Bars and restaurants generate a ton of data every single day. Your POS is collecting data that can be used to improve employee retention, streamline supply chain management, track inventory and ordering, and much more. Surprisingly, while 80% of restaurants have access to this helpful data, only 20% are actually putting it to use. In an extremely competitive industry, this is a huge missed opportunity. Using bar and restaurant analytics can improve every aspect of your business while also bringing in new customers. Keep reading to learn how.
How Restaurants are Using Big Data
According to a 2018 report from Restaurant Business Online, big data ranks number four out of seven of the top forces shaping businesses. It is certainly influencing the restaurant industry and allowing businesses to engage in personalized marketing, integrate new kitchen and ordering technology, gain deep insights into demographic behavior, and analyze a variety of strategies. New restaurants are using the big data to scale while established brands are using it to find new customers and maintain a firm grasp on their existing market share. Ultimately, all this data is collected and analyzed to improve efficiency and the customer experience.
How Bar and Restaurant Analytics are Benefiting the Industry
Analytics can be used to support a variety of different aspects within the restaurant industry. Here are the main areas where analytics are helping restaurants operate more efficiently:
- Customer satisfaction: Restaurant analytics are able to collect data on customer satisfaction and segment it according to broad and narrow categories. This allows you to understand customer satisfaction on a restaurant level and break it down to more specific areas within the restaurant. This is an advanced way to examine customer satisfaction and address areas for improvement.
- E-commerce: With analytics, restaurants can look at the details of customer behavior on the company website. They can track the source of traffic, conversion rates, popular dishes and items, along with average order sizes, etc. This information can be used to recommend relevant products and secure an order before the customer abandons the site.
- Compliance: It is important, especially for franchises to ensure safety and training standards across all locations. Restaurant analytics can help ensure food safety compliance, help identify talented leaders on staff, track employee training progress and provide insight into how employees are impacting the overall performance of the restaurant.
- Marketing: It is impossible to run effective marketing campaigns if you can’t track performance and see which efforts are successful and which need to be adjusted. Restaurant analytics software can gather data from a variety of sources, which can then be used to deliver personalized messaging at the perfect time and through the ideal channels.
- Sales: Real-time insights into the performance of the restaurant, certain dishes, and other products provide a valuable tool. Restaurants can respond immediately to changes and activate special offers to correct any dip in sales.
- Location: The restaurant location can have a major impact on foot traffic and sales. Analytics can help predict success based on location so that you can optimize where you open new restaurant locations.
- Menu: Restaurants tend to have a pretty good grasp on which dishes and menu items are performing well, but what if you could figure out which items sell better when paired together, or how different demographics order? Restaurant analytics can provide deep consumer purchasing trends that can be used to help shape the menu.
- Mobile app: Knowing how customers are using your mobile app can help you deliver personalized messages at just the right moment. Based on customer interactions with the app, you can encourage mobile orders.
- Personalizing: There are two groups of people who have the greatest impact on your bottom line: your regulars and at-risk customers. These are the people you want to understand on a micro level. Analytics will allow you to segment customers based on how often they visit, order amounts, taste preferences and much more. Using this information, you can encourage stragglers to visit and get your regulars in the door even more often with personalized offers and messaging.
- Operations: In the restaurant industry, efficiency is the key to success. Owners and managers need to understand wait time, labor, delivery time, cook time, and other operational metrics in order to reduce waste. Again, this kind of data is especially helpful when managing several locations or franchises.
When it comes to advanced restaurant analytics and how they can be utilized, the sky’s the limit. Daily reports are a thing of the past and real-time, segmented data is the future. Leveraging the power of data is the best way to make better decisions about every aspect of sales, marketing, and operations in order to out-perform the competition.
How to Analyze Restaurant Data
Gathering data begins with an intelligent point-of-sale (POS) system. The main purpose of a POS is to accept payments, but it also provides a way to collect information that can be used to improve every aspect of operations. Here is a quick guide on how to collect and use data:
Monitor front-of-house data
This is the best way to improve and ensure a positive customer experience. You will want to track:
- Average party size
- Average guest count (How full is the restaurant at various times?)
