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How (and Why) to Track Daily Sales Reporting

Success in the restaurant landscape hinges on your ability to calculate your concept’s sales at both the micro and the macro level.

The macro is obvious. It’s the big, glaring spotlight showing you exactly how well business is going at an organizational level. It’s the big number that’s going to impress or disappoint shareholders and key executives.

But arguably far more important for its ability to influence organizational strategy is micro-level reporting. It’s this information that enables you to see which locations falter, which excel, where spend is beyond designated levels, what menu items are selling well, and more.

To create the best strategic insights, you need dashboards to accommodate yearly sales charts and then be able to condense that timeframe accordingly, zooming in quarterly, monthly, weekly and, finally, daily (and even hourly if you really want to dig into the analytics).

But how do you track daily sales reporting accurately, and even more importantly, why should you track daily sales reporting? We’ve got the scoop, and it’s not just for ice cream parlors (get it? Scoop?).

Custom Dashboards

No two restaurant concepts are created equal. The metrics you use to set strategy and your growth trajectory might have much in common with other concepts, but there will always be those unique insights that help your operations stand out from the competition.

Because restaurants aren’t one-size-fits-all, your reporting dashboards shouldn’t be either. A deeply customizable dashboard is the way to go if you want to be able to drill down into the metrics that matter for your concept.

The best option would be restaurant back-office software that comes with standard reporting information ready to go but then allows you to adjust the parameters accordingly. That way, you can log in to your application on a daily basis to see the numbers that matter to you.

A typical dashboard would and should offer up details about:

  • Sales by geographic location and store/unit
  • Ideal vs. Actual (IvA) and non-IvA sales and usage rates
  • Labor costs
  • Ingredient sales and costs
  • Waste variance
  • Dayparting

Depending on the preferences of the user and what you specifically need out of your software, you should be able to customize your daily sales reporting format to your liking.

The executive responsible for franchise growth might prefer to log in and see what areas of the country are performing exceptionally well and thus could be in line for an expansion in the number of units in that sector. But an operational strategist might get more use out of dayparting sales metrics, as they can identify the peaks and valleys of daily service and suggest adjustments to operating hours in order to maximize revenue and shield individual locations from loss.

In this way, a custom dashboard is perhaps the best tool for tracking daily sales reporting.

That’s the how. Now let’s get into the why.

Going Into Labor

Daily sales reporting is essential for determining whether or not employees are being deployed efficiently.

When you look at sales at the daily level, divorced from longer-term trends, it’s possible to see where you’re over- or under-staffed. It’s a simple matter of pitting labor costs against sales. If you notice an anomaly, it’s a pretty good signal that you should monitor that metric more carefully over time. Was a drop-off in Monday night sales indicative of a long-term trend? Should you be lessening the number of employees you have scheduled to work those days, or contemplate closing earlier?

Daily sales reports make the discovery of these trends possible, allowing you to better calculate precisely who needs to be working and when, without over-paying for unnecessary shifts or being forced to send people home when business slows down, thus improving the employee experience as well.


Daily sales reports also help you catch idiosyncrasies that might be unique to a certain unit.

Does the increased popularity of a regional baseball team mean you need to be staffing up on game days in a way that you didn’t anticipate when you launched that location? Did local COVID guidelines lead to a drop in breakfast business that never really rebounded? Has construction on the street right outside the location had a significant impact on sales?

These blips might not necessarily show up on a monthly or quarterly report without some very careful digging, and by that time it might be too late to pivot in order to capture lost revenue. But if you’re analyzing your daily sales reports, you can keep tabs on obstacles as they arise, and you can work with your general managers to adjust operating hours and processes accordingly.

The Ripe Stuff

So far, we’ve largely covered the labor aspect of daily sales reports, but they also offer a significant benefit to your IvA numbers.

A drop in sales will have a significant downstream effect on your overall waste numbers. You placed your original inventory orders based on sales forecasting models. When those sales don’t reach the levels you had predicted, you run the risk of tossing out food, with all attendant revenue from those ingredients going down the proverbial drain and the literal garbage chute.

If you can identify these trends early, due to the numbers that emerge from your daily sales reports, you can take steps to remedy the situation.

You can work with your GMs to develop Limited Time Offers (LTOs) to draw people in at low-traffic times and get designated products out the kitchen doors and onto customer plates. You can create daily specials that, if proven successful, can be deployed at other locations, turning high-value ingredients into even bigger money-makers for your organization. You can even work with your corporate chefs to come up with new recipes that aren’t contingent on ingredients that spoil before they’re plated.

In this way, your daily sales numbers play a key role in food throughput.

Safe and Secure

One other often-overlooked aspect of daily sales reports? Security.

Daily sales reports can be your first indicator of potential fraud at a location. Whether due to a security breach, an unscrupulous team member, or even just accidental mismanagement of a POS system, sales and waste data in misalignment with revenue numbers can suggest a security issue that bears immediate investigation.

If you were to look only at longer time periods, this type of security breach might last for months before you’re able to pinpoint it. But with daily sales reporting, you can identify the potential for fraud and isolate and monitor these operational exceptions quickly. You can then get your sales numbers back on track and ensure that a bad actor doesn’t compromise your business’s viability.

Daily Sales: The Wind in Your Sails

Daily sales reports are the comfort food in your data analytics diet. They give you the confidence to know when your concept is executing on your strategic vision and the insights necessary to correct matters if something isn’t going according to plan.

If you’d like to learn more about in-depth, highly customizable daily sales reports and the intuitive dashboards that make identifying trends a breeze, contact Decision Logic today. We’ll show you how to take your back-office software to the next level.

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