No matter who you come across in the restaurant industry, the resounding consensus is this: restaurants are a people business.
Everyday restaurant operators make decisions around service, food options, employees and more. But what all of those decisions affect is how well your food and service is received by the customer. So, how do you go about making the right decisions that allow for satisfied customers? The answer is this: data.
You may be thinking, “Data = numbers. I’m not a numbers person.”
You don’t have to be. The beauty of data analysis is that the numbers are typically laid out for you, you just have to understand what you’re looking for. The sooner you can learn how to L.O.V.E. your data, the faster you’ll begin making decisions that improve your restaurants’ profitability and keep customers coming back.
L – Look for patterns, oddities, and anomalies
There’s a good chance you’re seeing the same data sets time and time again – labor hours, inventory reports, sales reports, etc. Whatever the case (or data) may be, you’re probably accustomed to skimming for any major abnormality and moving on to the next.
But spend a few minutes really questioning the how and why behind the numbers you’re used to looking at. Just because you’re used to seeing a certain number pattern doesn’t mean that it’s good (or bad) for your profitability. Pull out the outliers for the next step.
O – Organize your findings
You’ll probably want to do this a couple of different ways depending on what’s most impactful for your organization. Consider sorts such as:
- Items with most to least variance
- Highest traffic days to lowest traffic days
- Highest labor dollar hours to lowest labor dollar days
So on and so forth; this step will force you to face your biggest time-sucks or areas of profit loss. But, this step will also allow you to identify which areas in your operations would be the most impactful to tackle first and provide you with motivation to fix them. You might be spending a considerable amount of time reacting to your scheduled labor hours vs. actual labor hours. But, when digging through your data, you might find that your food cost variance is causing you more immediate harm.
V – Validate the numbers
You’ve flagged a data point, understood how it’s affecting operations and/or profitability and now you need to understand why it’s happening. This is where technology will help you drill into the details or surrounding circumstances. Are you digitally tracking your waste and the reasons why it happened? If there are an excessive number of comped meals in a certain month or week, can you point to a consistent shift time, the way it was rung in or miscommunication in the kitchen?
Understanding the causation of your outlying data points will allow you to be able to move to the next step.
E – Execute on findings
You’ve identified an issue in the data, reflected on how that data point is affecting your operations and validated the cause. Now, it’s time to take action. Using a powerful restaurant management system that’s capable of providing you ingredient-level and employee-specific insights is a huge tool to being able to take action on things like food cost variance labor inefficiencies and waste prevention.
Contact us today to streamline your processes and become a data analysis expert in no time.