Your point-of-sale (POS) solution holds invaluable information that can help your restaurant optimize price points, appropriately schedule staff and increase revenues.
Unfortunately, not every restaurateur knows how to make the most of the information collected by their POS system. Restaurant operators might be collecting data, but what good is it if it’s either unviewed or underutilized? If you can’t properly explore your restaurant’s data, you might be making critical business decisions based on anecdotal-half facts, intuition or faulty information.
Let’s explore the top questions restaurants should ask themselves and use their POS to answer.
What menu items are most popular?
Looking at used inventory levels isn’t the most effective way to determine your restaurant’s most popular dishes since spillage, theft and waste can impact these numbers. And your signature dish might be your top-selling item, but if it fails to entice customers back for repeat visits, is it truly number one?
Let your POS system do the heavy lifting to figure this out. The right POS enables you to analyze sales categories like combo meals and desserts and identifies profit margins along with gross revenue. These insights help you adjust menus, tailor promotions and find that sweet spot that leads to repeat sales.
Which location is performing the best?
Owners and operators of multiple franchises or small businesses with more than one location shouldn’t waste valuable time traveling site to site to determine performance.
Robust POS technology allows you to review reports from a single location – anytime and anywhere from your mobile device or laptop. See slow sales on Tuesdays? Try a taco Tuesday or a kids-eat-for-$2.99 special. Busy brunch hours on Sunday? Schedule more staff to support customer flow. Is a server or line cook nearing overtime? Find a replacement to avoid extra pay.
Your POS should arm you with insights into your business so you can leverage historical data and automate sales forecasting to save time – all while improving the bottom line.
Which server drives the greatest revenue?
You might measure your restaurant servers on their sales divided by the hours worked, but the number of guests and what they’re buying can vary greatly depending on when certain staff members are working.
Instead, normalize your data to the specific day and hour worked, not the overall number of hours. Leverage your POS to identify your rockstar employees. You’ll likely find a few great at upselling, which means more revenue for the restaurant and more tips for them. Consider rewarding the top revenue generators with spot bonuses, gift cards and other incentives.
The National Restaurant Association forecasts the foodservice industry workforce is projected to grow by 500,000 jobs by the end of 2023, reaching 15.5 million employees and surpassing pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, 47% of foodservice operators predict competition for labor will be tougher than last year, so retention will be crucial – not just for servers but for all restaurant employees.
What’s the best way to schedule staff?
Avoid pitfalls of blanket staff coverage as it risks over- or under-staffing, both of which cost your restaurant profit and efficiency. Use restaurant traffic history and employee availability to build schedules with more accuracy.
Great employee scheduling software systems create monthly and weekly schedules, track time, provide real-time attendance reporting, cut checks, send mobile alerts and enable the manager to see when employees swap shifts. These solutions, which link to the POS system, can give managers more time to focus on customer-facing and revenue-generating activities. Some even allow employees to see schedules, request time off and give up or pick up shifts.
How can I effectively forecast sales next year?
Accurate sales forecasting is critical when it comes to scheduling and food orders. Restaurant data analytics available through the POS enable you to learn from past performance, identify meaningful trends and make better-informed decisions.
Look at your average change in sales month to month. You might find over the past few years your sales increased 5% between January and February. Turning insights into action, you could expect a similar trajectory for the upcoming year and reflect this in staff scheduling and food supply ordering.
Analyzing data can be intimidating, but navigating your restaurant’s numbers is critical to keep your business running. Food prices are high, profit margins are thin, and competition is tight. Used wisely, data can help you compete.
Why would you underutilize it?
The right POS is the brains of the restaurant, connecting the hostess, wait staff, kitchen and back office. It houses sales transactions and inventory management, improves operation of staff members and different locations and provides end-of-day summaries and other types of reports.
If you’re underutilizing or not using your restaurant’s POS data, brush the cobwebs aside. It doesn’t perform sorcery, but when maximized, the POS unleashes powerful insights that can lead to more satisfied customers, more productive employees and more lucrative results.