How to Use Restaurant Analytics Trends to Serve Up Profitability
In today’s competitive restaurant environment, data is king. Accurate, concrete data can be leveraged to increase customer satisfaction, stay ahead of the competition, capitalize on the latest customer interests, and make smarter business decisions. If you can harness this data, following the latest restaurant analytics trends can help you find the best way to apply it.
Here are a few of the biggest restaurant analytics trends:
Big Data for Better Business
“Big data” is a common term for a large volume of data from various data sets and is used to uncover consumer preferences and behavior trends. Analyzing this data allows restaurant chains to gain powerful insight for top-line and bottom-line growth.
This includes examining your key demographics – who your customers are, where they live, what they can afford, and so forth. This can help you understand what their interests are. It also affects your marketing. With the right data, you can tailor customized options to your target demographics, which will help attract and engage more customers.
The top restaurant analytics trends also point to the use of big data for bottom-line growth. Data can be analyzed to identify areas of shrinkage and control them. If your point of sale (POS) has a “cost of goods” function that tells you the theoretical costs based on product mix, you can utilize this data to achieve optimal menu pricing. Other data from your POS can tell you the average duration of customer visits to help optimize labor and table turns.
One function you will want to take advantage of if your POS has it is the consolidation grouping product mix reporting feature, especially if you run multiple locations. This allows you aggregate data for multiple locations across various reports, so you can view an item’s popularity based on location, which can be instrumental when it comes to making important business decisions on things like menu options and inventory.
Testing and Learning
Many restaurant analytics trends involve the use of trial and error. For example, if you want to know what the optimal price hike is before people stop purchasing a menu item, you can leverage data analytics to test and learn. Try implementing a new pricing model at one of your locations for a set time, and use sales data to analyze its success or failure.
You can also use this same method when you are running a new promotion or program to find out which strategies are most profitable, and which are not. This helps control costs and risks when new promotions are implemented on a permanent basis.
Changing Food Trends
A high-quality POS with robust reporting features can provide valuable data on customer preferences in regards to your menu. Menu-based restaurant analytics trends show that more restaurant owners are paying closer attention to changing tastes and preferences to cater to what flavors and ingredients consumers are gravitating towards, rather than having a stagnant menu.
This data also shows which ingredients are becoming unpopular. Are your customers frequently asking that certain ingredients be omitted from their dishes? Food trends change even faster than restaurant analytics trends, so it’s important to carefully analyze behavioral data like this, and make sure your previously-trendy ingredients aren’t on their way out the door.
Delivering on the Dining Experience
Not only can restaurant analytics trends help you track guest preferences when it comes to the menu, but you can also leverage customer preference data to deliver personalized dining experiences that satisfy guests. Many restaurants can create guest profiles and save their favorite orders, or suggest menu choices based on past orders. If a customer with a profile lodges a complaint, you can manage it by offering a discount on the next order placed by that account.
You can leverage restaurant analytics trends to improve your experience in other ways, too. If you run a table service restaurant and want to improve your lunchtime sales, you can use data to improve speed of service and offer a lunchtime promotion such as a “7-minutes for $7.00” special for carryout or à la carte orders. Use data from the POS to identify bestselling items under seven dollars, and data from your kitchen video system to see which items can reasonably be prepared in seven minutes. Delivering on the dining experience helps increase your customer base and foster loyalty, which is key to driving profits.
As the industry continuously evolves, the work of a restaurant operator is never quite finished. You are required to find innovative ways to improve your operations day in and day out. By staying up-to-date on restaurant analytics trends, you can apply new strategies to your business. Technology can help you gain the best insights for making business decisions that can promote growth today and tomorrow.