A recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) report declares “data is king” when it comes to keeping pace with change and innovation in the food industry. With the competition for guests getting fiercer, analyzing reports and metrics associated with operations is becoming integral to the restaurant operator’s role.
Data Feeds the Food Business
Without comprehensive analytics, restaurants are less likely to have the right inventory or appropriate staffing levels needed to streamline back-of-house operations and deliver exceptional customer experience. In a world where Dunkin’ enthusiasts can ask Google to order a dozen donuts – customized, boxed and ready in the drive-thru lane – it’s time to consider how your restaurant will compete in an era of increased personalization driven by data analytics and automation.
These technologies can enable your restaurant to:
- Digest customer demographics – Better understand, reach and keep the pulse on your target customer base to quickly adapt to their changing needs.
- Personalize the guest experience – Personalize the customer experience to deliver world-class service to tech-savvy customers, who have come to expect you to know their preferences, dislikes (hold the onion), past orders, allergies and so forth – at every touchpoint.
- Create brand loyalty – Satisfaction is good, but brand loyalty is better. Personalized experiences can drive value, reduce operating cost and boost sales.
- Predict trends – Customers’ taste changes over time, so it is essential to keep an eye on trends. Listen to your target audience and adapt to their needs.
- Update and improve menus – Pinpointing top- and low-performing menu items is easy with proper data analysis. Identify ingredients often added to dishes, see how certain food items perform when it’s raining outside and offer promotions based on guests’ interests.
- Track inventory – Stop overstocking or restocking. Analyze data to successfully organize back-of-house operations, understand order patterns and track and plan inventory.
- Reduce waste – For each dollar your restaurant invests in food waste reduction solutions, you save $7. You can use data and automation tools to compare past sales, weather conditions and more to calculate how much inventory you need to meet consumer demand – reducing food waste and preserving the environment, too.
- Monitor employee performance – Data insights can help your restaurant objectively monitor employee performance. You can identify gaps and suggest additional training where appropriate.
- Upgrade scheduling – Full wait staff is generally not needed throughout the entire day. Strategically schedule your employees’ shifts using data insights, and only keep full wait staff during your busiest business hours.
- Reduce operating costs – Considering all the capabilities mentioned above, it is obvious that data insights enable you to reduce food waste, properly schedule employee shifts and streamline back-of-house operations to prevent unnecessary costs and boost restaurant sales.
The Sum of the Whole is Greater Than its Parts
Operational challenges like internal processes, queue lengths, quality enforcement and inventory management can be built and improved using advanced analytics tools now available in point-of-sale (POS) systems – reducing the overall administrative load on restaurant operations.
As you consider what software and services to add to your restaurant’s toolkit, make sure new investments integrate with your POS. When your software and services integrate with your POS, your overall, streamlined solution becomes much more powerful.
About the Author
Dirk Izzo is President and General Manager at NCR Hospitality. He is a seasoned leader with experience in building and marketing innovative cloud-based solutions to help clients optimize their business performance. In his current role, Dirk is responsible for developing simple and innovative solutions that run the restaurant from end to end. NCR is the technology provider of choice for restaurants around the world and Dirk is focused on delivering the next-generation software, hardware and services that delivers on what customers want, when they want it.