your business to operate without any concerns about data breaches.
2. Track and Keep Individual Customer Data
You need customer data to help you organize and manage your restaurant business accordingly. This information is usually straightforward and easy to collect. Make sure to look out for the following customers’ information when collecting data:
- Names of your customers for easy recognition when they come back to the restaurant
- Contacts including phone numbers and email addresses
- Home or office addresses to send them restaurant updates and coupons
- Birthdays to help customers celebrate by rewarding them a free meal
- Favorite dishes for personalized recommendations
Even though the information listed above may not be necessary, just know it is a better way to know your regular customers. This is because customers are the main reason why you are running your business. They are important such that they help you earn some revenue and expand your business.
How to Organize Data
Once you have collected this data, you need to find a way to organize it. Bear in mind that some online order management systems are incapable of keeping data outside a certain transaction.
Therefore, you should not assume that your online management system will automatically keep the collected data. So, you should always double-check to be sure that the system preserves data beforehand. Alternatively, you can invest in third-party database technology to keep your customers’ data safe.
Create your customers’ profiles to make it easy for them to update their information online. This is important especially when some customers relocate to new places. Such customers will automatically update their new addresses in their profiles to keep in touch with you. This piece of information is necessary since it will help strengthen customer relationships and encourage them to come back to your establishment.
3. Monitor Your Front of the House (FOH) Data Consistently
Your front-of-the-house or FOH data is also important as far as running your restaurant is concerned. This particular data is always about the customer experience every time they visit your business.
Given that you know most of your loyal customers, you may also want to ensure that each one of them has the best experience every time they visit your restaurant. For that reason, you need to take a while from your busy schedule to assess your front-of-the-house staff efficiency when serving customers.
In this case, you should consider keeping track of the following:
- Wait time for a particular party size to get seated
- The turnaround time to determine the number of parties to be served at a given period
- Average party size to know the number of customers attending that function
- Average guest count to provide an estimated number of customers at a particular timeframe
- Seating efficiency to assess how the available space in the restaurant is used up
By closely monitoring this data, you can accurately pinpoint the emerging gaps in your existing guest management strategy. This information allows you to come up with a more efficient and effective workflow all-around.
How to Organize Data
You may need technology to figure out all the above-mentioned metrics. In particular, you will need an automated system designed to calculate the wait time of your FOH based on historical data and current table statuses among other things. The system will help you quickly and efficiently implement these analytics while handling day-to-day guest operations at your restaurant.
In this regard, an intuitive online order management system may come in handy to make your work easier. The system will definitely store and organize your FOH data in a simpler way that meets your needs.
With this new online order management system in place, your hosts and hostesses will be in a better position to immediately access data reading, seating efficiency, and wait times. As a result, these FOHs will instantly pass the wait information to arriving customers in addition to making sure that the dining area is well occupied.
4. Analyze Both the Inventory and Financial Data
To know the progress of your restaurant business, you must have up-to-date inventory and financial data. In particular, your financial data will relay information about your expenditure, earnings, and how you use the inventory.
Through the inventory and financial data, your restaurant will be able to make the most out of its resources. Plus, these two documents will enable you to check your expenses to cut down on unnecessary spending.
To achieve these goals, you will have to manage the following key metrics:
- Payroll and utilities: They refer to recurring operational costs such as utilities, rent, payroll, and menu item sales (the total number of menu items sold)
- Food cost: The amount of cash spend on particular dishes or ingredients
- Total food cost: How much you are spending on food. The amount is calculated by multiplying the number sold and individual food items.
- Total menu sales: This is the amount of revenue generated on food.
- Number sold: The total number of menu items sold at a given time.
You should know the exact amount of cash that you spend to run your restaurant and how much revenue it generates. This way, you will easily find out if your business is profitable or making losses.
Tracking these changes plays a significant role in making budget adjustments to optimize your menu-by-menu-item and boost your revenue. Apart from that, keeping your financial data well-updated can save you and your team of workers hours of accounting. It will also take way your worrying about your restaurant business struggling to stay afloat.
How to Organize Data
The best way to track all these metrics is to use the latest technology rather than doing it by hand. Take advantage of the inventory management software to manage your business inventory, prices, and reordering of new items among other activities.
Restaurant-specific software can also play an integral role in keeping other important information regarding your staff scheduling, their payroll, and many other expenses. Use a mobile system to track all information anytime, anywhere.
The tracking can help you make several adjustments even in the comfort of your home without necessarily being at the restaurant. Organizing your data in this manner will give you a clear insight into the financial progress that your business is making.
5. Make Good Use of Data to Improve Management
Since you have already optimized your customer and employee experience, the next task is to manage your restaurant using these metrics. Through the metrics, you will ensure that everything at your restaurant is running smoothly.
When this happens, you can be sure of higher employee and customer retention rates. That is because collected data of your restaurant can easily influence your business management style and improve your operations.
You can achieve this feat by implementing changes in the following areas:
- Shifting scheduling by analyzing your FOH metrics
- Inventory ordering based on what should be ordered and when you should place the order.
- Order tickets using the most appropriate online order management system
The above three examples are some of the smart changes you may consider making based on the collected data. So, what data you collect, how you organize it, and where you apply it is entirely your decision.
All you need to do is to monitor the growth of your restaurant business over a given period while taking note of the changes you may have made along the way and why you made them. In no time you will start seeing a lot of improvement in your daily operations. This tremendous improvement will probably attract new customers and increase your revenues.
Having well-organized restaurant data can give you an insight into how you are running your business. The data will help you pinpoint areas that need improvement, especially if you use an online order management system to offer secure management of the metrics discussed above.