- Wait time (How long does it take to be seated?)
- Turnaround time (How many people can be served over a certain amount of time?)
- Seating efficiency (Is the available seating being properly utilized?)
Monitoring this data will make it easy to identify gaps in service and work towards creating more efficient workflows. Manually collecting this information can be difficult. That is why an advanced POS system is a wise investment that will provide real-time data that can make everything from improving seating efficiency to managing crowds and wait times easier.
Analyze inventory and financial numbers
Managing finances means having an understanding of how much you are spending and where and how much you are earning. Here are some key metrics to track:
- Menu sales (the number of sales per menu item)
- Operations costs (rent, payroll, utilities and other fixed costs)
- Food costs
- Number sold (How many menu sales have been made over a certain time period?)
Inventory management software can help you track all these numbers and help manage ordering so that you can boost revenue and decrease costs when possible. Look for mobile-friendly options, so that you can make changes no matter where you are.
Analyze data to better manage restaurant operations
When you can ensure that every aspect of the restaurant is running smoothly, you can see both employee and customer retention rates increase. Focus on the following areas:
- Labor scheduling – Once you understand your front-of-house metrics, you can make sure that you appropriately schedule employee shifts according to peak business times. You can avoid being understaffed during the dinner rush on Friday night.
- Inventory ordering – Over ordering food can be a major waste of funds and resources. Coming up short on ingredients will mean unhappy guests. Proper inventory management will allow you to predict needs and meet expectations.
- Order tickets – With real-time tools, you can instantly update order tickets and avoid any miscommunications that could result in incorrect orders.
As you make changes, be sure to watch what effects these have on customer behavior. You may find that better restaurant operations are generating more guests and revenue.
Analyze menu performance
Just because you have been serving cheeseburgers since opening day, it may be time to let go of this long standing item. If the numbers show that the dish isn’t selling and ingredients are going to waste, it only makes sense to pull the plug. In the long run, static menus will be bad for business. Customers may feel like you aren’t recognizing their needs and tastes. Digging into which dishes are keepers and which should be retired can help improve menus.
Analyzing ordering behavior
Be on the lookout for dishes that seem to keep being sent back to the kitchen. On that same note, track omissions and substitutions that are requested by the customer. It may turn out that you have a pairing of items that is a little off and you can make small ingredient adjustments to improve sales and keep customers happy.
Ultimately, menu optimization is key, especially with so many other restaurants out there competing for your customers’ patronage. Listen to what the data is telling you and don’t be married to the menu at the expense of customer satisfaction.
Of course, this same principle applies to your beverage menu. In fact, you can take these bar and restaurant analytics a step further for your cocktail menu by signing up for Overproof’s BarInsights platform. BarInsights transforms your raw POS data into highly valuable insights for you and your alcohol suppliers. These insight-rich reports deliver actionable data that help brands map their product’s performance on premise and in market – including item rankings, share of category sales and more.
You can’t make informed business decisions without data. Fortunately, big data and analytical technology has come a long way. No matter what you want to track, monitor or gain insight into, there is probably a way to collect this information and use it to your advantage.
How are analytics used in the restaurant industry?
Bar and restaurant analytics can be used to improve sales, marketing, mobile apps, customer satisfaction, operations, menu, e-commerce efforts, personalization, compliance, and restaurant location choices.
How do restaurants use big data?
From personalized email marketing, optimized menus, and demographic dives, big data can be used to create insightful data sets.
How do you analyze restaurant data?
Analyzing data begins with an intelligent POS system that can be used to collect all sorts of information about customer behavior and restaurant performance.
How do you analyze menu analytics?
Menu analytics can be used to identify which menu items are performing well and make decisions about which dishes should be retired. You can even look at what popular dishes have in common and try to replicate what people like in other dishes. Also, pay attention to substitutions customers make so that you can see what is working and ingredients that could perhaps be omitted.