Don Bye
Blog, Restaurant reporting

Big Data is a hot topic in every industry, and restaurants are no exception. With modern analytics technology at our fingertips, there are truly massive amounts of information available. In fact, Big Data can provide so much information that it can be difficult to sift through it all.

We’ve talked about Big Data before, but here’s a refresher: according to Forbes, Big Data is “a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represent a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.” Basically, take all the information you have from every aspect of your business, inside and out, and put it all together — you’ll see a big picture of your business, and you’ll be able to draw insights that might not have been clear before. That’s Big Data.

So you’ve got all of this information — internal data like forecasting, sales, payroll, and marketing, as well as external data like competitors, climate, and industry trends. How do you turn that into something useful? Here are just some of the ways to make restaurant big data work for you.

1. Find the right amount (and combination) of employees for each shift

Do you run the same number of employees on each day in a given week? You’re probably over- or under-staffing. There are many factors that can affect sales (like weather or local events), and the right data and analytics can help you identify trends you might not have noticed.

Maybe sales spike every third Sunday, when a local meetup gathers in your area. Or maybe productivity rises when a certain employee is working because her positive attitude is absolutely infectious.

Analytics tools like Delaget Coach organize this restaurant-level data in a convenient dashboard to help you identify data points and adjust staffing appropriately across multiple locations. With big data, you don’t waste money by scheduling employees and then sending them home early because they don’t have anything to do.

On top of that, you can use big data to specify your scheduling. For instance, Delaget Coach aggregates POS data and correlates which of your employees work best together to drive the most sales.

2. Create the perfect menu

As we’ve touched on before, Big Data can help you optimize your menu — especially if you’ve upgraded to digital menu boards. Creating a menu is easy; creating a menu that presents all of your options equally, in an intuitive way, and while allowing you to promote certain items is nearly impossible.

If you have items on your menu that are rarely ordered, or if you’re struggling to get your breakfast or dessert options to catch on, or if you wish you could promote new items better, you should look at your menu. Big Data can help.

Analytics tools, like Delaget’s Sales and Product Mix Reports, can get you started by analyzing your sales data and highlighting which items sell best – and what they’re often paired with. Then, you can try adjusting the menu accordingly — and Big Data tools like that one can tell you how much of an impact your changes make. Whether it’s changing the order items are displayed on the menu, or changing the way they’re formatted (colors, fonts, etc), or even adding and removing items altogether, Big Data can help you create the perfect menu. And with the perfect menu, your customers will be able to order what they want, when they want it, and you’ll see your sales go up as a result.

3. Figure out which marketing strategies work

Marketing is nothing without analytics. True, the primary goal of advertising is to drive sales, but Big Data tells you how successful they are in doing so. American marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Analytics tools can show you where marketing and sales intersect, solving Wanamaker’s dilemma by telling you exactly which advertisements are working and which aren’t. This is possible because these analytics tools draw in data from every data-producing source – POS, Inventory, Employee scheduling, Accounting, Payroll, Security, etc. and track how they interact. So, next time you pay for a radio commercial, you can directly track sales compared to, say, sales after a social media targeted ad and determine which draws in more customers.

When you know where to focus your marketing energy (and money), you can make adjustments and watch sales go up accordingly.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many ways restaurants can leverage Big Data to increase profits. Having the right analytics tool at your fingertips is essential to turning all of your data into valuable insights. Don’t let your data go to waste. Harness the power of Big Data and let analytics be your guide.

Learn more from our free Restaurant Analytics Guide.

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